Citi LIFT focuses on strengthening the existing financial literacy coalition, from the private sector, government, and academia, to engage key stakeholders, and promote important policy changes. During 2016, the project partnered with the Ministry of Labour’s Department of Skills Development (DSD) and Federation of Thailand Automobile Workers Union (TAW) to conduct pilot trainings for 100 laborers on essential financial literacy skills. Three months after the training, 71% of laborers were budgeting and 65% of respondents were saving regularly, the latter representing a 10% improvement.
Throughout 2016, the projected led policy roundtable meetings with Thailand’s main financial regulators, the Bank of Thailand and the Ministry of Finance, to present project progress and promote government engagement. Through these discussions, the project team worked with government partners to develop a strategic financial literacy development plan and advocated for policy changes and for more resources to be allocated to financial literacy training as a means to alleviate financial problems among vulnerable groups. Based on discussions with government and the project’s financial literacy study, LIFT designed a financial capacity building curriculum to help factory workers manage their earnings, budget, and set long-term financial plans.
As part of this process, a new mobile application ‘Smart Workers Smart Money’ was developed to promote financial literacy, targeting a vulnerable group of semi-skilled factory workers. The free application (available on both Android and iPhone) provides practical financial knowledge tailored specifically to the factory workers’ lifestyle. The app contains both knowledge building and practical components, gamifying financial goal setting, saving, spending, and debt management by introducing real-life scenarios, such as playing the lottery, picking an insurance plan, and paying for unexpected medical expenses.
Kenan also mobilized its network of key stakeholders to push financial literacy up the national agenda through a range of stakeholder engagement activities to raise awareness with the public and key government decision makers about the importance of financial literacy education and to effect change at the national policy level. Furthermore, the LIFT curriculum has been accepted by the Ministry of Labour and will be embedded into the Ministry of Labour’s standard training course, meaning that it will be taught alongside safety and health issues with an incentivized tax deduction scheme for participating employers. Moreover, ‘Smart Workers Smart Money’ will be promoted and incorporated into the Department of Skill Development’s activities and rolled out nationwide.