Doing it for themselves: women take the lead in funding their own education

Doing it for themselves: women take the lead in funding their own education
Doing it for themselves: women take the lead in funding their own education

While data regarding women’s overall outcomes in education shows that there is still much collective work required in this space, leading education finance and education fund management solution specialist Fundi is seeing consistent investment by women in their own education. With almost 64% of current loan recipients women, Fundi CEO Makgau Dibakwane expects this percentage to continue increasing as lady students push for new opportunities as an outcome of their own growth and development.

Given that Women’s Month provides the ideal opportunity to reflect on the realities of women and girls living in South Africa, Fundi is using August to celebrate and support the achievements of its women customers – who consistently demonstrate their commitment to their own education.

“With over 60% of our current loan book customers women, we’re seeing how lady learners aren’t waiting for others to create opportunities for them – but are taking the lead and creating them for themselves,” says Dibakwane. He adds that this is well worth noting especially given the size of these investments and the duration of the commitments: typically over R18K being paid off over a two and a half year cycle. “This is no small thing given that many of these customers are in their 40s and will typically be supporting children, possibly as single moms.”

Perhaps even more encouraging is the fact that many of Fundi’s lady customers are focusing on university outcomes as they gain new qualifications or add to existing ones. “We continue seeing a skew towards UNISA as the institution of choice (given online and distance-learning options), with government employees still leading in terms of self-investment. This speaks to a determination and drive towards self-actualisation we’ve noted particularly among our female customers. It is something we’re committed to support,” he explains.

With access to education critical to success – especially for girl and women learners – Dibakwane explains how technology is fast-tracking how women overcome gaps and, in many instances, make up for lost time: “Our women team members (and customers) are often the most eager to trial new offerings and solutions on our platforms. They’re also far more willing to give us constructive feedback, sharing what’s not working for them and why. In this way, they’ve been invaluable in shaping our own growth and how we’ve selected new solutions. They remain first adopters of payment and other technologies that are safe, save them time and enable them to get down to the business of their own education faster.”

That being said, Dibakwane emphasises that the collective education sector has to continue to do everything it can to have open honest conversations with women students about how to better support and enable them. “We need more spaces for open dialogue so that we truly understand the reality of women students and learners, and what they need to succeed. Issues of personal safety and security for example, must remain a priority for all of us. Until we’re able to create an absolutely level playing field for girl and women learners to pursue the careers of their dreams, we will be doing them a disservice. Active support, investment and engagement must therefore become our collective sector pledge this August,” he concludes.

 

About Fundi and the Fundi Foundation

Fundi is South Africa’s leading education finance and education fund management solution specialist. The company’s purpose is to help others realise their purpose. It is positioning its brand as Africa’s single source for all services that enable the education and learning journey.

Fundi’s innovative solutions span finance and education loans; end-to-end bursary administration; and cashless digital devices for students. Its “all things education” approach incorporates a full-suite offering including online student accommodation, as well as data and airtime purchases. Its full range of supportive educational services reduces administration and increases productivity for students, parents, bursars and institutions. A seamless customer experience is the company’s intended strategy.

Fundi is passionate about making a tangible difference in the life of every African through education. In 2019 it launched its own NGO – the Fundi Foundation (NPO number: IT001931/2019 PBO). Committed to partnering with public and private institutions to facilitate access to quality education for the “missing middle” in particular, the fund supports beneficiaries in both the secondary and tertiary education spaces.

The Foundation actively demonstrates Fundi’s long-term commitment to enabling education dreams and making an impactful difference in society. It is a universe of all things that enable education and learning for those who can’t help themselves.

Fundi Foundation is managed by a board of trustees made up of management at Fundi, with financials audited by PWC. The fundraising initiatives at FundiFoundation fall under five pillars, namely R10GoesALongWay, Leaders4learners, 12for12, RebuildSA, Fundi Bursaries and Fundi Capital.