Tagum Cooperative, one of the active partners of NATCCO in bringing social and financial education to the children and youth in Davao del Norte, opens its Aflateen doors to learners enrolled in the Alternative Learning System (ALS), a non-formal education program mainly for school dropouts, out-of-school-youth, non-readers, and working Filipinos, who opt to attend school-based and community-based classes according to their preferred schedules. ALS students go through two levels (elementary and high school) which cover all general academic subjects. The program also provides a nurturing environment for gathering and discussion on economic and social issues relevant to the participants, the Cooperative, and to the city in general.
A number of 35 ALS teachers and instructional managers from Tagum City participated in the Aflateen Trainers’ Training held last October 29-30, 2013 at the Conference Hall of the Tagum Cooperative Office in Davao Del Norte. The sessions focused on ways to help teachers cater to the needs of their learners, to adapt and maximize their resources according to the style of non-formal education, and to prepare themselves for another chapter in their Aflateen book. Most of the learners under the ALS program are already working in farms and local markets as micro-entrepreneurs . Training participants see the Aflateen program as an opportunity to help explore and develop their concepts of financial management and entrepreneurship. "This is a timely program for us because we want also to equip our out-of-school youth learners the financial knowledge and skills necessary for their advancement," Leila I. Ibita, ALS supervisor in Tagum City, said during the training. She highly encourages the participating teachers to stay active in promoting financial literacy in all of their activities. The teachers have prepared a re-entry plan for the program’s implementation in their respective areas. It was agreed that learning sessions will only be held once a week and that focus will be especially given to shaping the learners’ perspective and attitude about money.
The Aflatoun population continues to grow as NATCCO partners become more and more involved. Last September 11-13, San Dionisio Credit Cooperative (SDCC) took another big step by conducting Aflatoun orientations and launching the Program in the nine (9) participating schools in Parañaque. With the help of SDCC officers headed by Mrs. Marites Sanchez, teachers and students alike were drawn to the Aflatoun concept of Child Social and financial education. SDCC General Manager, Ms. Cielito Garrido, expressed her full support for the program and was attentive to the members’ questions about the processes of membership, deposit, and withdrawal. Having learned that SDCC has opened their membership to the entirety of Parañaque, teachers and parents who are non-members of SDCC but are aware of the Cooperative’s respectable reputation also expressed their interest to apply for membership and support the Program. The participating schools were as follows: Parañaque Elementary School, Parañaque Elementary School Unit II, San Dionisio Elementary School, La Huerta Elementary School, Silverio Annex Elementary School, Fourth Estate Elementary School, Sampaloc Site II Elementary School, San Agustin Elementary School, and Col. E. De Leon Elementary School. It was an enthusiastic welcome for both SDCC and NATCCO as the students openly expressed their willingness to save and their appreciation for a child-friendly banking system.
The launch was held at the SDCC training room with more than 50 students and teachers in attendance. SDCC CEO, Ms. Cielito Garrido, graced the event and shared an inspirational anecdote of her savings experience with the Cooperative back when she was the same age as the participating students. Mrs. Evelyn Luching, a BOD Member, reminded everyone that the launch marks the beginning of a financial journey and congratulated the students for being part of the Program. Most of the student-representatives were able to open their accounts during the launch and promised to continue and help spread the initiative of saving.
The following is an e-postcard from Ana Calvo Langdon, a GlobalGiving Representative in the Philippines.
NATCCO's Aflatoun project aims to educate children on financial concepts, and enterprise for social change. When I first heard about the project I did not know how a 6-year-old child could understand the importance of savings and be excited by the idea. But 16 schools on the small, beautiful island of Guimaras figured it out and on July 15th, Sandra and I had the pleasure of meeting one of NATCCO's cooperative partners and visiting one of those schools. .
The school that we visited exemplified the success of the project. “At first, not everyone understood well the benefits of savings for the children and now all the school is engaged,” a rural school teacher told us. The children learn financial concepts, providing them with practical experience. This project empowers them and their ability to make a difference in their lives and in the lives of people around them. But it is not only a project that helps the children, but all the community. Most of the teachers and the children’s parents also opened a savings account with the cooperative.
Thursdays are money collection days and the children are so excited that THEY are the ones reminding the teachers. They enthusiastically show their “saving passbook” and invest their pesos. NATCCO ensures that their savings receive a 5% return so it is in the best hands (much higher than commercial bank). The minimum saving is 5PHP (0.10 USD).
NATCCO also trains the teachers about how the project works and the financial concepts, knowledge that they transfer to the children through regular classroom lessons. The “fever” of saving and learning about finance is such that even in the walls of the school they use their national fruit, mangos, for the “accounting”!
Back in the office of the cooperative one girl was depositing the money (for the older children they can deposit money any time they want). Even when they leave school they can keep their account. This shows that children are not only excited to participate in the Aflatoun Project, but they are also gaining long-term, important life skills.
NATCCO’s Aflatoun Child Social and Financial Education program believes that children must be taught how to think, not what to think. On April 11 and 12, 2013 NATCCO and Perpetual Help Community Cooperative in Dumaguete City conducted a one day Children’s Camp for the members of the program in Bayawan City and Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental. The theme of the camp was “Me and Aflatoun, Saving the Earth for A Brighter Future.” The program presents different concepts of savings; that saving the environment and energy, and other forms of resources are as equally important as saving money. The topic was relevant as the country experienced devastating calamities like typhoons and floods. The Children’s Camp was attended by forty pupils from Grade 1 up to Grade 7. These children were also the most active savers in their class. Children enjoyed the gathering as they played games, gained new friends, and shared their ideas and thoughts about savings. The camp also emphasized the devastating effects of environmental abuse, and what can children do to save our mother earth. The camp made children aware that they have a role to play in taking care of the environment; that they can be change makers. Through fun and learning-filled activities, children explored different ways to make positive contribution in their communities.
San Juan is a small town in the province of Leyte. People rely on farming as a source of livelihood. As a 5th Class Municipality, there are limited opportunities for entrepreneurship and employment. Parents work hard to send their children to school with the hope of preparing a better future for them.
Amid the financial difficulties, most parents see to it that the children have some allowance in going to school. Children usually spend their daily allowance in transportation, food, and school needs. Because of the power of consumerism, most of the time, children spend everything, and nothing is left for savings. When the Aflatoun Child Social and Financial Education Program was introduced in the district, the school heads warmly welcomed it as a fitting program to make the children aware on the importance of savings and wise use of money. To equip and inspire the teachers in the integration of the program in the curriculum, a two-day teachers’ training was organized. It was followed by the program launching and organizing of the savings program in schools. After one month, 900 children opened their savings account. Their savings reached $3,429. Because of the fun lessons about savings, budgeting, and planning that the children experienced inside the classroom, they have been motivated to be more disciplined in handling money and wise in prioritizing needs from wants. The amount that the children saved gave them a sense of fulfillment and pride. It also inspired them to create their own business someday-- having learned about how savings, investment, and entrepreneurship are strongly linked.
The Aflatoun program provides life skills rooted in social and financial education. The K+12 program of the Philippine’s Department of Education relates well to the goals of Aflatoun. One of the salient points of the K+12 program is “Nurturing the Holistically Developed Filipino” (College and Livelihood Readiness, a 21st Century Life Skills), every high school graduate will be ready to go on different paths - may it be further education, employment, or entrepreneurship. The Aflatoun program promotes strong social and financial skills. The concepts of budgeting, planning, savings, entrepreneurship, and self-mastery are emphasized in the Aflatoun curriculum through fun and child-friendly format.
Currently, there are more than 9,000 rural school children that have opened their savings account, and learned about savings and investment. Continuous trainings of teachers are conducted to ensure the program’s sustainability in schools. Financial institutions are also tapped and equipped to provide child-friendly savings to children.
We owe our initial success to our donors and supporters who believe that children, when given the chance and motivation, can create a more financially-secure future for themselves. Your generosity helps children break the cycle of poverty. We are forever grateful.
Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.
If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating or by subscribing to this project's RSS feed.
Youth Program Officer