FINANCIAL LITERACY: From dreams to reality

Financial diary studies have documented the surprising complexity of the financial management practices of low-income households as they use various methods of saving and borrowing to smooth income. What has received less attention, however, is the complexity they face in deciding how to best use the limited financial resources they are able to accumulate. Lacking awareness of the range of options and unable to compare returns and risks for the few options they are aware of, many low-income households either play it safe, investing their savings into familiar but low-margin activities, or gamble, often with disastrous results.

Financial inclusion programs often address barriers related to access to financial services. But they rarely address the trickier question of how clients can use savings, credit, and insurance to actually increase and diversify income. This is the goal of ACCESS’s “Dreams to Reality” (D2R) financial education program, which demonstrates how financial education concepts work together. Just as a house cannot be built with a hammer alone, financial goals cannot be met with just one financial service tool. The tools must be used in combination in order to reach those goals.


  • Financial education training needs assessment
  • Design of training materials and delivery channel
  • Training of trainers
  • Coaching and mentoring of trainers


All financial education programs cover basic concepts such as budgeting, saving, insurance, and debt management. However, since effective usage of financial services is the ultimate goal, ACCESS’s financial education training programs integrate dreams, goals and limiting beliefs (motivation) into the curriculum.

ACCESS’s approach mixes classroom-based training techniques with structured learning exercises (SLEs) that can be delivered quickly and easily by loan officers, cashiers or others who interact directly with clients.


  • Transformation of the Rural Development Bank: Asian Development Bank, 2020.
  • Financial Literacy Training of Domestic Migrants and Families of International Migrants in Yangon, Bago and Mawlamyine: Helvetas Myanmar, 2020.
  • Technical Assistance to IFAD’s Youth Entrepreneurship and Employment Support Services Programme (YESS): Leveraging the use of Remittances Towards Rural Development through Cooperatives: International Fund for Agricultural Development, 2019-20.
  • Technical Assistance to the Rural Enterprise and Remittance Project (Samriddhi): International Fund for Agricultural Development, 2019-20.
  • Improving Livelihood of Small Scale Low Income Farmers affected by Typhoon Haiyan through Enhanced Institutional Capacities of Cooperatives in Eastern Visayas: Japan International Cooperation Agency, 2016-19.
  • Regional Programme on Remittances and Diaspora Investment for Rural Development: International Fund for Agricultural Development, 2015-18.
  • Financial Education to Mobilize Savings Among Disabled Households: Schmitz Foundation, 2014-17.
  • Improving Financial Access of Small Scale Farmers in Mindanao: Japan International Cooperation Agency, 2011-14.
  • Building Wealth for Filipino Farmers: Citi Foundation & Schmitz Schtiftung, 2013-14.
  • Improving Financial Inclusion and Social Impact toward Food Security in Southeast Asia: European Union and Agence Française de Développement, 2010-13.
  • Remittance-Building Linkages for the Development of Rural Migrants and their Families through Microfinance Services (ReBuiLD MFS): International Fund for Agricultural Development, 2010-12.