For 43 years, Mercy Corps has been working worldwide on the front lines of crises to create a prosperous world for everyone.
In Tajikistan, Mercy Corps’ mission is to alleviate suffering, poverty, and oppression by helping people build secure, productive and just communities. What makes the organisation unique is the expertise of its qualified employees, the opportunities for learning and the knowledge range and practices, diversities, and cultures.
Mercy Corps Tajikistan works with adolescents and young people to improve their social and economic knowledge. They have been implementing the INVEST programme, which emphasises social components by delivering life skills and work readiness training, including different topics on managing budget, problem-solving skills, controlling, recognising emotions, etc.
The INVEST programme is also offered to vulnerable groups. Many organisations consider only older adolescent girls as a vulnerable group, while Mercy Corps Tajikistan implemented the programme with a gender lens, teaching everyone exactly the same programme. Mercy Corps Tajikistan also carries out other important initiatives, such as building adolescent corners in schools. In this way, students can continue learning life skills and financial skills outside of the INVEST programme so that the teachings can have a long-term impact.
Social and Financial Education (SFE) is important as Tajikistan is not a high-income country and Mercy Corps is proud to provide a space for young people to learn skills and improve their financial knowledge. The organisation plans to work with 1500 youth to find a source of income after following vocational skill trainings. Mercy Corps Tajikistan works closely with the Ministry of Education and other key stakeholders to achieve these goals.
Parents reported positive changes in students that participated in social and financial programmes. Students motivate other adolescents to work on their self-esteem and courage, leading them to become proactive in different activities and their communities. Many students started entering competitions and contests after participating in the trainings.
Mercy Corps Tajikistan decided to partner with Aflatoun because of the international experience working with children that they both share. They believe that sharing best practices, case studies, and successes is the best way to improve financial literacy and life skills in the children and youth of Tajikistan.
They have been implementing the Aflateen curriculum for adolescents. They are excited to provide this curriculum to their students because of the interactive method of learning, the peer-to-peer approach and other practices that are usually outside of school programmes. These activities make students happy and active, full of energy to work individually or in groups. They feel like they have more freedom to express themselves.
Mercy Corps Tajikistan believes that social and financial education belongs to the young generations as they can actively change the communities’ futures. They can contribute to the improvement of society as well as work and manage their finances for their futures and dreams.
Successful Outcomes of Social and Financial Education in Tajikistan
Mercy Corps Tajikistan shared with us how the implementation of social and financial education programmes has visibly obtained successful results in target communities, compared to other students. In fact, they report that many SFE students have been awarded at competitions or Olympiads around regions. They have improved significantly in critical thinking, business planning, team building, problem-solving, leadership, community contribution, decision making, etc.
Mercy Corps Tajikistan is also very proud to observe that many events and campaigns are organised every year by the very same students who participated in the programme. During school meetings, parents and other stakeholders are grateful to know that their children are undergoing social and financial education that will help them in the future.