The USAID/World Council of Credit Unions’ (WOCCU) Economic Inclusion Project (EIP) in April joined Transactional Network of Credit Unions (Coonecta) and the Ecuadorian Integration Network of Credit Unions (ICORED) to launch the Financial Education Network in Ecuador—a new program designed to coordinate efforts between the three entities to more effectively promote financial education and inclusion, as well as economic growth.
The Financial Education Network intends to focus on the:
As one of its first orders of business, the Network provided “Yo Decido” to five credit unions. While the tool was created by EIP, it became sustainable thanks to the management of Coonecta and ICORED. The Financial Education Network will grant access to “Yo Decido” to all credit unions that join this initiative moving forward as well, allowing them to train their members and clients in financial education for free.
“Financial inclusion is a great opportunity where we all win; migrants and refugees win, the financial entities win, but, above all, the country wins: because migrants with livelihoods, financial education and services, will contribute to their host countries. That’s why, up to now, more than 15,000 Venezuelans, Ecuadorians and Peruvians have been trained in financial education by EIP, with its partners and allies. Through the Network, we will make these processes sustainable and amplify their impact,” said Oscar Guzman, Chief of Party for the Economic Inclusion Project, at the April 20 launch event for the Financial Education Network.
Several people who have benefited from Yo Decido also shared their stories at the launch event, highlighting the lessons learned from the program, specifically through the use of WOCCU’s savings methodology.
The Financial Education Network is also pioneering other initiatives for the incorporation and cross-sharing of a gender focus in financial education and inclusion, which is crucial to move toward a more fair and equal society.
“This commitment to women’s financial inclusion is shared and we are willing to help to strengthen it,” said Margarita Hernández, Superintendent of Ecuador’s Superintendency of Popular and Solidarity Economy.
To conclude the event, three credit unions were awarded prizes for providing financial education to the most young people during Global Money Week 2023. CACPE Gualaquiza, Andina Ltda and Cooperativa de Ahorro y Crédito Antorcha took home the honors. In total, 15 financial institutions educated 15,086 girls, boys and teenagers from 89 schools during Global Money Week.
This is another way in which USAID, WOCCU, Coonecta and ICORED have reinforced their commitment to cooperation in order to boost financial inclusion through efficient, innovative and inclusive services that support the growth of the financial sector in Ecuador.