Life in the informal settlements is unpredictable. Land demolition, health emergencies, a lack of a social safety net, and flooding in the rainy season are all frequent occurrences. The consequences of these events are devastating. On a day-to-day basis, we strive to reduce the impact of these events by providing better sanitation services throughout the community, which leads to healthier lives and cleaner surrounding areas.
Mitigating damage also extends to helping our team prepare for such uncertainty by making better informed financial decisions. Anne Munene, Sanergy’s tireless Training Manager, has designed a 3-part Personal Financial Management series focused on spending habits, budgeting and savings to help Sanergy’s staff from the community – now 20 people. The first session happened earlier this month.
The session began with a wild warm-up: 10 Sanergy staffers tried in vain to squeeze into a 1m X 1m chalk-drawn square. The point was simple: just like you can’t always get everyone to fit in the box, you can’t buy all the things that you want. However, you can plan and still live within your means. There is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to spending, and each staff had to develop their own goals and time plans towards successful financial management.
Then, the group worked to understand how they spent their earnings, dividing expenses into “needs” and “wants.” Bringing voice to this distinction was very helpful for the group, especially as they realized how often wants trumped needs in their spending, rather than the other way round.
The next step is to turn words into actions. Over the coming months, Anne will work with the team to develop monthly budgeting plans and, in time, develop savings accounts with their local banks. Only then will they have graduated from Sanergy’s personal financial management trainings. This is how we believe we can build healthy and prosperous communities for the long term.