South Africa is currently facing its worst drought in two decades and food inflation has risen 8.6% so far this year, up from 6.9% in January. The poorest households are spending nearly 50% of their household income on food with another 10% on the transport to get it. They are paying a premium for being exactly that, poor.
The team at the award winning social enterprise, Lakheni are working on a solution. They address an important and growing social problem by helping households economise whilst purchasing the goods they need. Formed in 2014, founders Nokwethu Khojane and Lauren Drake have been recognized by SAB Foundation Innovation Awards 2015 and by The Global Social Venture Competition 2015 for Lakheni.
Lauren Drake (left) and Nokwethu Khojane (right)
How does it work?
Local communities set up buying groups based around a local collection point, either one of the Spaza shops or an Early Childhood Development Centre.
The group completes an order form (a mobile app is already in development to make things simpler) and the orders are then delivered to the designated collection point for payment and collection by members of the buying group. The pilot scheme shows that by ordering this way a discount can be secured. Ordering in bulk gives Lakheni leverage to get better prices for household goods, buying together is power.
Lakheni also offers the Spazas and the ECDs a profit share as an extra incentive for them to become involved, putting money back into the community.
The Afri-CAN Social Ventures Programme, part of the Afri-CAN Charity provides funding, support and mentorship to social ventures that are improving life in the townships. The work we are doing within the Early Childhood Development Centre’s aligns us perfectly for partnership with Lakheni. The Afri-CAN Charity Founder and Chairman Stefan Allesch-Taylor CBE has been appointed the Non-Executive Chairman of Lakheni and will work closely with Nokwethu and Lauren.
“We are excited about having the Afri-CAN Charity as partners. Afri-CAN’s mission to create supportive environments that help people to reach their full potential mirrors what we believe at Lakheni. Lakheni aims to galvanise communities; to get them to work together to access goods and services at fair prices. Afri-CAN has extensive experience in getting community members to actively change their circumstances, whether through the cafes or the creches. Stefan’s experience in building businesses will be valuable in assisting with the refinement of the Lakheni business model so that we can achieve sustainable impact. Lakheni is also able to deepen Afri-CAN’s footprint by connecting them to creches that require new infrastructure.” Nokwethu Khojane, Co-founder, Lakheni
Stefan Allesch-Taylor CBE, The Afri-CAN Charity Chairman said “The Lakheni business model is an extremely relevant and smart way to help the poorest people in the community to save money. It does this by bringing the community together to buy basic household items in a new and less expensive way. I was impressed with Nokwethu and Lauren’s approach to solving the problem and think that the highly demonstrable positive impact of the business is a big draw, it deserves to succeed.”
Author: Alex Harvey, Afri-CAN Copywriter
Bio: Alongside writing news posts for The Afri-CAN Charity,
he is also a barista at Department of Coffee & Social Affairs