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Increasing Financial Awareness amongst Youth in Turkey: An Update

Summary

By: UNDP Turkey

The “Increasing Financial Awareness amongst Youth in Turkey” project, a collaboration between the Turkish Republic Ministry of Development, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Youth Association for Habitat, Visa Europe and member banks, provides critical training for poor and disadvantaged groups, in particular youth, which lack knowledge on the benefits of financial services and products or for those that have the knowledge but lack the access.

Launched in 2009, the key objectives of the project are to raise awareness amongst local communities on securing financial well-being and therefore contribute to the socio-economic empowerment of youth and achievement of UN Millennium Development Goals. To do so, the project provides trainings on financial management for members of their own local youth councils, which cover high schools and university students, members and target groups of youth NGOs and other youths. As a part of the project, the volunteer trainers – made up of high school and university students and members of youth NGOs – provide training on skills such as budgeting, financial-planning and management, good credit standing, effective use of investment products, the effects of financial awareness on sustainable development, personal responsibilities as well as ethical issues. At present, there are 156 volunteer trainers who aim to reach 16 thousand young people by the end of the second year of the project.

A contemporary, non-formal training curriculum on budgeting and financial management has been established for and by the young people in Turkey. As of September 2011, nearly 7600 youths, roughly half of which are young women, have received trainings on financial awareness. The results of the first year of implementation are very encouraging and show that the project has grown fast and has been well-received from the public. During the first year, trainings were held in 17 project cities, with high demand leading to additional trainings in a total of 41 project cities and 7 non-project cities, including Adana, Adıyaman, Afyon, Amasya, Ankara, Antalya, Artvin, Aydın, Balıkesir, Bandırma, Batman, Bolu, Bursa, Çanakkale, Çankırı, Denizli, Diyarbakır, Düzce, Elazığ, Erzurum, Eskişehir, Gaziantep, Giresun, Hakkari, İstanbul, İzmir, Kayseri, K.Maraş, Kırıkkale, Kilis, Kocaeli, Konya, Kütahya, Malatya, Mersin, Muğla, Muş, Niğde, Ordu, Rize, Sakarya, Samsun, Siirt, Sivas, Tekirdağ, Trabzon, Van and Yalova.

Youth that participated in the trainings demonstrated significantly stronger financial skills than a control group. A survey was conducted among 333 trainees, with very encouraging feedback, including:

• 75 percent report that they now budget regularly
• 87 percent stick to their budgets
• 84 percent divide their monthly spending between essential and non-essential consumption
• 91 percent report that they were satisfied with the project.
• 62 percent started to list their spending regularly
• 75 percent stated that their knowledge about banking transactions increased.

Berna Ülman, Senior Vice President of Visa Europe stated, “We believe that young people are making a crucial contribution into the future of our country through the “Harnessing Financial Awareness Among Young Men and Women” project, which we initiated in order to help improve the budget management skills of young people and contribute to the sustainable economic development in our country. The first year results of the project indicate that young adults know more about their spending as well as budgeting their personal financial resources. We have reached above and beyond the goals that we had set for the initial year of the project, which has been an immense source of pride for everyone involved in the Project.”

Diane Scott, Vice President of Corporate Communications at Visa Europe added, “Financial education is a core life skill that all young people need. It benefits society as a whole as well as the individual and we hope that by supporting this program initially, the value will be recognized to all of society. We believe that programs such as this should become a sustainable and integral part of youth education into the future, supported by a wide range of bodies in civil society, not just the private sector.”

For more information, please contact Hansin Dogan.