On the ground, ASSIST works directly with the community – women, poor and low income households and micro enterprises – to enhance their financial capabilities, thereby strengthening the demand side in order that they become active users of financial services in a manner that these services help them manage money better and mitigate financial risks. ASSIST’s work in financial capability includes both financial capability building for poor households and business capability building for micro-enterprises.
PEER TO PEER LEARNING
The primary communication methodology that ASSIST deploys for training on messages related to money management and financial services is a peer to peer video based approach. This involves developing short video modules on specific themes featuring some of the progressive members within the community, and sharing videos as part of short training sessions using portable low cost pico projectors.
The Financial & Business Counsellor
ASSIST has created an iconic superwoman character called BuddhiMoney who is a smart financial and business counselor for the community. The name BuddhiMoney is a mix of Hindi and English where Buddhi is wisdom and Money is, well, money! Together it sounds like common Indian women names like Rukmani, Padmani, etc. and has an easy recall within the community. BuddhiMoney is a youthful energetic woman, who is well educated, intelligent, amiable, urbane, and smart and appeals as an aspirational, iconic and friendly figure, who lives within the community and comes to the rescue of anybody needing help and advice. Among other traits, BuddhiMoney is also fully conversant in all matters relating to financial management of households and businesses.
This project, supported by the Center for Inclusive Growth (global philanthropic entity set up by Mastercard), involves engaging with 10,500 fashion jewellery microenterprises in Jaipur city of Rajasthan to deliver business development training through the innovative BuddhiMoney approach. BuddhiMoney videos on four themes – (i) Mobile banking for businesses; (ii) Moving from informal to formal; (iii) Basics of booking keeping and financial management and (iv) Exploiting the internet for business growth – have been developed using high-quality animation. The training videos are being disseminated through three different methodologies to varying in intensity of engagement by ASSIST teams - Intensive (high touch) with 500 enterprises, Semi-intensive (low touch) with 2,000 enterprises and Extensive (no touch) with 8,000 entrepreneurs.