Text read by Mary Peters

Steven Revelian, CEO of the Karudeca NGO spoke with Frank Peters.

Many people know that October 31, is World Savings Day. It was started almost 100 years ago during the 1st. International Savings Bank Congress in Milan. The purpose was, and still is, to inform that saving money, and in banks, might be a better alternative than hiding it under the mattress.

A lot has happened since 1924: hyperinflation in Germany, the Great Depression of 1929 / 1930, many wars both hot and cold, credit cards, easy loans, a financial crisis in 2008 and now, a pandemic with far-reaching economic consequences. One could be forgiven that perhaps banks and banking are viewed a little critically. But it is not the concept of a bank that is problematic, it is the people who misuse this concept who are at fault. So, it is refreshing that with all the negativity around us, we can learn how should be done. The human side of financial management.

Steven Revelian, CEO of the Karudeca NGO in Tanzania, and I had a refreshing conversation earlier this week. As Steven said, “We are not really a poor country, it’s just learning to manage the resources.” Managing requires education. Education starts at home and continues in schools and learning never stops. Here is what Steven’s NGO did in 2017.

A proper project management structure was set up. There were three goals: increasing financial knowledge, promoting financial inclusion and strengthening partner institutions. In the first phase of the project, during mid-September, ideas were gathered, budgets and partnerships organized, and an action plan written.

Four weeks later, in the second half of October, the plan was rolled out, raising public awareness, and increasing knowledge about how money works and creating a so-called “peak event”.

Finally, two weeks after that, the project was evaluated, and a final report was written to close the project.

An NGO needs support. It came from Germany, in the form of the “Sparkassenstiftung für Internationale Kooperation” and the “TBP Bank”, Tanzania’s Postal Bank. Together they visited 11 schools to inform children, teachers, and parents on the importance of saving. They went to the local community radio station in Karagwe.

The highlight was the “peak event” at the Kayanga Football Ground. A large event was staged, the children performing, a local well-known musician came.

The event was a success. The “international” project team consisted of 12 people. These twelve people reached out to 11 schools. Thirty-three teachers participated and around 1000 people attended the event. Some 60 students used their creativity to inform about saving. Some 1100 exercise books, 1000 pencils, 400 notebooks were distributed along with 400 T-Shirts and 50 Polo shirts and 155 people opened bank accounts.

All that will have been used now, but something remains. It created the foundation on which to build. Continue increasing public awareness, more media coverage, perhaps founding a Financial Education Academy. And the optimism, that with managing financial resources responsibly, poverty will eventually be overcome.

Observing and pragmatic planning, on a local scale, can produce far-reaching results. In Tanzania, in Europe after a pandemic, anywhere anytime.

There are many projects that Steven is involved in. No doubt, our conversations will continue.

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