Financial Literacy for CASS Beneficiaries
by Carlo Niño Yacob
The Climate Adaptation Support Services (CASS) project intends to develop communities in Siargao Island, Surigao del Norte, toward climate-resiliency through economic empowerment. Climate Change Commission (CCC) in collaboration with Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) implements CASS. With financial support in the form of cash transfers coming from the government, it was imperative for the beneficiaries to be educated first on how to appropriately manage funds prior the disbursement. For this specific purpose, the Social Enterprise Development Partnerships Inc. (SEDPI), the service-provider hired to conduct the efforts, delivered financial literacy courses for the CASS beneficiaries. Capacity-building was deemed necessary to ensure that the families of the beneficiaries have the proper knowledge and skills to build-up sustainable financial resources in case of emergency situations such as natural disasters and calamities.
To accomplish this task, financial literacy trainings which focused on personal finance were conducted in four municipalities – Del Carmen, Pilar, San Benito, and San Isidro. The attendees were instructed on the importance of personal fund management, the intricacy of managing expenditures, the principles behind setting financial goals, the various advantages and disadvantages of having loans and savings, the acceptable uses of loans and savings, the different kinds of loan products, the proper way of knowing debt capacity, the efficient tracking of loan payment schedules, the different types of savings, the suitable places to store money, the different kinds of insurance products, and the various institutions that offer these financial services.
Discussions and workshops were delivered to impart knowledge to the participants. To complement these, printed financial literacy handbooks that highlight important points were also distributed. By and large, the various interventions conducted were positively received with messages of gratitude and praise. In the Municipality of Pilar, a participant expressed, “Mahusay po, salamat salamat po sa inyong panahon! (Terrific! Thank you for your time!)”. Another participant from the area also mentioned, “Ser and Ma’am, salamat sa inyong pagsasabot kay dahan ang nakat-onan nako kon unsa ba pagpasikot sa panginabuhi. (Sir and Madam, thank you for the talk. It has taught me how to handle by business)”. She was referring to how the program has helped her in managing livelihood.
Most of the participants expressed appreciation on savings, loans, and insurance sessions. A participant remarked, “Natutunan sa insurance para mayroon maasahan sa pangyayari na emergency or pagkamatay, kalamidad. (I was taught that insurance would be reliable in times of emergency, death and calamity)”. In the area of Del Carmen, an attendee noted, “Naiintindihan po namin kung paano magbudget ng pera at pagcontrol ng pangungutang. (We understood how to budget money and control loaning.)”.
Moreover, several participants also included their impressions on the manner of facilitation of the trainings. They exclaimed, “Okay ang mga speakers excellent, nakakaintindi kami at malinaw ang pang-explain. (Excellent speakers, we were able to understand and explanations were clear)”. Another participant commented, “Puro excellent ang nilagay ko kasi marami akong natutunan at masaya ako dahil sa inyong mga lecture (I put all ‘excellent’ (in the evaluation sheets) because I learned a lot and I am happy because of your lecture.)”.
After these financial literacy trainings have been delivered, local government units in charge are expected that cash transfers would be initiated as soon as possible. It is hoped that the beneficiaries would apply their learning once this has ensued.