Financial Literacy - A valuable tool for the inclusion of women into the financial world

Katete women participating in financial literacy training.

Katete women participating in financial literacy training.

In February 2019, Impact Network in partnership with FSDZ and Mwabu/iSchool conducted a pilot study on financial literacy with grade 7 pupils at Joel, grade 10 pupils at Chimutende and NetGirls women in Dole community. The objective of the pilot was to test out the materials to be used in the larger project on financial literacy, which will be carried out later this year. The project’s goal is to increase financial literacy in women and girls– particularly adolescent girls. It will also increase the financial capabilities of low-income Zambians in rural communities across three provinces in Katete District. The project is targeting 15,000 girls and boys including young people in primary and secondary schools, as well as 2,000 out of school women and girls through NetGirls.  There was excitement among the  NetGirls  women who participated, as they expressed keen interest in learning more about financial literacy. They used the tablets during the mixture of facilitator-led and participant-led pilot sessions, navigating through each module passionately and participating fully. The women indicated that they learned a lot about how to generate, save, and manage money. Program participant Bathsheba Banda, for example, stated that she “enjoyed the financial education sessions because they cover so many things that she did not previously know, such as managing, saving and using money.” The pilot was thus proven to be a success as the digital content was well-received and there was full participation among the participants. It showed that Katete women are very interested and eager to learn about financial literacy because they do not want to be left out on financial inclusion.

Attendance and interest in the sessions were both high.

Attendance and interest in the sessions were both high.

Globally, there is a gender gap in financial inclusion among women that needs to be closed. This gap makes women have more financial problems and be more financially unstable than men. Closing this gender gap in financial inclusion could go a long way in solving  financial problems and creating financial stability. However, the gap can only be closed if women are educated on money through financial literacy education, which has been recognized to be a tool that plays an important role in the financial inclusion of women. Financial literacy is defined in different ways but is usually understood as the knowledge and understanding of personal financial concepts and the skills, motivation and confidence to make informed financial choices and participate in economic activity. Program facilitators for the Katete pilot strongly agree with this message, with one of them emphasizing that financial education “incudes women and girls in the financial world. It gives them knowledge as well as skills to help them become self-sufficient and financially stable.”

Day 2 of financial literacy training with youth learners .

Day 2 of financial literacy training with youth learners.

Financial literacy leads to making good financial choices that can have positive outcomes on the financial wellbeing of an individual. It is a form of education that provides an understanding of various financial topics, including those that relate to money management, personal finances, income and investing. It focuses on the ability to manage personal matters in an efficient manner and includes the knowledge of making appropriate choices about personal finance. It also involves the proficiency of financial principles and concepts such as financial planning and profitable savings techniques. With the benefits of this program, women gain the skills to make financially literate decisions so that they are no longer excluded from the financial world.