Living the WDB vision

As we start a new year, it’s very important to reconnect with the vision and mission of WDB:


South African women safe at home and in their communities, economically self-reliant and participating fully in the socio-economic transformation of our country to make it an inclusive democratic and non-sexist society.


Empowerment of women through financial and non-financial services promoting productive and sustainable households towards self-reliant communities.


We are South African women respectful of one another and of the communities we serve; we are trustworthy, accountable and fulfil our responsibilities with commitment, diligence, honesty and integrity. We strive for excellence. Our actions are underpinned by the social value of Ubuntu.

WDB’s Fikile Buthelezi says its very important to go back to the “Founder’s Mentality”, and to underline the values that the organisation was built on.

“We need to constantly look back and examine our challenges and even mistakes in terms of delivering on this mission. We also need to make sure that, in creating a blueprint for the way forward, we put being true to this vision at the very heart of everything that we do.

We need to continue to remind staff and management of our aims in eradicating poverty and in women development and to also make sure that we give new staff members the background of this organisation so that, from the get-go, they buy into the bigger-picture vision that Ma’am (Mrs Zanele Mbeki) had so many years ago,” she says

Being Agile

Mangaliso Williams, the NPO Chair of Siyakhula says that being flexible is key to owning the future.

“If we are to create post-apartheid development institutions, we need to continue to be agile and flexible. Not only that, we need to constantly heed the needs of our clients and those we serve in a rapidly changing world. This often means reconsidering what we have done in the past and reframing what we will do in the future”.

Williams says that striving for excellence in all that we do is key for everyone who works for and with WDB.

“As I am always asking the Programme Manager and our teams in the field, ‘Are we winning?’ Our vision needs to be seeing WDB growing not only WDB and Siyakhula, but transforming the entire microfinance industry – to create an environment that is conducive to true upliftment”.

Being the voice of the under-resourced

The notion that “the poor will not take the frontline, you must seek them out”, is attributed to Nobel Peace Prize Winner Professor Muhammad Yunus, who is often cited by Mrs Mbeki as informing the paradigm in which the programme operates.

For Dr Anne Letsebe, the Chairperson of Zenzele, seeking out those who need our help is simply a practical part of the WDB vision and mission.

“Through its Development Facilitators, the Zenzele Development Programme seeks out and interacts with families in a way that helps them confront their fears, motivating them to take the first step towards self-reliance, exposing them to peers who have walked the same road and succeeded, and pointing them to opportunities, thereby increasing the possibility of improving their lives. This family-based intervention acknowledges and plans around the multidimensional nature of poverty, and builds on the strengths of the poor instead of only remedying their weaknesses,” says Dr Letsebe.

So let us make it a year of building up WDB as a post-apartheid institution and really owning our mission and vision and making a real difference for so many women and families who deserve a brighter future.