The Victoria Mutual Foundation has empowered some 10,000 secondary-level students in the areas of financial literacy and entrepreneurship with the provision of high-level financial education content and training, through its partnership with the British Council on the Social Enterprise in Secondary Schools (SESS-J) Programme, which concluded in March.
In addition to an investment of some $5.4 million annually for the roll-out of the three-year Programme, the VM Foundation also utilized its wealth of experience in financial education to create meaningful content for the participants.
Clover Moore, Assistant Vice President, Group Corporate Affairs and Communication, delivering remarks as part of the SESS-J 2nd Annual Summit last Thursday (March 25) said the Foundation has been working, through the Programme, to empower youth to make sound financial decisions.
“Victoria Mutual has a key differentiator; that of delivering financial education because we care and want to help Jamaicans make better quality choices. Through SESS-J, we were able to use this expertise to create meaningful financial education material such as videos, workbooks and other training material,” she said.
The VM Foundation developed an interactive Financial Literacy Training Booklet, dubbed VM FETE (Financial Education to Empower) Secondary Schools Edition, alongside supporting videos relevant for young people. A microsite has also been developed, to be launched shortly, which seeks to improve access to resources and material used throughout the Programme.
Moore noted that when youth understand how to spend, save and invest money and can apply these lessons in their daily lives, it can lead to a shift in the financial decision making of not just them, but also their parents and peers.
She added: “What’s important is helping our young people to feel like they can make decisions that will help them to advance themselves, as sometimes the sense of powerlessness drives frustration, creates apathy, and may make them want to give up.”
The SESS-J Programme engaged secondary level students in a range of activities and training sessions with the aim to increase students’ knowledge of social innovation and entrepreneurship through seven core skills. These are financial literacy, critical thinking and problem solving, collaboration and communication, creativity and imagination, citizenship, digital literacy, and student leadership.
Moore said the VM Foundation embarked on the partnership as the Programme aligns with the Foundation’s core focus on youth development and social enterprise.
“The VM Foundation is actively committed to its purpose of advancing the financial wellbeing of Jamaicans at home and in the Diaspora. Through social enterprise engagements, our young people can learn the tenets of running a formal business successfully, by understanding principles such as marketing or how to choose products, while giving back to their community and making a difference,” she said.
Through the initiative, VM Group Team Members were also trained in the United Kingdom to volunteer in the SESS-J Programme as Master Trainers, Teachers, Mentors and financial literacy trainers.
The Programme engaged 15 schools and saw over 10,000 youth involved in social enterprise awareness sessions and 250 participating in Social Enterprise clubs started at the schools, through VM Foundation seed funding. Meanwhile, 10 Master Trainers and 60 Teachers were trained to deliver the Social Enterprise methodology, and 170 organisations were engaged through project activities.
The Summit was held under the theme “Partnering to Accelerate Education”. It sought to highlight the impact and lessons learnt from the Programme and to explore the suitability of other unified programmes for 2021 and beyond, in supporting the Education Ministry’s objectives.