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Volume 7 Number 9, November 25, 2013
November is financial literacy month in Canada.

November is not just for growing mustaches, it's also the month we celebrate financial literacy in Canada and this is not exclusive of sex, race or age.  The phrase "financial literacy" may send some running for cover, hands over their ears.  What does it mean and why does it sound so scary?  It really is simple.  It's about being smarter, financially, to make informed and effective decisions with your money.  So not scary at all.  In this Dispatch we profile some Canadian and overseas credit unions that are using innovative ways to provide members with more than just financial services.

Also this month we feature the Co-operative Development Foundation's (CDF) online auction, a very interesting evaluation summary on the impact co-ops have on development and a link to CCA's Huffington Post blog.  Happy Financial Literacy Month.

How do you create financially smart teens?
Affinity Credit Union realized text books were not the answer so created Mo'doh Island.  An interactive online platform that provides teens with an entertaining channel to financial education. Take a look here at Mo'doh Island.
Affinity also has an online program to teach the 6-10 crowd, called KOSMIKS™.  Teaching the basics of financial literacy through interactive games and challenges and basic concepts such as saving, spending, and being responsible with money. Check it out here, KOSMIKS.  
Click on the image to visit Mo'doh Island.
What about people who face barriers?
While it is great to have access to financial information, the ability to actually understand this information may be another matter.  With this in mind Vancity launched their "Each One, Teach one" program and workshops. The workshops focus on providing financial information and advice to those who may face barriers such as newcomers, refugees, and people living in low-income communities.  Since 2008, more than 100 Vancity employees, with almost thirty language competencies, have taught thousands of individuals through this program.  For more information visit their website here.
The community that saves together
So, you think you have no money left at the end of the week to save?  Communities in Malawi are overcoming this issue by organizing Group Savings and Loan Association (GSLA) meetings where community members come together to learn the basics of financial literacy, and how to save money. These groups are organized by the SACCO's (Savings and Credit Co-operatives) with the goal of linking the groups to the SACCO and eventually having all members become individual SACCO members.  The GSLA's are trained by SACCOs and members are encouraged to save a set amount of money every week.  The amounts are small, but eventually the group members are able to use the pool of money to offer loans and support to each other.  Given the encouragement of a community and the tools and knowledge to be financially smarter, these community GSL's in Malawi are proving that even the smallest amount can make a big difference.
A group meeting in Malawi
A group meeting in Malawi

For more information on CCA's international development programs visit our website www.coopscanada.coop/id or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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This publication is undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada provided through
Foreign Affairs, Trade and  Development Canada.