For a healthy financial future

15 Dec 2009

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There are 35 million young people under the age of 28 in Turkey today. Taking employment and income figures into account, the youth, particularly in less developed regions, faces challenges in benefitting from financial opportunities and information resources.

New Horizons - Tackling financial difficulties and unemployment, young people rarely make plans to secure their financial future. Through developing financial awareness among young people in Turkey, “I Can Manage My Money” project launched to contribute to sustainable economies, was introduced to the press in early December. The project conducted with the partnership of Turkish State Planning Organization (SPO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Youth Association for Habitat, Visa Europe and member banks, aims to reach 60 thousand young people within its first year.

In her opening speech, Visa Europe Regional General Manager, Berna Ülman explained that by developing the financial awareness of young people, with resource utilization, budget and debt management, attitudes and preferences such as preferences in financial tools, the ‘I Can Manage My Money’ project not only aims to contribute to individual or family economies, but also to economic and social stability. Ülman further said: “By supporting healthy development of investments towards young people, we hope that our project will contribute to economic and social progress. Our goal is to provide the project’s results generating social effects and project outcomes to the public as a policy suggestion, which will be included in the formal education curriculum developed by the Ministry of Education.

UNDP Turkey Resident Representative a.i. Ulrika Richardson-Golinski pointed out that this financial awareness project has enabled the collaboration of the government, private sector and civil society for the first time in Turkey.Expressing that the project will serve the Millennium Development Goals to be reached by 2015 Golinski said: “We express at every opportunity that UNDP highly appreciates the private sector’s involvement for reaching these goals. The ’I Can Manage My Money’ project, will play an important role in Turkey’s development. In this sense I believe that Visa Europe sets a good example for other organizations.

The project based on the curriculum on budgeting and financial management that uses the peer education model, will be expanded via young educators in the context of youth councils in 15 cities noted Youth Association for Habitat President, Sezai Hazır and explained “The education process of 60 volunteers from various cities in Turkey has commenced. These young volunteers will educate 6 thousand young people. We expect that at the end of one year, the project will benefit 60 thousand young people indirectly".

In November 2009 pilot operations were conducted in 15 cities from 7 different regions including İstanbul, Kocaeli, Bursa, Denizli, İzmir, Ankara, Eskişehir, Antalya, Samsun, Adana, Malatya, Gaziantep, Trabzon, Erzurum and Diyarbakir as a part of the “I Can Manage My Money” project. High school and university students and members of youth NGO’s of 15 -30 years of age will be teaching their peers and other representatives. The project will start out with 60 volunteer peer educators teaching six thousand young men and women, and will attempt to reach the 60 thousand mark by the end of the year using peer education models and e-learning tools.