|Courtney Nickles explains the NEFE financial planning program to Belize credit union staff and educators from the community.|
As a volunteer for the World Council of Credit Unions, Courtney Nickles, CUDE, executive director of the Texas Credit Union Foundation, presented the highly acclaimed National Endowment for Financial Education High School Financial Planning Program (NEFE HSFPP) to credit union staff, educators and community leaders in Belize, at a landmark event that brought members of the Belize Credit Union League and support from the Ministry of Education together for one day of financial literacy empowerment.
Corine Fuller, executive director of the Belize Credit Union League, and Bob Rehm, senior vice president of sales and marketing with Southwest Corporate Federal Credit Union in Plano, were crucial to making this educational opportunity a reality.
"The training was well received by the credit unions, educational institutions and a senior officer of the Ministry of Education," notes Fuller. "We can see how our partnership with the Foundation will facilitate a wide cross-section of credit union members and high school students to learn fundamental financial management skills, which will allow them to make informed financial decisions from an early age. We are excited about the possibility of including financial planning in our high school core curriculum."
Throughout the "train the trainer" session, Nickles engaged participants in classroom-style presentations, as well as interactive "role playing" activities that allowed students to relate easier to their materials. These functional approaches to learning ensure that all who go through the program will have a deeper understanding of this information that everyone could benefit from.
"Financial literacy is not limited to languages, cultures or regions, but is rather only restricted by circumstances that may have never allowed this type of information to be delivered before," says Nickles. "The luxury of accessible information we are afforded allow us to be aware of the basic fundamentals of financial information, but only when you see the genuine appreciation and comprehension of those individuals who have never learned something we take for granted, like how to balance their checkbook, do you realize how fortunate we are."
| A group of Belize credit union participants engage in "class room" activities during the training session.
"While the literacy rate in Belize is the highest in Latin America, poverty and unemployment remain pervasive in this country," confirms Victor Miguel Corro, senior manager of international partnerships with the World
Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU). "Providing the people of Belize with the tools to make better choices with their money, coupled with access to affordable financial services, remains essential to improving the quality of life in the country, and this ‘train the trainer' session is just the beginning of offering hope and financial literacy to the citizens."
Nickels' day of training, while educational, was also an emotional experience. "Our participants were incredibly appreciative for this training session and while they were thankful for the lesson, I was equally grateful strictly for having the chance to share this information with an audience that could use it literally in a life-changing way. I am always learning from our participants but this most recent lesson is one that the Foundation will continue to develop as we pursue other global education opportunities and enrich both our audience's understanding of financial literacy and our understanding of how we can help make a difference in their lives."