By supporting cooperative structures, the DGRV is making an important contribution to black economic empowerment in South Africa. More than 10 years after the end of Apartheid, a large part of the black population is still living in poverty. Efforts by the democratic government and visible economic successes have not yet yielded a more equitable distribution of incomes.
The DGRV supports cooperatively-organized business initiatives, especially in the crafts and in trade, by assisting in the procurement of goods and marketing as well as in accounting, management and in training and advanced training. By building up savings and credit cooperatives, the target group is to be enabled to obtain and maintain access to financial services over the longer term.
In 2003, Yebo was founded as a central advisory and service cooperative of member groups with DGRV support. Yebo is a term from the Zulu language affirming "yes, it works"; the organization functions as a support centre for the approx. 80 cooperatively-organized member groups during their foundation phase. It provides education and training to support their development and self-governance structures and makes available funding from a credit fund.
Yebo and DGRV cooperate closely with local partners in providing consultancy services in the townships. The target group comprises mainly bakers, street vendors and other micro businesses. The support focuses on bakeries, predominantly family-run and groups who, unlike their big competitors, supply inhabitants of the townships directly with fresh and, more importantly, inexpensive bread. The group profile has been reinforced and internal cohesion improved by introducing a common brand "Yebo Baco" and standardized packaging material, amongst other things.
In addition, the DGRV advises State institutions in shaping or improving framework conditions in South Africa, for example regarding the revision of the Cooperative Act and the introduction of cooperative auditing.