Financial Literacy is globally recognized as a fundamental need for all populations. When the population of interest is female and poor as is the case with Samhita members, the need is all the more critical. An effective, locally designed financial literacy program serves to pull populations into the financial mainstream, allowing them to utilize existing financial resources optimally.
Samhita Microfinance, together with its technology partner eCubeH Research Labs launched a Financial Literacy training campaign in 2010. It has been among the more ambitious of any such campaign globally, in terms of its scale, scope, target audience and local language tools. The program focuses on providing training to the women in management of savings, expenditures, debt, investments, risk mitigation tools, and financial planning for the present and the future.
The training resource material created made effective use of multimedia - a short movie in Hindi highlighting the value of financial knowledge, Hindi animation flip charts, budgeting work sheets and other tools.
Each of the 4 modules was structured as a 2 hour session, one a week, so that the entire training could be completed over 4 weeks. All the trainings were conducted in the slums for the members' convenience. Towards the end of Phase I which completed in early 2011, the training was expanded to slums of Gwalior. The training was followed by a impact study on completion.
For an academic study on Samhita's Financial Literacy training, please see
- Furthering Financial Literacy: Experimental evidence from a financial literacy program for microfinance clients in Bhopal, India. Anna Custers, 2011, Development Studies Institute, London School of Economics and Political Science