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Northland whānau get help to make sense of their dollars

Thursday, March 20, 2014
Northland whānau get help to make sense of their dollars

Eighteen Ngāpuhi community workers who have completed a pilot financial literacy training programme will be recognised at a special graduation ceremony in Paihia on Friday.

Funded by the Māori Women’s Development Inc, the specially-designed programme was arranged by the Fin-Ed Centre (Financial Education and Research Centre), a joint venture between Massey University and Westpac.

The group of community workers, including those from Whānau Ora, now have the skills to teach whānau in their community how to improve their financial wellbeing through budgeting, debt management and tracking their spending.

Fin-Ed Centre director Dr Pushpa Wood, who also facilitated the training programme, says the response to the course has been extremely positive.

“This has been one of the most rewarding teaching experiences of my career – the feedback has been truly positive and the reflective journals that were sumbitted at the end of the course show some real life-changing shifts in attitudes and actions,” she says.

“One of my favourite notes came from a community worker who said spending diaries had been a real eye-opener for the whānau she worked with. More importantly, she said the small changes they made after seeing what was being wasted are still in place today.”

Māori Women’s Development Inc chief executive Teresa Tepania-Ashton says, as a last resort micro-finance entity, her organisation understands the importance of developing basic financial literacy skills.

“Financial literacy empowers whānau to make good financial decisions, this programme is about equipping them with the skills that can change their lives.”

Te Rūnanga-Ā-Iwi-O-Ngāphui general manager Allen Wihongi, whose organisation is the lead agency within Te Pu O Te Wheke Whanau Ora Collective, says the pilot programme addressed an area of need within the community.

“One of the key strategies both our local organisations have is to build capacity within our whānau, hapū, marae and iwi. Part of that is building their knowledge base around financial literacy to help them keep good books and to understand what is going on in the domestic and global economy around them and how it impacts on them at home.”

The training course was based on the Fin-Ed Centre’s Certificate in Facilitating Personal Financial Management, which is designed for people who want to improve their skills in delivering financial literacy to others, but who do not want to undertake a full degree or diploma porgramme.

Dr Wood says both the content and delivery model were customised to include more face-to-face teaching time and to recognise the special cultural needs of the Ngāpuhi community. Each community worker was required to work with three whānau as part of the programme, and each will now take their knowledge out into the community by working with others.

It is hoped the financial literacy programme will be rolled out in other communities around the country and the Fin-Ed Centre and the Māori Women’s Development Inc are already in discussions with a number of organisations.


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