Financial Literacy – Outreach Session in the Community of Lavusa
Financial literacy is a skill that is paramount in a modern world that deals with money constantly as a medium of economic exchange. With more individuals now employed in formal, paid jobs, the need for financial education is not only a smart decision, but a necessity. Many school programs now in Fiji do incorporate some form of financial education to a certain degree, be it lessons on a savings plan or investing money in various investment funds in the country.
While this has resulted in a more money smart and financially aware generation of youth in Fiji, there are still many instances where gaps exist in regards to financial awareness. One such group is women from the grassroots level, many of whom have not had the chance to gain education and training on financial awareness. Women in such strata may not have a stable source of income, with some being employed in
informal sectors. Many of these women are also home-makers, with limited formal education beyond secondary schooling.
I have always believed in the power of women as agents of change. Home-makers especially, are essential in creating lasting, sustainable impact and needed change. The community where I live, Lavusa, is a mixing pot of individuals from many different socio-economic backgrounds. While there are many working professionals living in the community, there are also a lot of grassroot level families. Many of these women are smart and talented, and have an entrepreneurial mindset- however, lack formal training. Thus, to help create further awareness on financial literacy, an outreach session was organized in mid June.
We liaised with employees from HFC Bank, and were able to secure Mr Nautava Rokotuibau to be a speaker on the topic. Mr Rokotuibau, Manager for Business Development, in the NGO and NPO arm of the bank, with his vast experience in the finance sector, was a wonderful and enlightening speaker for the outreach program. He was accompanied on the day by two of his colleagues, who were also able to impart a
lot of knowledge and information to the participants.
Sixteen participants were present for the session- with twelve females and four males. We were able to conduct the session in both English and the vernacular languages, which in turn helped ensure a greater exchange of ideas as the participants were free to converse in whatever medium suited them best. The session covered topics such as what it meant to be financially literate, why savings was important, income generating streams for women who were home-makers, or those who were not formally employed. Other topics which generated a lot of interest was how one could use technology to be more financially savvy, such as using internet banking or using video streaming platforms to gain financial education, or using search engines to do research on which banking or financial institutions best suited the needs of the customer.
The session went well over 2.5 hours as it was a topic that sparked quite a lot of interest from the
participants. It turned out to be a very interactive session, as the participants had many questions in relation to retirement funds, interest rates on money invested and so forth during the Q&A period. The session ended on a good note with many expressing gratitude for being invited to attend the outreach program.
All in all, it was a very informative and educational session- thank you Pacific Connect!
Shurti Kumar is the Pacific Connect Hub Coordinator for Nadi/Lautoka based members of the network. Currently a Customer Wellness Champion with Fiji Airways, Shurti has extensive history as a physiotherapist, working in both private and public physiotherapy services. She‘s passionate about women’s health and physical activity, and greater opportunities for women in leadership. Shurti joined the Pacific Connect network in early 2020, and has since become part of our inaugural Hub Coordinators team. As a Hub Coordinator, Shurti represents the Pacific Connect Community in organising and facilitating Workshops, Dialogues and networking events, being a key member of the Pacific Connect team in-country.