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Non-Formal Education: Trust Banks, Budgets, and Food

A special thanks to our Cada Mes Club – Friendship Bridge’s monthly donors – for supporting our clients on their monthly journeys.

Each month the members of every Trust Bank travel, most likely by foot, to their designated meeting places to make payments on their loans and receive a Non-Formal Education lesson in their native languages on one of the four pillars – women, family, business, and health.

July – Building a Strong Trust Bank

Each Trust Bank is comprised of women, voluntarily organized, who support each other in the receiving and paying of loans to be invested in each woman’s own business enterprise. A strong Trust Bank requires that all members understand and maintain their responsibilities to one another. In July, after the women were reminded of these responsibilities, they were asked to compare the health of a Trust Bank to the health of a tree…. which parts are the trunk, the roots, the fruit? How could they make each part stronger? The discussion was followed by a reminder of the duties of the Trust Bank’s Board of Directors.

August – Creating a Working Budget

In August, the women learned how to create a budget for the second time this year. This lesson was originally delivered in January. However, a survey revealed that budget creation was the one lesson that clients struggled to remember. It was taught again to reinforce the topic and highlighted the importance of measuring information retention of our clients.

September – Understanding the Food We Eat

Food security, or permanent access to nutritious food, is a luxury for the poor. September’s lesson sought to teach the appropriate food to prioritize when money is scarce and how much each of those items costs. The women warmed up by playing a musical chairs type of game called Fruit Basket. Next they were shown a chart covering the nutritional benefits and risks of eating different foods: meat, fish, soft drinks, fruits/vegetables, sausages, junk food, and salt. The meeting closed with each woman compiling pictures of a typical day’s menu and then identifying the cost associated with each menu item. By doing so, the women saw what they spend on food in a day and how they might make economical and nutritious substitutions.

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