Actuaries without frontiers

AWF: Who are we?

Actuaries Without Frontiers (AWF) was established as an Actuarial Society committee in 2007. The core purpose of AWF is to initiate, aid and enable financial upliftment and social development through skills and resources available within the South African actuarial community. In this regard, AWF looks to serve the public interest by addressing the role of actuaries within the broader social context. The current focus lies on financial literacy and financial inclusion projects in South Africa, encouraging the profession and its members to actively play a role in this field and by facilitating initiatives and projects which members can support.


Why the need for the ‘socially aware’ actuary?

Our belief within AWF is that the role of the actuarial profession extends beyond our typical ‘customer’ or ‘client’ base with the need for more active work required on influencing the overall landscape of financial inclusion (in terms of access and quality) in South Africa.


The ASSA professional code of conduct indicates that actuaries are professionally accountable to serve the public interest through relevant policy debates, especially through the structures of the Society:

“23. The Society serves the public interest through its actuarial education and continuing professional development programmes, and by developing and enforcing standards. The Society also serves the public interest by engaging with regulators and in public debate. Members are encouraged to motivate improvements in regulation and participate in relevant policy debates, especially through the structures of the Society.”


“24. Members are encouraged to consider the public interest when rendering actuarial services… “


Financial inclusion extends to the delivery of financial services at affordable costs to sections of disadvantaged and low-income segments of society.


Financial inclusion spans across several practice areas and can be incorporated into the profession via various mechanisms for engagement – the committee therefore focuses on addressing the role of the profession in driving the agenda of financial inclusion in various ways:

·    Encouraging volunteerism on financial inclusion projects by partnering and co-ordinating volunteerism of ASSA members for such projects.

·   Liaising with other practice areas to ensure the agenda of financial inclusion is addressed by the respective committees – thereby providing for a holistic strategy for ASSA’s role in driving financial inclusion in South Africa.The committee will also focus on encouraging research by the profession in the field of financial inclusion.

·    Pro-bono work by actuaries within the profession for projects where actuarial skills can be used to assist the agendaof financial inclusion. Such projects would typically arise from entities that do not have access to actuarial expertise and are unable to afford professional actuarial expertise. Such cases would be considered on a case by case basis.


2016 has been a busy year for AWF, with a number of projects underway:

·        Financial literacy workshop in Mamelodi

·        Mandela Day outreach activity

·        iMali online game


Financial literacy workshop in Mamelodi

A team of three AWF members worked on facilitating a financial literacy workshop for 15 municipal workers in Mamelodi in early June. The half day workshop focussed on aspects of budgeting. AWF facilitated the workshop in partnership with ASABA’s outreach committee and Finmark Trust. The workshop was well received by the municipality and the attendees.




In the run up to the workshop, Finmark Trust assisted by facilitating a free session on ‘best practices for running financial literacy workshops’ for all AWF and interested ASSA members. The workshop was attended by 15 members and provided for invaluable insights into how to frame and structure such workshops.


Mandela Day outreach activity


On the 18th July 2016 AWF held the first Nelson Mandela Day Outreach Activity. AWF partnered with Won Life, a non-profit organisation which provides education and educational support to the underprivileged community of Fisantekraal, in the Western Cape.


The event was held at the Trevor Manuel Primary School in Fisantekraal, near Durbanville.

Sixteen very enthusiastic volunteers from the ASSA community helped bring this event to life.


The day consisted of the following activities:

·   Creating reading corners in the Grade 2 classrooms

·   Participating in a learning and craft activity with the kids under the coordination of the teachers and the facilitators at Won Life





ASSA also made a monetary contribution towards Won Life’s Teacher Mentorship Programme. Won Life’s comprehensive Teacher Mentorship Programme was developed to address the needs of teachers at underperforming schools in this country.  It focuses on actively mentoring teachers towards teaching success. 


iMali online game

Over the course of 2014 – 2016, AWF has been working on the development of an online multiplayer game (iMali), which focuses on increasing players’ financial literacy whilst they try to maximise their wealth and achieve the lifestyle they desire in the simulated game.


AWF has partnered with thryve, an online provider of cloud based insurance solutions, in the development and roll-out of the online game.


 The target audience for iMali are first-year tertiary education students and the key aim is to encourage these individuals to practice key financial principles such as:

1.     The benefits of budgeting and being aware of their “personal balance sheet”.

2.     The importance of saving – both for unexpected short term emergencies as well as long term savings (that typically relies on the power of compound interest to grow investments).

3.     The game also explores how different financial products (such as savings vehicles and insurance) can be used to achieve these financial goals.

4.     iMali also highlights the power of education to improve long term earnings.


The game simulates regular decisions aiming to show the impact these life choices have on your ultimate wealth, as measured by net asset value. iMali also recognises the value or utility derived from certain life decisions, reflected by a ‘happiness factor’, that acts as a multiplier on wealth in the simulated game.


The player is faced with certain choices that have a bearing on how much money he/she retires with. For example:

·        Do you study straight after school or do you start working?

·        Do you invest your money? What type of investments should you choose?

·        Will you buy a house or rent the place you’re living in?

·        Will you buy a car or save the money and use public transport?


iMali also simulates unexpected life events, such as falling ill or having a car accident. These unexpected events match the typical happenings of ordinary day-to-day life which often play havoc with financial planning and saving.


iMali’s Phase 1 (beta version) was piloted at Tsiba, a unique private, not for profit business school based in Cape Town, in mid-October 2016. Initial feedback from students was positive with most users finding the game useful, educational and realistic.


How to access iMali:

You can access iMali online via the link below:

www.playimali.co.za or



Where to next on iMali?

Phase 2 of the development of the game, earmarked for 2017, will build on these successes with further refinements to the game in the pipeline. We will seek new partnerships and roll-out the game to a wider audience in the coming year.


Our remaining focus areas for the game development would be to:

·        Fix bugs and glitches in the existing game play and extend the code to incorporate more choices

·        Improve the overall game play – by increasing the ‘fun’ quotient

·        Implement an exciting and user-friendly interface


What’s next for AWF?

In 2017, we aim to focus on:

·        Further develop and roll out iMali

·        Facilitate research on financial inclusion

·        Facilitate opportunities for knowledge sharing on financial inclusion and social development within ASSA (through seminars and talks from industry experts)

·        Outreach activities for the ASSA community


How can you help?

AWF relies on the time and expertise of volunteers from ASSA – if you’re passionate about influencing the role actuaries play on wider social development and financial inclusion issues, we’d love to have you on board.


If you also have any questions or queries, or if you’d like to partner with AWF, get in touch with one of our team members:


AWF general team

Divya Babu | dbabu@oldmutual.com

Sandra Verryn

Gilbert Diala

Simba Chinyani

Joytika Nagar

Senamile Mbatha

Suzette du Plessis

Sheldon Moodley



Dave Strugnell | dave.strugnell@mmiholdings.co.za

Louise de Beer

Rajiv Singh

Chris Smith

Andrew Cartwright

Michael Jordan

Marnus Botha


Research and Education

Dhiren Motilal | dhirenm@telesure.co.za

Carolyn Clark



Daphne Raubenheimer draubenheimer@icloud.com

Roxanne Tobias


In partnership with:

ASABA outreach committee

Ryan Howson | ryan.howson@liberty.co.za

Gift Nxumalo



                             Our JHB team - In absentia: Dhiren Motilal, Nicky Patchett and Marnus Botha                            


                Our CPT team - In absentia: Dave Strugnell, Carolyn Clarke, Sheldon Moodley, Wim Els and Jenilee Blignaudt