December 17, 2008
LATIN AMERICA—In Colombia and Costa Rica, local volunteers have begun to facilitate financial literacy workshops for Habitat partner families. The program, funded by the Citigroup Foundation, an extension of the Citi Corporation, represents a solid partnership between Habitat and Citi, generating not only financial recourses, but also volunteers.
Since January of 2007, a total of 52 volunteers have donated 3,600 hours to Habitat Colombia, in Bogotá, Medellín and Cali. As part of the partnership, Citigroup Foundation provides $500 to Habitat Colombia every time that a “Citi” volunteer reaches 50 hours of participation. A similar project is being carried out in Costa Rica.
Financial literacy volunteers simply need to have a basic understanding of financial concepts, the ability to facilitate training sessions, and a desire to contribute to community development in their home country. Habitat and Citigroup actively recruit from a local volunteer base through posted signs and word of mouth. Participants in the financial literacy workshops range from Habitat homeowners to families waiting for a loan, and even include families which have already received loans from other institutions. The workshops educate participants on how to prioritize their spending, how to create a family budget and how to save for the future.
The long-term goal of the project is to reach at least 15 countries throughout the region.
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