Financial literacy is becoming increasingly important not only for local business, but for average individuals and families that are deciding how to spend their income and manage their finances. However, lack of financial literacy is a latent social problem in Romania. The financial literacy score of the Romanian population is relatively low in comparison with other European countries. According to a study by the World Bank, the average financial literacy index (FLI) of Romanian citizens is 31 (on a scale between 0 and 100), which indicates a low level of financial literacy in the general population.
Furthermore, almost 65% of population struggle to manage day-to-day needs and commitments with an average household income per capita lower than 150 euro, and 61% live paycheck to paycheck. To improve this situation, it is necessary to provide the population with the necessary tools to increase their financial capacity to meet end meets. To this end, Biblionet partnered with VISA Europe in 2012 to deliver financial literacy workshops through the MoneyIQ initiative at selected libraries in Romania.
The implementation of the project has been successful and has seen 111 librarians from 9 counties trained as trainers as of April 2013. Overall, since the start of the program 2,313 citizens have been trained in financial management through the MoneyIQ initiative. In the upcoming year, 10,000 citizens from all backgrounds, ages, and professions are expected to be trained through the initiative at local libraries.
The Mures County Library was one of the first libraries implementing the pilot project. During the first stages of the project, seven librarians were trained in financial literacy. After the training, librarians returned to their communities and partnered with banks and high schools to deliver the trainings. The training was not only targeted adult patrons, but also teenagers from local private and public schools.
Given the success of the first wave of trainings, 10 local librarians were selected to participate in the trainings. Some of these local librarians recognized the need to provide the financial training to citizens from rural areas that do not have access to library services and decided to offer these trainings to communities in the peripheries of Mures.
Money IQ:The MoneyIQ project is run by Visa Europe and the member banks from Romania, being implemented by Junior Achievement, with support from the Ministry of Education, Research, Youth and Sports, the United Nations Development Program and the National Authority for Consumers’ Protection.