Sarvodaya-Fusion and HSBC collaborate to educate Sri Lankan women on Personal Financial Literacy

In a concerted attempt to empower Sri Lankan women Sarvodaya-Fusion in partnership with HSBC has launched Personal Financial Literacy Education Program for women starting June 2021.

“In its essence, financial literacy can be defined as the understanding of how money works and this includes generating, investing, spending, and saving money in ways that ensure a person’s financial stability – an essential life-skill that becomes even more significant in challenging times. This knowledge is the basic building block that enables women to become more independent, and lead more fulfilling, secure lives,” said Stuart Rogers, Interim CEO and Head of Wholesale Banking HSBC Sri Lanka and Maldives.

The ongoing crisis in the country, due to the pandemic has affected both working and non-working women. They are currently forced to manage in an extremely challenging environment with wage gaps and gender inequality. Through this programme, non-working women will be educated and made aware of how to manage their household expenses and look for more avenues to earn an extra income apart from the main income received by their spouse. Similarly, working women will learn how to make their way up the financial ladder, with smart investments and savings. Individuals can visit the Sarvodaya-Fusion Facebook Page for more information on registrations.

“We are excited to partner with a leading global financial entity such as HSBC to educate and enable women of Sri Lanka to take stronger control of their finances. We are convinced that these two key segments of the population should have access to not only financial services, but to recognize themselves as economic agents that can make a change in their families and society through their everyday choices,” said Rohan Pandithakorralage, Chairman, Board of Advisors, Sarvodaya-Fusion.

The engaging Zoom based webinars of one and half hours each cover the main aspects of wise spending, managing debts, earning an extra income, saving as a habit, and making smart investments. The sessions are delivered by utilizing appealing elements such as webinar polls, icebreakers, chats, Q & A sessions and online feedback gathering surveys to ensure maximum engagement and interaction.

“We have seen how financial health has significant ramifications in society, particularly during the pandemic. It’s important for us that we provide women across Sri Lanka with access to the right skills, attitude and tools required to manage their finances and make the most of their money. These carefully crafted webinars dispense the practical knowledge needed by women to manage their money with confidence and, grow their economies,” Rogers continued to state.

Sri Lanka’s adult literacy was 92% in 2018, but the country’s financial literacy rate measures at just 35%. Although this is still the highest out of South Asia, the high print literacy rates do not necessarily correlate to financial savviness. Still, the ability to read and write does provide the basis on which one can build, access and use financial services.

Therefore, it is critical to encourage both working women and non-working women to have a stronger grasp of their finances to benefit themselves, their families and society at large, as well as contribute towards reviving the country’s economy, even at an individual level.  Additionally, basic financial literacy among households can also lead to healthier family welfare. Consequently, improving financial literacy and financial capability among all community segments irrespective of age, sectors, and gender would lead to higher levels of economic wellbeing of the individual, their family and the country at large.

With this ethos, the Personal Financial Literacy initiative was launched by Sarvodaya-Fusion as a corporate social responsibility (CSR) project under HSBC’s Future Skills charity program. Over the past few years, the programme has targeted low-wage workers, undergraduates and entrepreneurs. The initiative aims to provide different sectors in the community with the necessary awareness on handling their finances, ranging from personal financial management to managing business finance.