Rounda initiative to use 'small change' to tackle poverty in SA

An ambitious new initiative by the Nikela Charity Funding and Development Trust wants to get all South Africans to contribute to social upliftment in the country.

Nikela hosted what it called a national public announcement of its Rounda initiative in Cape Town on Monday. The event took place at the Desmond Tutu & Leah Legacy Foundation and was, in part, in celebration of the 87th birthday of Archbishop Desmond Tutu and ahead of the annual Tutu Peace Lecture on Monday evening.

The Rounda concept is based on the idea that lots of little amounts of "small change" - actually R1 at a time - can, when put together, be leveraged to make a big difference in addressing poverty issues in SA.

Based on a patented programme, consumers can freely choose to donate R1 when they transact at participating retailers or businesses. The pilot programmes - among others at Nando's, McDonald's and Steers - already generated about R1m over the past five months. The "small change" collected in this way, will then be paid over to Nikela, which will in turn work closely with well-established NGOs to make a difference at grassroots level.

The further fallout of Rounda will be based on a phased approach and Spur is set to be one of the next companies to take it on board. Work is also being done to bring other sectors of the business sector on board too.

According to Bob Tucker, chair of the Nikela Trust, the Rounda initiative was started, because the battle against poverty cannot be won by working alone.

"Rounda is a call for everyone in SA to act - individuals and big business," he said. "Things happen when a community gets together and works together."

At the event, Sipho Shezi, vice chair of the Nikela Trust, said SA is at a point where one must do things that instil hope in SA Inc to build the nation.

"The gap I see as facing our country, is a lack of the practical implementation of development policy," he said.

He emphasised that it is not sustainable for 17 million South Africans to be on social grants. In fact, part of the aim of the Rounda project is to enable people to exit the social grant system and create meaningful lives for themselves.

"We are launching Rounda at a time where government is asking how institutions of government can be strengthened and we want to help see to it that the process of poverty alleviation reaches the fastest pace possible," he said.

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