Financial education through radio in Zimbabwe

Shalom Govero is a business development manager and financial education trainer at Mustard Seed Advisory, a development finance consulting firm in Zimbabwe. She is an ILO financial education trainer who is very passionate about the topic. In this blog, she shares her experience in promoting financial literacy through radio.

Article | 31 July 2019
Financial education equips people with knowledge, skills and tools to better manage their money. In my country, Zimbabwe, culturally, money is not an easy topic to discuss. Those who want to talk about it are labelled as greedy or if they are girls, they may be deemed as ill mannered. This is then compounded by the fact that the Zimbabwean school curriculum does not necessarily include financial literacy topics. Therefore, it falls on us, financial education trainers, to provide consumers with knowledge on basic financial matters and banking products.

As we begun 2018, we decided to go on radio. This was through a suggestion from one of our Financial Education trainers. We looked for opportunities, and a radio DJ who was looking for content agreed to have us on his Sunday show. The station has over 80% national coverage, as well as an online presence, with a potential of reaching more than 11 million listeners. With this huge potential outreach, we took the chance to design our first radio series on money. We adapted the ILO’s package on financial education for Workers in Africa to use it for the show.

The beauty of radio is that it takes information to where the listeners are with a considerably small budget. We ran the #MoneySeries for 10 weeks, for 30 minutes every Sunday, starting in January last year. Each show was given a contextual twist and made use of local examples to make the information relevant. It has been a great way to break down money issues and point people to our Financial Education workshops so that they dig deeper and learn more.

In fact, to bring more of the banking products to the fore, the 2019 edition of the radio series has been produced in partnership with a local bank. It has been a powerful tool to teach financial education principles to the bank’s customers and radio listeners. Whenever the show is live, we have a discussion that happens on the radio WhatsApp platform. The listeners have a chance to post questions, comment and participate in the discussion. After each show, we post the video recording of the session on various social media pages, such as the “MoneyWiz” (a platform that I created for the youth) and my personal Facebook page. Like this, the younger and more social media-savvy audience can also be reached.

With the popularity of WhatsApp and Facebook in Zimbabwe, the radio show content has sparked social media discussions that are practical and insightful for young people. One of the most discussed shows on social media has been “Money in dating relationships” which took principles from the “Goal setting and communicating with family” session in the ILO package. In the period of Valentine’s Day we ran a series on encouraging good conversations and on the importance of communicating about money in relationships. Other popular shows have included topics such as “Budgeting” and “Borrowing & Overindebtedness”.

All these topics are foundational to money management issues and it has been satisfying to hear some of the feedback from the listeners.

“I listened to the show in a taxi, on my way to church. It was informative yet fun. I actually picked up on the importance of writing things down especially when it comes to budgeting.”

“I find impulsive buying has become easier due to the existence of swipe cards. You end up realizing that you have no money left. Thank you so much for the advice.”

“That’s powerful… life transformation... knowing what you have and how you going to spend it as a family”

“When are you visiting us in South Africa? We really need to learn about money management and risk management. A lot of us in the diaspora are making money but it seems as though the money is going into pockets with holes.”

We get excited when we hear people realizing the importance of the lessons and when they ask us to host them for the full Financial Education workshops. We have hosted a couple of workshops as a result of listeners getting in touch with us after listening to the radio show. One such workshop recently was Financial Education for a group of couples. Due to the popularity of radio in our country, it is a great way to draw attention to the importance of Financial Literacy. Used well, the radio sessions can be the starting point of extended learning that can be explored in full through workshops. Nationally, issues around Financial Literacy are beginning to gain traction in conversations across media (newspapers, online articles, radio etc.). With the Zimbabwean Central Bank encouraging financial service providers to play their part in educating their clients, radio conversations is crucial in getting the message to the masses.