Rosa learning in Financial Literacy Class
I want to buy my child a new pair of shoes.
I don’t want to be dependent on anyone else’s’ income.
I need to buy medicine.
I want to go back and study.
When asked the question “Do you believe savings is important?” 100% of our affiliates answer yes.
However, when we ask our financial literacy groups in their first class “How many of you are currently saving money?,” the room goes quiet and more often then not, no one raises their hands.
So what is the barrier between this concept of savings to actually opening up a savings accounts? Throughout the past two years, Creamos has been trying to find an answer to this question, as well as offer financial opportunities to our participants. Our hope is to increase their sense of security and independence in all areas of life, beginning with their financies.
We have been facilitating our six-week financial literacy workshop since 2016, focusing on savings, budgeting, debt management, and bank services. In total, Creamos has graduated 55 women from the program and we are expecting to graduate over 75 by the end of 2018. Every woman that has graduated from the financial literacy workshop has increased her score from pre-test to post test. In addition, most women were able to consistently save throughout the duration of the workshop.
Upon graduation of the six-week course, we quickly noticed that savings habits dramatically decreased. Although women demonstrated changes in thought patterns and presented an increase in knowledge, it was evident that women were going to need more follow up to make sustainable changes to their savings habits. Creamos personnel worked with the participants to understand why, after a six-week period of saving weekly, women were no longer saving. Women reported there was not enough money and there expenses were too high. Finally, after multiple interviews of hearing the similar reasons, we decided to ask our affiliates what could help them save. Several women stated that incentivizing savings could increase the level of motivation for women to save.
In 2017, Creamos piloted our first matched savings program. The program took place over 21 weeks. Out of the 35 participants, 100% opened up a savings account, and the average amount women saved was $75.00 in 21 weeks. After seeing the successful results of the 21-week program, we decided to challenge our women even more. In January 2018, we decided to extend the program from 21-weeks to a whole year. We currently have 41 women in that savings program – and on average, women have already saved $53.00.
We continue to support the battle of our affiliates in their quest for financial freedom. Throughout our workshops and programs, we always incorporate a safety-planning component, and review the risk and protective factors of economic abuse. Creamos measures financial freedom not solely by the amount of money you have, but by the safety of your environment as well. We look forward to supporting more women find this independence in the securest way they can.