By Mariana Escobar Uribe, Sustainability and Community Relations Manager, Colombia
June 26, 2014 02:42 PM
What good is economic progress if it only benefits a select few?
Globally, there are 1.2 billion people that earn less than $1.25 a day, and another 2.5 billion that lack access to a bank account. Latin America, despite a growing middle class and a burgeoning economy, continues to suffer from high levels of inequality - which is often caused by lack of access to quality education.
What can be done to close the inequality gap? Like anything else, knowledge is power. That begins with providing citizens with the tools and knowledge they need to make informed financial decisions for themselves and their families. Whether it's creating a simple household budget or investing in the stock market, financial literacy is a right - not a privilege. For the past several years, Citi has worked to spread financial empowerment throughout Latin America, incorporating financial literacy into schools, and launching public service programs that provide a solid foundation for people to improve their financial health.
In Colombia, Citi joined forces with Fundación Capital and other partners to launch the Colombia LISTA initiative in 2011. By leveraging tablets and other digital technology, Colombia LISTA is designed to help low-income women in rural areas grow their financial knowledge and help them make sound decisions when it comes to managing their money.
Right from the beginning, Citi contributed time, money and expertise. With an initial investment of $100,000, Citi has continued to contribute and to date has donated $420,000. Citi is currently the only private bank that participates in the program.
The results thus far have been very encouraging. More than 1,200 women have received educational training and 70% finished the program. With such successful metrics, the program now has a goal to train 10,000 women by the end of 2015. Even better, other countries, such as Brazil, hope to launch similar initiatives.
By participating in these types of projects and promoting financial education, Citi is able to make a real impact on improving the quality of life of those living in this region. For only with an empowered population, can a country continue on the path to growth for the future.
*Tagged as: colombia, community, education, financial education, latin america