It is planned that about 2,400 people will be trained at the financial literacy courses “Financial awareness for confident future” until October 2017. This was informed by the organizers of the program during a press briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center. “The program involves the introduction to the basics of conducting and planning a family budget, the study of financial products and services as well as advantages and risks of their use. […] We will hold 120 two-day trainings in 11 regions of Ukraine. The first 11 pilot trainings have already been held,” informed Olesia Bondar, director of the ICF “Ukrainian Women’s Fund.” The target audience includes internally displaced persons, pensioners and persons affected by the war. Trainings are held by a team of specially trained specialists.
The program is implemented by the ICF “Ukrainian Women’s Fund” within the USAID project “Financial Sector Transformation.” “On a daily basis we deal with fairly complex issues – laws, regulations, financial products and different financing moves. But nothing is more important to us than our work on financial literacy and awareness and consumer protection. We believe strongly that the financial system is based on and operates for the people. So, what matters for us at the end of the day is that people feel confident in the financial system, confident that they will be treated fairly and, the most important in terms of this project, confident that they have the ability to deal with everyday questions about money and how you use it,” noted Robert Bond, Project Manager of the USAID project “Financial Sector Transformation.”
Subjects for study are banking services, precautions and budgeting
The first thematic block of the training includes the basic knowledge of the types of financial instruments and the way they are used. “We inform the participants about bank and non-bank financial services, explain them what loans, deposits and bank cards are and how to use them. We in no way advertise some financial institutions. Our task is to teach people to take the informed and deliberate financial decisions,” noted Tetiana Herasymova, master trainer of the program “Financial awareness for confident future”, implemented by the ICF “Ukrainian Women’s Fund.” For example, there is an exercise in which participants calculate the real cost of the loan not to be the ones that are mentioned in the advertisement.
The second thematic block is how to avoid becoming a victim of fraud. “We teach people what they should pay attention to when choosing financial services, where inherent risks are possible. This can be, for example, the promise of super-large interest on deposits, loans at zero rate, etc,” explained Tetiana Herasymova. They also provide information about the Deposit Guarantee Fund and the algorithm of actions for those whose money remained in failed banks.
The next block is managing and planning a family budget. People are suggested a number of ways – from very detailed to most general. “We make a big emphasis on the formation of a reserve fund – we need a kind of financial security ‘cushion’ to help us rise to vital challenges. (…) If an income is not big, it is even more important because such people are the most vulnerable,” said the coach. They also describe how the pension system works – both the current system and the one which may come after the reform. If desired, the trainees can receive financial advice.
An additional aspect of the training is development of active citizenship, promotion of ideas of how everyone can change the lives of their communities.
The first trainings in Kyiv were held in Darnytsia district, where most of officially registered IDPs live, said Natalia Kostiuk, trainer of the program “Financial awareness for confident future” in Kyiv region. They attracted participants from other parts of Kyiv and suburbs. The first regional trainings will be held in Vasylkiv, Borodyanka, Pereyaslav and Tarashcha districts.
According to participants, these courses are really needed. “The trainings are very informative and useful. This education has to start at school so that people had at least basic knowledge,” noted Valerii, participant of the training. “For me, the training was an impetus to begin studying the issues that interested me. (…)There are a lot of swindlers, and it would be nice if our awareness deprived them of their ‘job’,” added Liudmyla, participant of the training.