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FINCare – Financial literacy through social financial institutions

The National Union of the Mutual Help Houses for Employees in Romania UNCARSR and the Solidarity Lab have started the project FINCare – Financial Literacy through Social Financial Institutions, a project for the development of the financial education capacity of the mutual help houses in Romania.

Romania is strongly affected by financial exclusion, lack of financial education and over-indebtedness. In our country we have the lowest access to financial services in the European Union – with almost 40% of Romanian citizens not having access to financial services, only 60.8% of the population aged 15 and over holding an account with a financial institution, compared to the Euro area average of 94.8%. Access to financial services is even lower among the low-education population – only 34.4% and among the rural population – only 56.4%. However, the rural areas registered a growth of 50% in only 3 years of the access to financial institutions. At the same time, Romania is the country with the largest share of borrowers and the lowest level of financial education. Only 22% of Romania’s population is financially literate compared to the EU average of 52%.

The FinCARe project will enable the development of financial education programs and materials for the mutual help houses and the development of their workers’ skills in the system. They will thus be better equipped to support the development of the financial skills of their members, especially those who are disadvantaged, based on the experience of the cooperative credit unions in the Italian region of Trento. The social governance of the mutual help houses in Romania will also be developed based on the experience of UK credit unions. Within the project, 18 trainers will be trained in special programs in the UK and Italy in 2018 and then share their knowledge with another 80 colleagues in two multiplication events in Romania in 2019 – one dedicated to financial education and one to the governance of the mutual help houses. The Lab’s researchers will conduct a national survey on the situation of financial education among the socially excluded population and will develop training materials for trainers. The project is funded by the Erasmus program of the European Union with a total budget of 221,135 Euro.


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