Sharing value differently

Sharing value with Abashintshi in South Africa

In South Africa, many of Sappi’s operations are situated in rural areas where poverty is rife, unemployment is high and job opportunities are limited. To help uplift these rural communities, Sappi established the Abashintshi (Zulu for ‘change agents’) programme.

It’s based on the ‘hands-up’ rather than the’ hands out’ approach and involves tasking young people in communities to drive the Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) process. The latter is based on the premise that communities can drive the development process themselves by identifying and mobilising existing, but often unrecognised, assets.

The Abashintshi programme also includes life-skills training for youth and the Ifa Lethu programme for the elderly to protect cultural heritage. Our holiday programme for school children is especially popular.   

Holiday programmes for school children

Spotlight on the results

We use Poverty Stoplight, a technology-based evaluation tool, to determine the social impact of the programme over several years. The tool evaluates 50 social impact indicators including access to drinking water and quality healthcare, nutrition, personal hygiene, garbage disposal, alcohol and drugs, electricity, means of transport, schooling, the capacity to budget and plan, cultural traditions and heritage. It demonstrates that through the ABCD training, community members’ lives have improved significantly, with many becoming entrepreneurs. 

Shared value impact

As people are lifted out of poverty in Sappi’s surrounding communities, so community relations are improved, there is less likely to be social tension and Sappi’s license to trade is enhanced. This aligns with our strategy of playing an active role in solving societal challenges by supporting local communities.