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  • Nerida K

Financial Literacy for Women and Families

From our new Financial Literacy for Women program to winning an award for First Steps in Financial Literacy, we’re excited to have expanded the reach of our financial literacy programs across Calgary this year with all our amazing program partners.

Financial literacy empowers people to make informed decisions about their finances. It is crucial to the realization of many of our long-term goals and contributes to overall well-being and stability. We also know that for some groups of learners, like women, there are gaps in financial literacy and confidence that need to be addressed to achieve economic empowerment.

This year, we developed and delivered a new Financial Literacy for Women program. The program consists of 10-sessions covering topics including: financial challenges facing women today and what financial independence looks like, budgeting, debt, credit and credit ratings, mortgages, planning for kids and teaching our kids good financial habits.

We launched an online program in partnership with Calgary Pregnancy Care Centre in April and Nisa Homes in May, collecting feedback from participants, facilitators, and partner agency staff to modify the curriculum to better fit our learners’ needs. Since then, we have partnered to start delivering the program in-person with Alcove Addiction Recovery for Women and Calgary Young Offenders Centre.

Here's what Del, our amazing facilitator had to say about delivering the program this year:

"The participants were initially immigrant women who fled domestic violence but didn’t understand really how money and finance worked here in Canada. The other group at the Remand are women with addictions, who need to get their lives back on track and learning to manage their money effectively is a huge part of that.

This program is so vital as many women either haven’t been brought up to look after money properly, or culturally it isn’t done that women are financially aware. It is also a program that anyone could take and learn something from and would particularly well with grade 12 students or even those in the first couple of years at university.

The program was run in the full 10 weeks format for the women’s shelter, but for the Calgary Women’s Remand we selected topics that the participants would find most beneficial immediately upon release. The sessions we ran for the Remand were financial challenges, Budgeting, Banking, Debt, Credit etc. and savings and investments.

One thing I have learned from putting this program together then facilitating it is that everybody has completely different needs. Also, you need to meet the participants where they are and understand their predicaments so you can help them as much as possible. I also learned a lot of new knowledge when putting it together and have now looked at things differently.

There were many breakthrough moments with this program at both locations. One lady at the shelter stated she now had the knowledge to build her credit rating independently and also would be changing her habits to teach her kids how to handle money more effectively. With the remand ladies it is slightly more difficult, but the breakthrough for me was them being so grateful that we thought they were worth working with and teaching this to."

HSBC Family Literacy First Fund Award for First Steps in Literacy

This year, we were also honoured to be one of the 2023 winners of the HSBC Family Literacy First Fund. We received the award for our First Steps in Financial Literacy program which is aimed at enhancing parents’ confidence in basic money management for themselves and their families, with a focus on at-risk, low-literate, multi-barrier adult learners.

One of the specific aspects of the program highlighted in the award is the non-formal, experiential, and interactive approach the program takes and the Family Learning Kits the program provides. Family Learning Kits are given to participants containing educational material, games, and activities to foster financial literacy and numeracy skills within families.

It's been an amazing year, and we can’t forget all our Calgary Programs partners who have helped to deliver these programs to learners across Calgary. Thank you!



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