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Children and money management

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Image: School Children

May.03, 2013


With the notion that it is never too soon for children to learn about the value of money and ways to save, Ajapa Club, a drama club focused on the cultural development of children, recently launched the Ajapa Financial Club, a body that seeks to instil the tenets of financial discipline in school children.

Explaining the rationale behind the programme, Chairman of Ajapa Cultural World, Akin Braithwaite, states that the best way to comuincate  messages to children is usually through a platform they can relate with easily.

Hear him, “It is all about trying to get children to be included in the financial literacy world. We believe that children need to learn early about money, how they use money, what money does and how to be responsible with money. The best way, we figure is to leverage on this platform, using the character of Ajapa”

Continuing, he further explains that the initiative was informed by its partners, Credit Awareness, an organisation that largely supports initiatives around financial institutions. Braithwaite reveals that they have been doing it largely in the adult space. “We got talking some months back about the need to really bring this message down to the children. We are essentially trying to catch them young. Since we already run an Ajapa programme, we decided that the best way to carry it across was to do it on the platform of using a play and delivering the message to children and their parents,” he states.

Amplified with a drama presentation on, Why the Tortoise Has a Shell, the event featured music and dance. Ajapa, the folklore tortoise, bothered by the constant lack of food in the community, placed before the snail, a scenario where they have to scrounge the earth to eat or pay for the comfort of existence. He suggests partnership between them, an idea which snail buys into but with a measure of misgivings.

In its usual interactive manner, the drama teaches commerce with business terms like capital, profit, percentage and banking, all interwoven into the play.

Both the tortoise and snail went into business and become very rich. They decided to engage the services of rats to help with the business. In the course of time, they noticed while their fortunes were dwindling, the rats were getting fresher. They decided to set traps and caught the rats red-handed.

Ajapa, the wise one then comes up with a suggestion as to how to store their money in shells and taking them wherever they go. To save their money and secure their possessions, both the tortoise and the snail got fitted with shells, explaining the mystery of how the tortoise and snail came about their shells.

As financial literacy gets increasingly important, not just for investors, it becomes essential for the average family trying to make ends meet. Of course people have always been responsible for managing their own finances on a day to day basis, but recent developments have made financial education and awareness increasingly important for financial health of a family.

With this in mind, the Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Finance, Mrs. Josephine Williams, who represented the State Governor at the event, states that financial knowledge is essential to everything in life.

Making reference to the story of Ajapa, the tortoise and the snail, she explains the message inherent in the drama to the kids. “We must learn how to save and we must be wise, but we must not cheat. That is what we want you to carry home,” she tells the kids.

Financial literacy in Nigeria, according to Ladi Smith, Executive Director of Credit Awareness, is very poor. He says, “It is therefore imperative we begin to teach our children from an early age about money and its proper handling. We at Credit Awareness are on a financial literacy drive for Nigeria where we are teaching the adult population on literacy issues because literacy is an empowerment and we need to teach people how to use money. We have our slogan; Safe Saving and Responsible Borrowing. If Nigerians can save wisely and borrow responsibly, we will have an empowered nation but unfortunately, that has not been the case.”

For emerging economies, financially educated consumers can help ensure that the financial sector makes an effective contribution to real economic growth and poverty reduction. But financial literacy is also crucial for more developed economies, to help ensure consumers save enough to provide an adequate income in retirement while avoiding high levels of debt that might result in bankruptcy and foreclosures.

“Now we have discovered that the whole world is talking of starting from the child and youth so that before they get it wrong, we teach them what is right. That is why we are here today, we are trying to teach our children how to begin when they are young, how to understand the value of money, how to be entrepreneurial in their approach, how to save, how to understand that money has value and how it can do things for them, even at a very young age. That is the objective we are trying to reach,” Smith adds.

At the end of the programme, schools present were given an Ajapa kit which a Tortoise bank, reward journals and other Ajapa paraphernalia.

From the stable of Parable Productions, Ajapa World is a series poised towards not only sustaining the ancient art of delivering morals through culture, but also giving it a modern flavour. Over the years, it has been going to different schools, staging dramas through the programme; School Storm.

Ajapa, is also involved in reading books to children as well as a TV programme.


Article Credit: Daily Independent Newspaper

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