The Mhani Gingi model consists of two main programs; “Keep the dream” and “Gingi Social Business Development Finance”. The first has been operated since 2006 and the latter is at a planning stage with the hope of implementation in the nearest future. The programs provide two core activities; tailor-made skills training, both business and technical in addition to social business development finance.
The aim for these main activities is to benefit the members of the network. The members are made up by small scale entrepreneurs who are operating own businesses like educare centres, vegetable gardens and bead work production. Some of the entrepreneurs work together in Stokvels, which is the South African version of cooperatives. The members seek the Mhani Gingi Network to acquire business and technical skills and to tap into high profile network groups linked to Mhani Gingi. The network will also be beneficial for accessing capital through the future Mhani Gingi Social Development Finance and saving through the already established Mhani Gingi Trust. They also have opportunities of “cross selling” amongst themselves through their businesses, thereby keeping the Rand in their communities. Moreover, the members are exposed to both local and international business opportunities, providing the members with new markets.
The uniqueness of the Mhani Gingi model is the sustainability it provides. Traditional aid normally contributes with hand-outs or donations. This solves the problem in the short run, but is not a long term solution. Mhani Gingi has taken aid a step further, and moved into the field of social entrepreneurship.
The model is based on the concept of Cooperation rather than Competition. At the heart of the Mhani Gingi model are two concepts that truly distinguish the pioneering nature of the organization’s work:
- Marrying indigenous knowledge with business concepts
- Promoting empowerment for the people to empower themselves
The organization believes that the successful way of alleviating poverty is by teaching marginalized groups skills that they can implement in their own communities. As the members gain skills, they become owners of knowledge that can be used to sustain themselves. Skills and knowledge will not run out like handouts or donations, and the members will move on from being consumers and providers of labor, to being owners and creators of wealth.