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Financial Education + Life Skills = Girl Power

Posted in Blogs on March 8, 2017

Aukje te Kaat
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It’s 8 March 2017, International Women’s Day. As my colleague David beautifully said: “It’s a day to remember that women are not treated equally to men across the world. It’s a reminder that women worldwide are exposed to shocking abuse from sexual violence and female genital mutilation, to forced early marriage and deprivation of their most basic rights. International Women’s Day is a day to celebrate the actions we do every single day to change our present and future, to close the gender gap globally, to have a real egalitarian society, to end discrimination and any kind of violence against women.”

At Aflatoun International we look forward to the day we no longer need this reminder. That is why we focus on gender equality and diversity in our programmes. We also implement programmes specifically with the objective to economically empower girls. Together with Plan International and Credit Suisse’s Financial Education for Girls programme we aim to improve the financial knowledge and life skills of approximately 100,000 girls in Brazil, China, India and Rwanda.

This programme aims to improve the financial knowledge and life skills of approximately 100,000 girls

These girls do not only need knowledge, skills, and a responsible attitude to manage money in a smart way; It is equally important to build their confidence and support their ambitions. Our programme therefore focuses on girls’ self-esteem, future orientation, rights and responsibilities, and we support them to save resources, plan for the future and ultimately become socially economically empowered.

Next to programme implementation we do research that explores the impact of financial education on adolescent girls taking into account contextual factors and the broader ecosystem on which programme impact depends. The findings from the research project aim to contribute to the debate around financial education – focusing specifically on girls while recognising and taking into consideration the important role of boys.

As a first step, we carried out a literature review of girls’ economic empowerment programmes that address financial education, to determine which intervention models are most effective. This is the first time (to our knowledge) that such a review has been undertaken. The key take-away is that – in order to be most effective – programmes targeting financial education for girls must include non-economic elements, such as life skills education, sexual and reproductive health education or other elements which are determined by the context. The most robust programmes were those that contained both social (i.e. life skills) and financial interventions.

The research confirmed clearly that programmes need to address the specific context (ecosystem) of the communities where the programme is being implemented. This review enabled us to come up with a global Theory of Change, and informed our own current research approach around contextual factors that impact on effective programme implementation. We have engaged hundreds of children, teachers, parents and other community members to find out how girls’ acquisition and application of financial and life skills can be enhanced by community buy-in, work on gender norms, career guidance and other interventions.

More results are coming out soon! Are you interested in hearing more about the findings? On 28 March we organise a webinar – click here to register.

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