Since it started in 2008, the goal of the Children’s Financial Literacy (CFL) program has been to provide financial literacy lessons to poor and disadvantaged children aged 6–12 years old. The program is integrated within the regular school curriculum with the objective to encourage children to develop lifelong savings habits at a young age. The program also connects children with a village savings bank to enable community access to financial services.
The program is implemented with a three stage approach. First, children are given financial training within the classroom in the form of hour long lessons every two to three months. Home visits are then conducted by Cufa project officers to encourage saving and connect children, as well as their parents, to village savings banks. Lastly, training workshops are organised for school teachers in participating schools, developing tips and strategies to reinforce the lessons learned by children during the classroom activities and household visits. It also enables teachers to teach financial literacy modules to children independent of Cufa project officers. Thanks to this approach, families and school staff also benefit by learning from the program.
The implementation of the program sees project officers provide both digital and printed teaching content, including the CFL app, a story book about Ronnie Riel’s adventures, and a lesson book, which are used in classes to illustrate the importance of saving. The lesson books also contain a multitude of teaching stimulus such as mix and match activities, short writing exercises, calculations, and also contain notes for the children’s parents to understand the material. The CFL app was launched in 2015 in Cambodia and 2018 in Myanmar, in partnership with CPA Australia. It is an effective tool in reinforcing the skills developed through the rest of the program.
The CFL program has taught over 90,000 children since its inception. In the past 3 years, 66% of participants have been actively saving and since the CFL program started in 2008, the average monthly savings from each child has increased by 236% from $0.89 to $2.99.
Starting in May 2016, Cufa expanded its Children’s Financial Literacy program with People Improvement Organisation (PIO) School in Phnom Penh. Many of the children who go to school at PIO used to live on or near a dump site. Funded by 100 Things (100things.com.au) this one-off, six month project sees Cufa working with hundreds of children at PIO to teach them about the importance of saving and using money wisely.