Ashoka Fellow
South Africa,
Fellow Since 1997
Business Outreach


This profile was prepared when Beverly Moodie was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 1997.
The New Idea
Beverley Moodie provides a new service that builds self-sufficiency and hope: she trains illiterate and semiliterate people to quickly start their own micro-enterprises (within two weeks). Her work is built on her insight that, for the training to have a chance of succeeding, it had first to build people's self-confidence and then quickly proceed to reveal their hidden skills and talents, help them produce a product, and then test it in the marketplace. The fact that her approach does not put money or capital first emphasizes that Bev is fine tuned to the people her idea targets–people with no capital. Her strategy enables people to discover for themselves what they can do.
Bev's approach leads trainees to their decisions but does not prescribe; they have to figure their plans out themselves, or they will not own and pursue them as their own. Her training method is designed to match people with skills that can put money in their pockets as quickly as possible. Acknowledging the global reality that people are not guaranteed employment, this training approach helps to break a cycle of poverty and provides people with the tools necessary to sustain and employ themselves.
Through an agility she brings to people's minds about how they market, Bev is also building a service ethic in a new level of the economy in South Africa. Although her program is designed for illiterate and semiliterate people, the potential impact is not limited to this segment of the population. The components of and strategies derived from this process have lessons for everyone, even educated people.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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