The National Bank of Georgia (NBG) hosted Child and Youth- friendly Product Development Workshop in Tbilisi on 13 and 14 of July 2017. The workshop was facilitated by experts from Child & Youth Finance International (CYFI), and was part of the broader NBG-CYFI cooperation on promotion of financial education and savings culture for children and youth in Georgia.
Governor of the National Bank of Georgia Koba Gvenetadze opened the workshop and encouraged commercial banks to invest in developing financial capabilities of children and youth. During the workshop participants from 7 commercial banks in Georgia discussed the importance of the youth financial literacy and financial inclusion, product design, needs and wants of the young generation, as well as the business case for developing child and youth-friendly banking products. CYFI experts shared international experience and best practices in the field, while NBG specialists discussed the regulatory framework, consumer protection principles and NBG's planned activities in the direction of financial education for children and youth. CYFI partner, Savings Banks Foundation for International Cooperation (SBFIC) also shared with the participants the German experience in developing financial products for children and youth. The workshop was also attended by the representatives from the Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia, who stressed the importance of financial education at schools and perspectives on integration of financial education into the school curriculum, and discussed the Ministry's cooperation framework with NBG.
Children and youth are one of the main priority target groups within the frames of the National Strategy for Financial Education that Georgia adopted in 2016. As part of these efforts, NBG and CYFI have been working on implementing the SchoolBank project in Georgia since 2015. The project aims to provide school children with financial education classes, as well as the real opportunity to practice savings and easy transactions by providing them with safe banking products, such as depositing small savings on the bank account or paying for lunches with a debit card.
"In today's world, the young generations have to make important financial decisions at increasingly earlier stages of their lives. For this purpose, children and youth not only need theoretical financial knowledge, but also the ability to apply financial literacy to practical situations. Thus, it is crucial for the young generation to have access to appropriate financial products and services, in order to develop healthy financial attitudes, save money, set financial goals, and expand their opportunities. In this process, it is imperative to protect children's rights and interests. In a long-term perspective, these initiatives will help the youth become economically active and financially responsible citizens, reinforcing their financial well-being" - stated Koba Gvenetadze, Governor of the National Bank of Georgia during the opening ceremony of the event.
July 12th marked another milestone in the advancement of the SchoolBank project in Georgia. National Bank of Georgia and National Youth and Children Palace of Georgia (NYCP) signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on implementation of 15-hour SchoolBank educational programme as an extra-curriculum class for secondary school students in Tbilisi, that was developed by CYFI and Aflatoun, and further adapted by NBG in 2016. CYFI supported NYCP with its financial education programme since 2015, and supported teacher trainings of NBG, NYCP and Ministry of Education staff. NBG and CYFI signed an MoU covering these areas of cooperation earlier this year.