Promoting financial education in Zimbabwe: the experience from an ILO certified trainer

Shalom Govero is an ILO certified financial education trainer based in Harare, Zimbabwe. Since 2016 she has been delivering financial education primarily through radio, with over 200 radio programs broadcasted with two privately owned stations and one state broadcaster. In this article, she shares her experiences using various platforms to disseminate financial messages to Zimbabweans.

Article | 25 avril 2023
We heard from Shalom in our previous article, where she first described her experience in providing financial education through radio in Zimbabwe. What has she been up to since then?

Initially, the radio show was sponsored by a local bank, broadcasting to a reach of 6 million plus listeners, targeting ages 16 to 40 years old. Through the programme I have had the opportunity to demonstrate how financial principles can be applied in sticky social situations. Sometimes, we will pick a controversial social issue making headlines on social media and we use it as a jumping-off point for a financial discussion. For example, just before schools open in January nationally, there is often talk about people borrowing to pay for children’s school fees because they spent all their income in December during Christmas. This becomes an opportunity for us to talk about the importance of future planning and budgeting.

The Zimbabwean economic context is very dynamic. I always adapt the topics I tackle to match the realities of my audience in Zimbabwe. We have a significantly large informal sector so income is often irregular therefore most people work on various projects and small businesses to sustain their families. This has an impact on how we, as trainers, package financial literacy messaging. In fact, in the past year or so, the radio show programming has begun to focus a lot more on topics relating to small businesses. I have also gone a step further to extend the programming into the vernacular (Shona & Ndebele) through the state broadcaster, being sponsored by a local Microfinance Institution to increase our outreach.

I have also been able to integrate start-up and business management content into my work which has led me to create business groups on WhatsApp for networking purposes and assist with access to business support services for which there is a real need here.

Besides the business groups, I have used the WhatsApp platform to offer short financial education courses disseminated through infographics, recorded voice lectures, and worksheets. In the past 4 years, we have reached 5000 participants through such courses. I have also had opportunities to deliver classroom training to various organizations, offering their staff and members the ILO's financial education course targeting workers.

What we have seen through this initiative is that radio programmes are incredibly useful in starting conversations around money management but there is a need to use other platforms to direct meaningful engagement and to provide in-depth training.

On a personal level, doing the radio show has prompted me, as a financial educator, to speak from my personal life to increase the relevance of my message. In 2021, I wrote a personal finance handbook for youth based on my personal experiences applying money management principles to real life in Zimbabwe. Making use of stories, I repackaged the financial education messages to make them an easy read for youth starting their financial journeys. I even included a chapter on love and money since this is a huge debate on the various platforms that I train on.

The quality of life that one lives is hugely affected by the money decisions that one makes. So equipping people with knowledge, skills, and tools to be financially literate has become a major career goal for me. I am grateful for the ILO’s well-packaged resources for increasing financial literacy in our country.