Boosting Youth Financial Literacy in Manila

Clarisse Joy “Clary” Mañabat is a Manila, Philippines-based +SocialGood Connector and founder and storyteller at Conversations to the World, an initiative to spread positive stories. Her SDG initiatives have reached over 500,000 youth in her country. Learn more about Clarisse’s work as part of our SDGs on the Ground series.

Today, more and more Filipino youth are interested in learning more about finance, investment, and entrepreneurship. I was recently involved in organizing a five-module series about the basics of finance, “ Young Entrepreneurs Engaged Towards Finance Wisdom and Planning.” During the virtual event, which took place in May, participants learned the basics of finance, including how to establish financial goals based on the SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-related) approach, how to start their financial journey, and were able to connect with other youth leaders and young professionals around financial literacy. Each module builds on the next and will provides participants with a broad perspective about finance and how it connects to the SDGs. Our first module, “The Last Sandwich Generation,” welcomed more than 300 registered participants!.

My organization, Samahan ng Kabataang Boluntaryo ng Pilipinas (or the Filipino Youth Volunteer Association), planned the event to help raise awareness and create solutions for SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth. The event also touched on SDG 4: Quality Education and SDG 17:Partnerships for the Goals. The Philippines’ National Youth Commission also accredited our event.

We measured participants’ self-reported financial literacy levels before and after attending the event, using the following responses: 5 for excellent, 4 for very good, 3 for satisfactory, 2 for fair, and 1 for poor. The number of participants who reported their financial literacy and planning as “excellent” increased from 40.8% before the event to 68.4% after the event.

We also asked which areas of financial literacy they’re already familiar with, and the areas that they could use more training in. The majority of our participants or 66.1% are already familiar with finance to some extent, while more than half of the participants, or 54% are not familiar with entrepreneurship.

Given the results of the data, we hope to cover entrepreneurship in our next modules, and hope to help young Filipinos become young entrepreneurs themselves. More youth and young professionals are eager to learn more about how to start their own businesses and provide employment opportunities for their communities. The pandemic sparked many people’s interest in entrepreneurship, with many students, stay-at-home parents, and others launching products or selling services through small businesses and online. According to the Department of Trade and Industry, business registrations increased to 900,000 as of December 2020.

Following the popularity of our financial literacy events and participant feedback, we hope to organize in-person events in the future once the virus has been contained. Slow and unsteady internet connection is still a hindrance for everyone and also a challenge that I encountered during my journey to advance SDG 8 in my community. One bright side of having a virtual event, however, was engaging more Filipino youth and young professionals, and bringing SDG 8 across the country.

We believe that financial literacy awareness should cater to younger generations, just like we did, in order to help them manage their finances easily, make them aware of the impact

of each economic decision, and to join together to create community-based solutions that target the objectives and goals of SDG 8. Including younger generations will give us fresh and innovative ideas and create community-based and high-level solutions that will accelerate SDG 8.

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