If you were to get your hands on one of the many financial literacy workbooks out there, you'd be overwhelmed by the sheer number activities and amount of information. Although we find this these workbooks incredibly valuable, for the majority of the women we work with, they can't dedicate weeks to training. They have children and crops to care for, businesses to run. We knew that if we wanted to teach things like saving, budgeting, and negotiating, we'd have to find ways to make the information stick in a short amount of time.
So we went to work simplifying and refining existing curricula to create short modules (one - two hours) that integrated the experiences of our members in real-world activities with easy to remember rules of thumb. We tested out our new curriculum with a group of 20 women from Eldoret and Kitale by asking them what they would do with 100,000 Kenyan shillings (about $1000). With that eye on the prize we worked backwards, and the results were incredible. For the first time, these women had a tangible savings goal for each month. They had never set goals; saving for something big, like a small plot of land or school fees, had always seemed out of reach. But when they saw that by saving just 100 shillings a month they could own land in two years, they were overjoyed. So much so that when we visited with them three months later, they brought the training materials to show us how they still were using them to work toward their savings goals.
It was important to us to create trainings that were relevant, effective, and engaging. Rather than leaving the trainings feeling deflated and overwhelmed, we wanted our members to leave filled with hope and excitement. They now have simple strategies that can make a big difference in their lives.