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Absa Launches Inaugural Absa Stokvel Awards

Absa Launches Inaugural Absa Stokvel Awards. In celebration of South Africa’s group savings tradition, Absa is proud to announce the launch of its inaugural Absa Stokvel Awards, a vibrant occasion designed to honour the prestige of money-saving circles, known locally as stokvels, that form part of the mainstay of South African communities. These are the first ever stokvel awards in South Africa, and this is the first time that the successes of these unconventional money-saving circles are recognised by one of the largest financial institutions in the country.

“Stokvels are more than just savings groups; they are a cherished tradition, a lifestyle of collective empowerment, and a testament to the spirit of Ubuntu. These group savings circles bring together friends, families, and neighbours, fostering financial inclusion, disciplined saving habits, mutual support, and community development to support social and economic development across the nation,” says Tawanda Rumhuma, Executive: Savings & Investments at Absa Everyday Banking.

According to an online and video-based study by market research specialists at Ipsos, 11-million members* of approximately 800 000 Stokvel groups across the country have been able to save over R50 billion over the years. Through the Absa Stokvel Awards, Absa aims to shine a spotlight on these grassroots financial heroes and the extraordinary impact they have on members and communities, and most importantly, the economy.

There is a wide range of stokvel members’ stories and personal experiences, and as a proud banker of stokvels, Absa aims to address the needs and aspirations of different stokvel market segments, from young people, professionals to entrepreneurs and even retirees. “By emphasising that each stokvel member’s story matters, we are demonstrating our support for South Africa’s group savings story which is the lifeline of the economy at large while highlighting our commitment to understanding individual customer journeys and providing tailored financial solutions for group savings such as stokvels,” says Rumhuma.

The Absa Stokvel Awards will recognise outstanding achievements across various categories, each celebrating a unique facet of the stokvel lifestyle:

  • Best Community Impact Award – recognising a stokvel that has made a significant positive impact on the community through social projects, donations, or support initiatives.
  • Most Innovative Investment Stokvel – recognising a stokvel that has successfully ventured into investments and/or successfully ventured into innovation-related initiatives.
  • Best Stokvel in Financial Literacy and Leadership – recognising a stokvel that provides financial education to their members and have good governance and transparency in its leadership.
  • Best Travel Club Award – recognising a stokvel that has increased the accessibility of travel and tourism.
  • Best Stokvel Enablers – recognising an organisation, business or individual who amplify or develop and impact the stokvel community positively.
  • Best Digitally Empowered Stokvel – recognising a stokvel that effectively uses technology for its operations and to better engage and benefit its members.
  • Most Unique Stokvel Award – recognising a stokvel that is demonstrating new ways and saving or investing for unique impactful goals.
  • Lifetime Stokvel Achiever Award – recognising a stokvel that has lasted for many years, while showing improvement and sustainability.
  • Stokvel of the Year – recognising a stokvel that has best demonstrated overall success in the year.

The beauty of the Absa Stokvel Awards lies in its inclusivity to inspire and make a difference. Absa invites everyone (Absa banked and non-Absa banked) to enter or nominate their or another stokvel for the awards. A distinguished panel of judges, including financial experts, community leaders, and Absa representatives, will select the winners based on (but not limited to) minimum criteria, community impact, innovation, and sustainability.

Through these awards, Absa aims to positively impact stokvel members’ lives and communities by prioritising the unique needs and aspirations of these stokvels, subsequently reinforcing the bank’s role as a responsible and caring corporate citizen. This initiative demonstrates Absa’s value for empathy and dedication to supporting its clients through various life stages and financial situations. Entries and nominations are now open and close on 30 September 2024.

By Thomas Chiothamisi
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