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Chicago, IL 60607

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© 2016 Opportunity Internationala 501(c)3 nonprofit.

Issue no. 3 - 2014 Governor Community Connection

Focus on Financial Literacy

By Opportunity International

It was March 2014, and Betty Mutua, Opportunity Kenya's Central Region Manager, and Benjamin Kerema, Opportunity Kenya's Head of Transformation, were special guests at Jambo Radio, a popular Kenyan radio station. On air to introduce Opportunity's financial literacy teaching, they gave candid advice about how low-income households can budget, save and protect themselves from risk.

At the close of the hour-long show, Benjamin and Betty invited listeners to follow up by text message. Hundreds of messages poured in, with questions from all over the region. Opportunity's staffers were poised to respond to the texts, sharing more resources and building trust in the Opportunity brand. 

Benjamin and Betty's show was also aired on five other Kenyan radio stations - reaching a total listenership of one million people. Their show was just one of many activities in recent months to roll out Opportunity Kenya's financial literacy program.

Opportunity's goal is to train 25,000 clients over three years - and since inception in September 2013, we've already trained over 18,000 people.

We're using compelling visuals to teach important financial principles. Materials such as comics and board games are tailored to cultural norms, with creative storylines that appeal to audiences of varying educational backgrounds.

To convey key information, Opportunity Kenya has also developed DVDs - which are low-cost, allowing Opportunity to reach more people at scale. Our financial literacy DVDs reinforce and deepen lessons learned from the eight-week training sessions that clients receive prior to loan distribution, and the life skills training that is conducted throughout the course of the loan term.

Our special focus is on increasing financial literacy for rural women - because, among all of Opportunity's clients, rural women have the highest rate of illiteracy and the least familiarity with banking.

For the first time, families can experience a culture of savings - intentionally planning for the future and taking proactive steps to protect themselves from risk. They can avoid falling prey to exploitative financial schemes of unscrupulous people. And women can become equal partners in household decisions - for the benefit of their children's health, education and safety.

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