The rationale for founding WDB in 1992 was:
The emergence of WDB was based on the understanding that the utilisation of loans/savings and supportive services would result in the creation of new jobs, an increase in the average income, the expansion of existing micro-enterprises and improved quality of life for their families.
It would be open to all South African women, regardless of race or class, with the aim of allowing for mutual enrichment and empowerment;
WDB would foster unity and development among women;
WDB would associate itself with all struggles for women’s emancipation;
WDB was born of the ideas of very many women from all sectors of society as stated above. Many of those who participated at the original workshop at the Devonshire hotel in Braamfontein in 1991 have proceeded over time to found their own development enterprises and businesses: Wiphold, Nozala, WDF and SAWID. Others from which WDB has hugely benefited are Palesa, AWCA and IWFsa. These are the post-apartheid women’s formations with which we wish to celebrate our 25th anniversary.
This quote from the first WDB annual report of 1992, 24 years ago, remains as relevant today in contextualising the challenge:
“The idea of women’s development banking arose from an understanding that economic development has to play a critical role in pulling South Africa out of poverty and on the road to democracy.There is recognition that women’s contribution – as workers and as managers of human welfare- is central to the ability of households, communities and the nation to tackle the current crisis of meeting people’s survival and subsistence needs. therefore, in the long term, it is by reinforcing and building upon women’s efforts in both the rural and urban economy that the needed transformation to more self-reliant national development strategies can be achieved.