Financial Literacy : Who’s Responsibility? (Valerie Breda)

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From right: Valerie Breda, Samadanie, Paula Bennett, Benita Matthew

Microfinance Focus, October 14, 2010 (Colombo) : Valerie Breda, Microfinance Expert of ILO Regional Office for Asia (Thailand), said considerately, “As the 3rd speaker, I hope everyone is not too hungry so I will make it short. Yesterday when we were discussing this topic of financial literacy among the panelists, Paula asked “what is your own level of financial literacy?”. We joked that there is thin scope of improvement. I would like to share our experience – the Microfinance for Decent Work Global Action research which was started in 2008. What is microfinance for decent work? The poor face dangerous working conditions – the use of child labour, informal offices & work settings, discrimination etc. In our research, in which we are currently in the second phase (implementation and testing), we realise that most of our Asian MFIs chose to address financial risk management because clients have very little knowledge in this area. The best ways to address these issues is through financial education. We have AMK in Cambodia, Vision Fund  and TYM in Vietnam. Through these educational sessions & materials,  clients can be aware of the financial services available, manage their finance and also stop multiple borrowing or be over-indebted.

Vision Fund Cambodia update

Our Methodology: Train clients with material, simplified modules targeted for rural women (those with little formal education)

Train clients for 2 days with provincial staff followed by Briefing sessions during regular meetings to reflect what they have learnt.

Our achievements from this pilot project: 49 staff and  628 clients. Currently monitoring the impact and conducting BSL survey.

AMK Cambodia & TYM Vietnam update

Methodology : similar to the above, with additional refresher training workshop.

Briefing sessions are in place as well, during monthly centre meetings.

Hence you can see, we have been refining our methodology and it is still early to see the results. We are still monitoring and hope to have results to share with you next year. The research programme will not only benefit the 16 MFIs working with us in this programme, but also the global MF community where the tools can be used in the future.

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