The value of thriftiness and the wise use of money are behavioral outcomes that the Aflatoun Child Social and Financial Education would like to impart to the rural school children in the Philippines. Last July 19-23, 2010, 10 schools in the province of Leyte were visited and more than 5,000 pupils were given orientation about the value of financial literacy. The children were also being introduced to the child-friendly savings model in partnership with the local cooperatives.
The child-friendly savings model allows children to open an account with less than $1 and without the usual bank restrictions through a safe savings account. Each week, they can save for as low as $0.50. They have their individual savings passbooks also where their savings and withdrawals are recorded. This is a good opportunity for poor children to be involved in a financial system. This exposure will inspire them to be wiser in handling their resources so that in the future they will be better equipped to manage their finances. Because some of the schools are far from the cooperative banks, a representative from the cooperative visits the schools to collect and record the savings of the children. Bringing the bank to the schools will ensure that children will have full access to the savings activity and will have the opportunity to experience the financial system while they are young.
NATCCO is very much grateful to the supporters of the program. Your contribution is giving hope to the financially-disadvantaged rural school children to break the cycle of poverty through the wise of use of resources and financial education. If you have some questions about the program, we would be glad to hear your thoughts about it. Your thoughts and opinions would really add value to our program.
getting the interest of the children about savings
Children learning while having fun in the Aflatoun Summer Camp
By Lasalette Gumban | Youth Program Officer
The school children from the ten schools in Ilocos Sur gathered on May 15, 2010 at the scenic ground of Gabao Elementary School to celebrate the Aflatoun Summer Camp. The camp is an annual summer activity wherein active Aflatoun members from different schools gather for a one-day activity to learn, have fun, and share their aflatoun experiences. The theme for this year's camp is Aflatoun and the Environment. The placid view of the school ground which was made even more beautiful with the vast blue sea across the street was a perfect way to remind the children
about their role in taking care of the environment.
The talents and skills of the kids were also honed as they presented song and dance numbers and prepared some art work. The participants of the camp are the chosen students from the different schools who did well in the academics and are active in their savings. The kids were also joined by their teachers who equally enjoyed the activity.
By Bill Brower | GlobalGiving Field Program Officer
Students deposit money with the collector
Bill Brower is a Field Program Officer with GlobalGiving who is visiting our partners’ projects throughout South and Southeast Asia. On March 10 he visited two schools in Ilocos Sur that are participating in the NATCCO student saving program, as well as one of the participating co-ops. His “Postcard” from the visit:
According to Lasalette, head of NATCCO’s Aflatoun initiative, only one in ten Filipinos save money in a bank. In some rural areas, people think if you save you’ll get sick, believing in a “curse of the piggy bank”. NATCCO seems particularly wise, therefore, to focus on getting students in to the habit of saving at a young age.
With Lasalette and Hazel from NATCCO, I visited two schools currently participating in their school savings program. Collectors come once a week to these classrooms and gather the money students have saved and record it meticulously in their co-op passbooks. In the classes we visited, the majority of students had some money to deposit, which they handed in in small tin containers (many designed with fittingly aspirational images of U.S. $100 bills). Lasalette said this money came mostly from allowances and birthday gifts. Those who didn’t deposit either don’t have spare money or they or their parents choose not to participate, she said.
NATCCO holds trainings in conjunction with the savings programs. When I asked the kids why it’s important to save they offered some good responses—in case someone gets sick, to help purchase needed appliances, to avoid spending on things you don’t really need.
A representative from one of NATCCO’s savings and development co-op partners involved in the initiative was refreshingly honest when I asked what their primary interests in the program were. They were hoping to help bring about greater frugality in the community they served. More frugal people means more people saving more money in their co-op. It’s also a stable source of money since the students can’t easily withdraw large amounts of money. While the program hasn’t been going on long enough to see long-term results, having some extra money on hand and the experience of saving seems positive. It’s the kind of practical, relevant corporate social responsibility that is sustainable because it has real value for both the company and the partner community.
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