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.
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Youth Program Officer