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PINOY WISE Financial Literacy for OFWs launched in Abu Dhabi
When: February 4 and 5, 2011
Where: Philippine Embassy in Abu Dhabi

The financial literacy campaign named PINOY WISE (Worldwide Initiative for Savings Investment and Entrepreneurship) was launched last February 4 and 5, 2011 at the Philippine Embassy in Abu Dhabi. PINOY WISE is a campaign initiated by a network of NGOs, cooperatives, microfinance institutions in partnership with government and private sector to encourage the OFWs and their families to save and invest their hard earned money. One of the organizers of the financial literacy campaign, Mai Dizon-Anonuevo, executive director of Atikha shared “We coined the word PINOY WISE to remind OFWs the need to be Wise in managing their funds and also to be Wise in caring for their families. We have seen in our work with OFWs and their families that despite their high income, 70% are not able to save and achieve their long-term goals for migration. This is the reason why they are unable to return and reintegrate and be with their family for good.

The highlight of the PINOYWISE launch in Abu Dhabi was the conduct of a training of trainers on financial literacy and addressing barriers to reintegration provided to selected leaders of the Filipino community in the UAE. Representatives from Atikha Overseas Workers and Communities Initiatives, Soro-soro Ibaba Development Cooperative (SIDC), Cavite Farmers and Feed milling and Marketing Cooperative (CAFFMACO) and Lifegiver Multi-purpose Cooperative together with the Philippine Consortium on Migration and Development (Philcomdev) showcased the various savings and investment products and programs and services that were developed for migrants and the families left behind.

The Philippine Consortium and Development (Philcomdev) and Atikha shared the Ekolife Homestay Ecotour program as one concrete example in mobilizing investment and philanthropy towards local economic development. They showed the various provinces where migrant families are already operating home stay accommodation. They exhibited products of these communities and photos of ongoing initiatives in the Philippines addressing the social cost of migration.

As a result of the roadshow, Bayanihan UAE, the umbrella organization of Filipino associations in the UAE, will conduct regular financial literacy seminars among the Filipino migrant leaders of UAE. The latter are expected to in turn echo this to their specific organizations. The financial literacy seminars discuss basic concepts on savings, investing and borrowing and the various investment instruments that Filipinos especially those preparing to return and reintegrate could avail of. The financial literacy seminars surface various family issues that hinder migrants and their families from achieving their goals and provide strategies for coping with these issues and concerns.

Around 700,000 Filipino migrants work in the UAE. About 60% of them are professional and skilled workers, while the rest are service workers in the different industries and domestic workers. Embassy officials revealed that despite the relatively good wages that the Filipino professionals and skilled workers receive, many are deeply in debt. One embassy official revealed that at one time, eight out of ten they handled had to do with indebtedness and that not a few Filipinos have been jailed for this. Many Filipino migrants are tempted to take out up to five credit cards to sustain their consumerist lifestyle in the UAE and the demands of their families back home. They are also not aware that the attractive interest rates displayed by financial institutions are different from the effective interest rates applied on their loans. It is hoped that the awareness they gain from the seminars will result into a change in their behaviour, such as in staying away from the temptation of buying signature items, channelling this instead into savings.

The Pinoy Wise Campaign launch in Abu Dhabi was made possible through the sponsorship of Philippine Embassy UAE in cooperation with Atikha, Planet Finance and INAFI Philippines, Bayanihan-UAE, PhilEx Foundation, Etihad Airways, SIDC, CAFFMACO, Lifegiver Multi-purpose Cooperative, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and Philippine Consortium on Migration and Development.

Cherry Girado of Atikha posing in the Atikha-Philcomdev exhibit. Cherry was the main facilitator of the Financial Literacy Training of Trainers conducted in the Philippine embassy in Abu Dhabi, UAE, Feb. 4-5 2011.

Cherry Girado of Atikha posing in the Atikha-Philcomdev exhibit. Cherry was the main facilitator of the Financial Literacy Training of Trainers conducted in the Philippine embassy in Abu Dhabi, UAE, Feb. 4-5 2011.

The Atikha-Philcomdev booth displayed native clothes, crafts and products.

The Atikha-Philcomdev booth displayed native clothes, crafts and products.

Group sharing on issues and challenges faced by migrants and their families during the second day of the Financial Literacy Training of Trainers, Philippine embassy in Abu Dhabi, UAE, Feb. 5, 2011.

Group sharing on issues and challenges faced by migrants and their families during the second day of the Financial Literacy Training of Trainers, Philippine embassy in Abu Dhabi, UAE, Feb. 5, 2011.

PINOYWISE Campaign team posing with the Philippine embassy officials in Abu Dhabi. Ambassador Grace Princesa, Philippine ambassador to the UAE, who had initiated the launching of PINOYWISE in Abu Dhabi, was unable to join the activities due to urgent concerns in the Philippines.

PINOYWISE Campaign team posing with the Philippine embassy officials in Abu Dhabi. Ambassador Grace Princesa, Philippine ambassador to the UAE, who had initiated the launching of PINOYWISE in Abu Dhabi, was unable to join the activities due to urgent concerns in the Philippines.

  • Hope more Filipinos will learn how to manage and grow their savings thru investments so they will be able to build up passive income for their future financial security. At the same time it will be good for the Philippine economy if more Filipinos become investors in their own country and thereby help create jobs. Go Philippines! We can do it!

  • i’ve always been an employee most of my life, i’m hopeful this will work out for me, that it’ll turn me around into an entrepreneur or investor if i can understand the concepts and take the correct practical steps in that direction. i’m interested in the financial literacy seminars if it can be conducted in dubai at the consulate or polo owwa location. God bless

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