By Phearun Pove, Children’s Financial Literacy Coordinator in Cambodia.
In November 2015, CUFA in partnership with CPA Australia launched the Count4Kids digital app as a part of the Children’s Financial Literacy program. This initiation was an evolution for the program, teaching children in rural and poor areas of Cambodia about money and further equipping them with the necessary skills for their future. One year on, the games have not only resulted in more eager students but also has encouraged the teachers making it a fun way to learn for all.
Initially installed on 30 tablets, the interactive digital application games were given to three project officers to use at project sites in Takeo, Kampong Chhnang and Svay Rieng provinces. Since the children and their schools often lack electricity, let alone an internet connection, this technology proved new not only for CUFA but also for most of the children. Nonetheless, the children took to the tablets with great enthusiasm and joy within minutes of being handed a tablet device. It has radically transformed the teaching and learning experience in the Children’s Financial Literacy Program.
The app also turned out to be a powerful toolkit for the project – playing a fundamental role in not only attracting the children’s attention (especially children in grades 1 and level 2, aged 6 or 7) but also the helping the project officers in implementing the project with better outcomes. The addition of technology like this helped CUFA exponentially, enhancing the teaching and learning environment provided by the Children’s Financial Literacy Program. The applications are also available on Google Play Store by searching for “Khmer Financial Literacy” and have been developed and generously supported by CPA Australia.
Why was the app introduced?
These apps were designed and introduced so that the children get a better understanding of the project officers teaching regarding Financial Education. “Rather than just talk and talk at the front of the classroom, it is better to have something that the grabs the students’ attention in an engaging way and that excites the teachers as well. And let’s face it, all kids love animation and games!” said Theara, CFL project officer in Kampong Chhnang.
And let’s face it, all kids love animation and games
The application has sparked positive feedback from the teachers from the target primary schools as well as the students. Not only did they have a positive impact on each child’s ability to understand the objective of each lesson but also helped the teachers transition between the teachings smoothly. Teachers feel these applications act as a good starting point to help children to understand clearly about savings also how savings can help achieve their goals for university or future directions. In classrooms, these applications feature the story of Ronnie the Riel , a fictional character who always is a good friend, good child, and good saver. Ronnie the Riel is used as a role model for the children. This application helps children get a better understanding of the project officer’s everyday teachings, even after the officer has finished teaching by just watching the animation. Most of the children now portray similar values to the character in the animation by starting their own savings and having a clear goal for their savings. Moreover, they have also changed their behaviour from spending all their allowance to save some into their piggy bank.
A student at Naktaharng Primary School in Kampong Chhnang province, young Kim Sokbon has already started saving money towards his goal to be a teacher. He said Ronnie is his inspiration. He loves to watch the animation. He has been adding money to his savings account every month since being part of the program. CUFA is thankful for CPA Australia and their support of the Count4Kids application in the Children’s Financial Literacy program. We couldn’t do it without them. Each year CUFA reaches around 10,000 children and their families through the Children’s Financial Literacy program. Since 2008, more than 82,000 children have been part of the program. Also read: Excitement as Count4Kids hits classrooms