Money Month campaign targets tertiary students



MASERU — The Central Bank of Lesotho (CBL), in collaboration with various partners, is spearheading the Money Month campaign aimed at engaging tertiary students. This week, the National University of Lesotho (NUL) hosted an event where students enjoyed performances by local entertainers such as Afro DJs, Sannere, Energy, and Juvy while also receiving vital financial education.

Initiated on April 11, the campaign is set to conclude on May 11 in Mohale’s Hoek under this year’s theme, “Protect Your Money, Secure Your Future.” Money Month Lesotho aligns with the global Money Week initiative, traditionally held in March but adapted locally to a month-long event. This adaptation aims to extend educational outreach, offering necessary skills in financial management across selected districts.

This year, the global theme focuses on the prudent management of finances, urging young people to adopt responsible financial habits to guard against common risks like scams and identity theft. Its ultimate goal is to ensure that all children and young people have access to high-quality financial education, learn about money management, and make informed financial decisions to bolster their future financial resilience and well-being. Since its inception in 2012, the campaign has reached over 60 million children and young people in 176 countries.

The theme for GMW2024, “Protect Your Money, Secure Your Future,” emphasises safe money management and the importance of adopting a responsible and informed approach to personal finances. This includes being aware of potential risks in the financial sector and safeguarding one’s earnings. Risks such as financial scams and frauds—including phishing, money muling, and online shopping scams—as well as data privacy risks like identity theft, are highlighted.

Young people, who may have limited financial literacy and experience, are particularly susceptible to these threats, making the dissemination of this information crucial. The GMW2024 Global Launch event was held in a hybrid format on March 18, at the OECD Conference Centre in Paris. In a unique move, Lesotho extended the traditional Money Week into a full Money Month. During this extended campaign, the CBL and various stakeholders, including government ministries, travelled to selected districts to equip citizens with essential money management skills.

At the campaign launch, CBL Governor Dr. Maluke Letete emphasised the traditional saving habits of the Basotho, referencing historical practices of food preservation for rainy times and drawing parallels to modern savings strategies. He also addressed the severe consequences of borrowing from unregistered financial institutions, which can lead to depression and even suicide.

Mamello Phomane, CEO of Metropolitan Lesotho and representative of the Insurance Association of Lesotho, highlighted the role of insurance in risk mitigation, pointing out the availability of both short-term and life insurance options. She underscored the importance of this year’s theme in enhancing financial literacy and understanding the true value of money.

“We need to know that there is nothing for free and understand the exchange of value for value. This will help people avoid being scammed,” she stated, urging the residents of Mohale’s Hoek to be vigilant and ask questions to avoid fraud. Phomane also stressed the importance of making financial management simpler by encouraging people to start saving small amounts and debunking the myth that only large sums can be effectively invested or saved.

A review of the previous year’s campaign showed it reached 346,287 individuals, with particular focus on engaging the community of Butha Buthe as the main target audience. The campaign demonstrated the effective use of various communication channels by stakeholders to raise public awareness, achieving significant outreach through virtual platforms. Additionally, face-to-face interactions with the community facilitated a deeper impact, enhancing understanding of the financial challenges faced by society despite lower attendance numbers.

The report identified challenges for individuals with disabilities, notably the scarcity of accessible ATMs across the country. It also pointed out that many young employees struggle to appreciate the importance of saving, investing, and managing money effectively, often perceiving themselves as too young to prioritise financial matters. The report celebrated several achievements of the Lesotho Money Month campaign, including active participation from industry leaders at the launch, despite geographical distances.

There was strong collaboration between the Financial Education and Consumer Protection Unit (FESC) and all key district stakeholders. The financial industry showed increased engagement, and there was a concerted effort among participating organisations to reduce the costs associated with implementing the event. In the wrap-up discussions, it was resolved that financial education should be an ongoing effort rather than sporadic. Consistently educating the community on proper money management is seen as crucial for better economic planning and significant improvement in the nation’s economy.

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