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Aflatoun International and NATCCO (ICA member from the Philippines), held a joint launch event of Aflatoun Manual for Cooperatives “Coop-Youth as Change Makers – Manual for Financial Literacy for Youth” on 2nd December. Mr. Balasubramanian Iyer, Regional Director, ICA-AP participated in the event and encouraged cooperatives in the region to consider the importance of the life skill and financial education for children and young people, as shown by NATCCO in the last 12 years.

 

The Philippines is the third youngest nation in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) with almost 32% of its population under the age of 15 years. A consultation carried out by the World Bank’s Knowledge for Development Community (KDC) network in the Philippines in 2016 with youth groups on issues of education, employment, environment, and governance called attention to problems plaguing the Filipino youth. High transportation costs and poor infrastructure prohibiting access to schools, limited support for aspiring entrepreneurs, and the need for career guidance programmes are just among these problems. Programmes like Aflatoun teach young people to create financial buffers that empower them to face some of these challenges and to create their innovative solutions.

 


 

 

The Aflatoun Programme is a prominent success story in empowering children and young people through the medium of social and financial education. The humble project started in Mumbai by Ms. Jeroo Billimoria currently reaches 5.4 million children and youth through 200 global partners in 116 countries! The programme has created entrepreneurs as well as responsible citizens who have become changemakers in their local communities.

 

NATCCO began implementing the Aflatoun Programme in 2006 in partnership with the Aflatoun Child Social and Financial Education Organization (formerly Child Savings International); laboratory co-ops; and the Philippine government agencies - Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) and Department of Education (DepEd). The driving force was to empower young people from financially insecure households who had dropped out of schools, or who were working in menial jobs to make ends meet. The goal was to teach financial management and life skills as well as instil a spirit of entrepreneurship among these young people.

 

The ICA Asia and Pacific (ICA-AP) recognizes the power of young changemakers and has focused on youth engagement through coops. It established its Committee on Youth Cooperation (ICYC) in 2006 to encourage youth to become active members, employees, and leaders of coops. ICA-AP’s focus on youth empowerment is also supplemented by the Committee on Cooperatives in Educational Institutions (ICEI) that advocates for coops to be built within educational institutions like schools, colleges, and universities. This manual and the success stories of youth and coops that it contains have immense potential for replication across countries and will provide an important tool for ICA-AP's focus on youth-based activities.