The first training session of the year for future Siyakhula Centre Managers took place from the 1st to the 5th of April 2019 at the Africa Training Centre in Pietermaritzburg.
25 trainee-centre managers and three branch managers came together for the training session, which took place over a week. Participants were selected via an interview process and were ready and waiting to get started on the training on the morning of the 1st of April.
“The WDB Training Academy is the custodian of all of the training needs of the WDB Trust. The aim of the Siyakhula Training is to prepare new recruits for the work to become Centre Managers (CMs) for the Siyakhula Programme,” says Fikile Buthelezi, Programme Manager for the WDB Training Academy.
Siyakhula Microfinance services provides a range of high-quality financial services to women borrowers for income-generating activities. Whether it’s weaving mats or selling chickens, very often all these rural women need is the finance and basic business skills training to jump-start their businesses.
Ms Buthelezi and her team at the WDB Trust believe that a successful training programme is essential to deliver the best possible programme to clients and to ensure that the credit offered by WDB Siyakhula Microfinance has the greatest impact on women and families in under-resourced areas. Since inception, poverty alleviation has been at the very heart of the WDB Trust philosophy.
“The recruitment and training of the Siyakhula centre managers is important because only trainees who are passionate and appreciate the development of women are able to cope with the high job expectations,” says Ms Buthelezi.
The training involves a broad outline of the mission, vision and objectives, not only of the WDB Trust, but also of the Siyakhula Programme. This is followed by an in-depth look at microfinance, with particular regard to rural areas and development. It also includes a module on how the Siyakhula microfinance model works, as well as listing support functions and unpacking the various steps of the microfinance process.
It’s also important for the trainees to understand the Siyakhula footprint in the various regions of South Africa, and this forms an essential part of the training.
The training includes some background on women and poverty in Southern Africa. This section is titled: Why Women, Women and Poverty, Why Development. This particular module is absolutely key as the women need to understand the various aspects of the challenges for women starting their own businesses.
The training takes place over a period of three months, with a one-week contact session and three experiential training sessions per month. At the end of the three-month training period, successful candidates will be permanently appointed as centre managers. Those who are not appointed will do doubt benefit from skills learnt.
“The training is very thorough and relevant,” says Ms Buthelezi. “We expect a lot of commitment from our trainees, but we are very excited about the calibre of our participants who have shown their passion for making a difference in the lives of others.