Junior Achievement (JA) Zambia and Prudential Life Assurance Zambia were jointly recognized under the Exceptional Education Program category at the 2018 Financial Literacy Awards at the Governors Awards held at Radisson Blu on July 18, 2018. The Zambian Governor, Dr. Denny Kalyalya, and other distinguished members of society were in attendance.
The Exceptional Educational Program Award is given to any financial or non financial institution that introduced a financial literacy programme at a primary, secondary , community or tertiary school between April 2017 and April 2018.
Prudential Life Assurance Zambia and JA Zambia partnered in 2017 to implement the Cha Ching program in five Lusaka-based primary schools. The Cha-Ching program encompasses an economics curriculum for students in primary school aged seven to twelve. The program provides a strong focus on finance, mathematics, planning and analytical skills. Students are encouraged to use critical thinking to make decisions on how they manage their money applying the four concepts: Earn, Save, Spend and Donate in their daily lives which support positive attitudes as they explore and enhance their money-management skills.
Prudential and JA Zambia have successfully implemented the program in the selected schools involving over 416 pupils. In addition, over 50 Prudential Life Assurance staff have been instrumental in facilitating the six Cha Ching program sessions in the primary schools. The schools include 1. Thorn Park Primary School 2. Lake Road PTA Primary School 3. Lusaka Girls Primary School 4. Kalingalinga Primary School and 5. Chilenje South Primary School.
The need for personal financial literacy has gained a surging popularity following the recent financial crises. The increasing complexity of financial markets (Miller et al., 2009; Nalini, 2011; Lusardi and Mitchell, 2013), increasing cost of living (McCarthy, 2011) and the shift of retirement responsibility from government to individuals, which all demand personal financial management capability, are among the frequently cited reasons underpinning financial literacy enhancement initiatives in developed countries (Matewos Kebede Refera*, Navkiranjit Kaur Dhaliwal and Jasmindeep Kaur, 2016, Journal of African Studies and Development).
Africa is not excluded from these trends, which underscores the need for financial education. In Zambia, up to 59% of the adult population is financially included (FinScope Report, 2015). However only 40% of the same adult population are financially literate (S&P Global FinLit Survey, 2015). This means while people have awareness, access to and use financial services, there is not a matching increase in the skills and knowledge required to make informed and effective financial decisions and ultimately achieve individual financial wellbeing.
There exists a vast opportunity, through in-school financial education programs such as Cha Ching to educate youth with the knowledge and provide them the skills they need to make better financial decisions as adults. Such programs allow the opportunity for a wide range of young people to be reached, including those who have had fewer opportunities than others to learn about the financial world outside of school.