The Townships Project A Canadian non-profit jumpstarting business in South
African townships through microlending, microfranchising
and asset based community development.
Canadian Charitable Registration Number (86418 8420 RR0001).
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The Townships Project was created in 1999 with the objective of alleviating extreme poverty in South Africa by lending small amounts of money to poor individuals to enable them to start or expand micro-businesses, to provide basic business skills training to the borrowing individuals and to engage in a broad fundraising program to solicit donations in Canada from Canadians to support its microfinance activities in South Africa.

Borrowers operate a range of small businesses including home-based grocery, candy and snack shops, fruit and vegetable stands, dressmaking, second hand clothing and school lunch businesses. The object is to enable borrowers to become self-sustaining and to break the cycle of poverty.

The Townships Project works through local microfinance institutions (MFIs) in South Africa, which make repayable, interest-bearing loans to entrepreneurs, primarily women. Nearly all the costs of these loan programs are spent within the target community.  During the period 1999 to 2012, The Townships Project supported five different microfinance institutions in five provinces in South Africa.

Tetla Financial Solutions, the only Grameen-style MFI operating in the township areas around Cape Town when we commenced supporting it in 2007, is one of two main beneficiaries of our microlending support.  Tetla also operates in the Bergville area. Tetla was started by Yvonne Radinku, a Soweto-born South African. Phakamani Foundation of White River is the other main beneficiary of our support for microlending activities.

Beginning in 2009, The Townships Project began exploring how microloans could be made even more effective when combined with asset-based community development and micro-franchising.  Please see Our Work in South Africa for more details.  During 2011 and 2012, we held the first ever MicroFranchising Launch: Trade Show and Workshops, 3-day events designed to rapidly scale business ownership amongst the 20 million or 40% of its population subsisting on $2 a day.  We continue to build partnerships with industry and government to encourage the formation and development of microfranchises - profitable businesses that can be purchased for as little as $1500 (about the size of a larger microloan) each one creating at least one job.

The Townships Project is a registered charity in Canada and is authorized to issue charitable donation receipts for income tax purposes. #86418 8420 RR0001

News & Events News

2017 January/February SA Franchise Magazine Article
March 28, 2017
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2016 Annual Giving Letter
March 28, 2017
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2015 Annual Giving Letter
January 5, 2016
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