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Training of Trainers on Financial Literacy
Rebuild Resources Back for Family, Community and Country
When: August 3 - 7, 2009
Where: Rome, Italy

August 3, Rome, Italy-A five-day training course begins today among 20 leaders of Filipino diaspora and migrant communities from Rome, Milan, Turin and Napoli to address the need to improve the level of financial literacy among Overseas Filipinos and OFW’s. The participants take advantage of their week-long vacation, coinciding with their employers’ family holidays to acquire learning as trainors and counselors on wise spending, savings and investments.

Financial Literacy Training

The International Organization for Migration or IOM, in cooperation with the Department of Labor & Employment (DOLE) through its National Reintegration Center for OFW’s (NRCO) and ATIKHA, a development-oriented Philippine NGO, supports the event under a European Commission/AENEAS-funded project, Improving Knowledge of Remittance Corridors and Enhancing Development through Inter-Regional Dialogue and Pilot Projects in Southeast Asia and Europe. IOM National Officer, Ricardo R. Casco joins Teresita Manzala, OWWA Deputy Administrator and Executive Director of the DOLE-NRCO and Mai Estrella Anonuevo, Executive Director of ATIKHA to conduct the training at the Casa Internazionale delle Donne.

“The IOM program intervention on financial literacy comes at the most opportune time when Philippine government through DOLE and Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has initiated a joint programme of advocacy and awareness building on the development potential of remittances. This is a concrete way of building an emphasis on the framework of migration and development in managing the great potentials and opportunities in economically-driven migration”, Casco said.

Earlier in May this year, the IOM Missions in Manila and Rome held a high level Inter-Regional Dialogue on Harnessing the Development Potentials of Remittances in the ancient city, participated by the EC, government ministries, the banking sector, leaders of the Filipino communities in Italy and civil society. Said conference paved the way for pilot-project undertakings in pursuit of the development potentials of migrants earnings.

IOM clarifies that migrant workers and their families maintain their inherent right over the use of their earnings but they deserve knowledge on the various options by which these earnings can optimize their impact beyond the well-being of families and households. Already, it is established that remittances of OFW’s had driven much impact on consumption as well as investments in the housing sector, education and health. There are still many opportunities that can be availed of in micro and social enterprises, SME’s, social insurance and capital markets.

There are also experiential accounts of various situations when Filipinos abroad or their dependents spend indiscriminately, drawing many years of overseas employment without consequent build-up of savings, property acquisitions and investments. Over dependence on remittances which lead to disinterest of beneficiaries to work or cultivate a livelihood or small business also keeps a vicious cycle of indefinite work abroad among migrants.

“The psycho-social preparedness among overseas Filipinos and their households in addressing a sense of targeted savings and investment over a period of time must be addressed. This is an important step for a productive, socio-economic reintegration of Filipino migrants”, according to Deputy Administrator Manzala.

The IOM finds the partnership of the Philippine government with a locally-based NGO, ATIKHA, as a strategic example of bringing down specific interventions to targeted communities. This is strengthened by the cooperation engaged from local government as experienced with the town of Mabini, Batangas which is a major source community of Filipino migrants in Italy. The efforts of the Philippine government and their NGO partners in such towns must be paralleled by outreach programs for the overseas Filipinos working abroad.

The financial literacy program waves the slogan “Magbalik Yaman sa Pamilya’t Bayan” (Rebuild Resources back for Family, Community and Country). The cause ushers what may be a medium-term programme which will be lead jointly by government and their NGO partners in enhancing the value-system for wise spending, savings and investment.

“I believe it is good to see a values-oriented approach to this development endeavor. This will facilitate mainstreaming the activities with eventually, a larger circle of players. It is more likely to be sustainable and the target beneficiaries can become more deeply inspired”, Casco said.

The training which will be introduced with an inspiring message from the Philippine Ambassador to Rome, H. E. Philippe J. Lhuiller, will employ various tools developed jointly by ATIKHA, NRCO, BSP and the IOM. A training manual on financial planning and reintegration will guide the conduct of the training of trainors. According to Mai Anonuevo of ATIKHA, “training of trainors is an essential step to the big mission of spreading knowledge and raising the level of financial literacy among overseas migrants all over. There is a need for greater partnership, an active movement for the cause”.

Overseas Filipinos are spread over nearly 200 countries and destinations in thousands of occupations and work settings. Some 8.7 million Filipinos or nearly 10% of the population spend the prime years of their productive life in foreign countries. Some 3,600 OFW’s processed by the POEA leave each day. The remittances they bring back to the country constitute between 8-10% of gross domestic product in the recent years and surpass official development assistance by more than a 100%.

  • Nice! Hope more Filipinos will learn about Financial Literacy and Money Management so they will be better equipped to support and contribute to the growth of our Philippine economy. Go Pilipinas!

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