Sustainable Development Report 2010 Sustainable Development Report 2010

Sife in Swaziland

Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) is a non-profit organisation that strives to educate people on concepts such as market economics, entrepreneurship and business ethics through educational outreach projects. SIFE Swaziland has been one of Harmony’s beneficiaries for the past three financial years and we are immensely proud to be affiliated to a cause whose ultimate goal is the achievement of a more sustainable world through the positive power of business.

SIFE Swaziland is currently working closely with that country’s people with disabilities, women, orphaned children and out-of-school youth, empowering them with the skills and knowledge necessary to create sustainable solutions to poverty by using readily-available resources. The principles of free enterprise are taught, and social entrepreneurship and economic independence encouraged.

The average SIFE team implements three to five outreach projects per year and, given the number of SIFE teams across the country, the result is considerable, with many different projects reaching many different local communities each year.

The success of SIFE Swaziland is evident in just two of the many projects undertaken by the entity during FY10. The University of Swaziland Kwaluseni identified the Sinceni Support Group as a project in need of business assistance. A group of women living with HIV in the Sinceni area in the Lubombo region of east Swaziland, the Sinceni Support Group comprises three different groups, each made up of approximately 20 women, who produce sisal lotion. The SIFE team observed that the women lacked the know-how to coordinate both the production and distribution of their product and as a result, a feasibility study was conducted. Deemed to have good prospects for success, the Sinceni Support Group has since received training from the SIFE team on the benefits of undertaking market research to establish places to sell their product. The project is ongoing.

The SIFE Vocational and Commercial Training Institution, as another example, is currently teaching hearing impaired learners how to begin a beadwork selling business, designing and creating beaded earrings, cellphone and flash drive holders and handbags. Many of the children involved come from very poor homes and while some are being raised by single, unemployed parents, others are living in child-headed homes. The SIFE team saw this as an opportunity to engage children in an income generating project that will continue to benefit them well into adulthood.

As the SIFE team embarked upon this project all the necessary arrangements were made to ensure its long-term sustainability. One of the key objectives was to guarantee that a market was available to sell their crafts and that the learner’s financial independence could be secured beyond SIFE’s involvement. A feasibility strategy has been designed to search for a reliable and free market in order to take this project to the next level.

Finally, the 2010 financial year saw SIFE Swaziland host its first career and business fair at the Mavuso Trade Centre in Manzini. The event brought together both active SIFE students and non-SIFE students attending tertiary institutions around the country, and provided business growth and networking opportunities. Furthermore, prominent entrepreneurs and business owners gave insight into current market trends, and assisted students by providing important knowledge in the forging of career paths. Ten guest speakers were also present, each of whom gave an account of their personal experiences and provided advice to aspiring professionals.

“As Swaziland is one of the areas from which Harmony sources its labour, the company has a vested interest in the long-term and sustainable economic futures of its residents, particularly those that are disadvantaged,” says Jackie Mathebula, Executive: Corporate Affairs at Harmony. “We look forward to celebrating the excellent work SIFE Swaziland is currently conducting, and to supporting its initiatives in the future.”