First group of women have started producing goods

Tue, 1 February 2011

  • Thanks for having faith and confidence in us. We are now fully equipped in running a business because of your teaching.” - Beneficiary*

REPORT 1: Afrique du Sud Bidonvilles – Enterprise Development for Unemployed Women

Afrique du sud Bidonvilles aims to form three new sewing co-operatives which will create jobs for 60 women living in Khayelitsha, on the outskirts of Cape Town. This organisation will select, train and equip these women with both sewing skills and the business skills that are necessary to effectively manage their cooperatives.

Activities and Outcomes

Nineteen unemployed women participated in a training programme that started in March 2010. The training programme focused on technical skills, group management skills and business skills. Most of the beneficiaries started with little to no prior sewing experience but they all had a very high level of motivation and commitment. They are now qualified machinists.

Fourteen beneficiaries formed a new group named “Simunye”. The group has not yet been registered as a cooperative with the Department of Trade and Industry as it is still in its incubation period. During the incubation period, they started to engage in a more formal relationship with Township Patterns as a supplier and also started to operate as an autonomous entity. Afrique du Sud Bidonvilles’ involvement during the incubation phase is focused on group management and leadership development.

The Simunye group started production in August 2010 and its revenues have increased steadily over a three month period. The group generated R13 865 in August, R19 357 in September and R26 228 in October. Three more women joined existing cooperatives in Khayelitsha, while two of the graduates decided not to join a cooperative.

Many of the beneficiaries are the only source of income for their families and they are now able to provide food and other basic necessities for their dependents. Knowing that they receive a monthly income is life changing for these women as it enables them to send their children to school and generally improves the quality of their lives.


The total cost of this project is R688 676, of which R234 000 has been paid by SASIX.

DescriptionTotal BudgetTotal Expenditure to date
Training consultant99 95140 969
Training costs133 72552 762
Equipment (sewing machines, ironing system)180 0007 58 373
Renovation, furniture and small equipment120 2257 160
Legal registration costs12 0000
First aid kit and other expenses17 7750
Project administration and management125 00074 745
TOTAL688 676234 009


Thus far there have been no major challenges encountered in the project. However challenges may arise in the next stage of this project. Township Patterns is launching a new fashion range, which will include women garments, fashion bags and other accessories. The cooperatives still to be formed as part of this project will specialize in these items, which will require a different approach in terms of both training and co-operative support. Timing for the start of the new group is still uncertain.

Monitoring and evaluation

Afrique du Sud Bidonvilles is in the process of developing a monitoring and evaluation tool that will evaluate the ranking of cooperatives in areas of, amongst others, production management, group management, and team effectiveness. To date a scorecard has been developed as a pilot for the monitoring and evaluation tool. This scorecard has been used over the last two months and has been submitted to external parties for feedback. A survey has been conducted to assess the impact the programme has had on beneficiaries.


This programme has a brilliant track record in terms of the impact it has made on the lives of its beneficiaries. The Simunye group is still fairly new but as the project progresses the positive impact on the lives of the participant women will become more evident. The model adopted by Afrique du Sud Bidonvilles works very well due to a highly effective management team. The slight shift in strategy is in capable hands which will ensure the programme’s success.

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