Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Educación financiera: una utopia que se hizo realidad

Strengthening families this cohort has been about creating bonds with our assigned communities, first through children at the centres and then reaching their parents with the workshops we gave on microfinance and sexual health.

The immersion started with analyzing the context we were going to be faced at, and how the areas assigned would serve better for it. For nearly a week we discussed the best approach to deal with this delicate issues such as money and sex. Participation of cooperantes and their knowledge in Bolivia served as a support to built the structure that our lesson plans and workshops were going to have.  British volunteers brought fresh and interesting ideas to present something innovating for our partner, Aldeas SOS.

Our real journey started once we got into centres to apply the planned structure. The first thing that in a way, delayed the efficiency of the work, was the lack of knowledge we had on our particular centres, getting to know our children, their behaviour, their response to our ideas, took us about two weeks. Once we acknowledged this, we readjusted our lesson plans and things started to work better. The language barrier was still one of the main difficulties to overcome, but this one, can be easily defeated with attitude. Frustration started to condense our volunteers in their many tries to make things function properly; hence, we decided to create more specific and detailed activities, that will encourage children's curiosity. We tried to manage the "violence" among them, creating a behaviour chart that will motivate to behave without hitting each other. We talked about how these violent reactions may come from a family environment that we could not interfere directly. It is part of reality, we can only provide education and as much love as possible.

Financial Education

To teach financial education to children aged 3 to 5 became quite a challenge. Our main focus was to let them know the value of things, so they could understand that everything they had took some grade of effort from their parents, therefore, tantrums for the desired but expensive toy, would decrease; feelings of disappointment for not having what the other kid had, would become less, and the idea of valuing the things they had, would increase. In parallel, we made a diagnosis to understand parents financial inquires and needs. We analyzed specific issues regarding money expense, income average, family's money administration, budgeting planning and savings among others. We related our experience with children and explain the importance of making them be part of family finances in a fun and subtle way. They need to have the notion of how important it is to save money and we had some interactive tips to make that work on 3 year old ones. Our workshops were designed according to our results, research and ideas. In the end, parents seemed pleased with the given information. 

Talking about microfinance, financial education and overall money matters in countries like Bolivia will always be a challenge. People are reserved and feel uncomfortable sharing this information, it is too private and we can't really rely on strangers to speak it up. But we managed to provide the info and we still need to keep trying on improving this.  

Written by Eugenia Robles
Edited by Desirée Benson

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