An ideal financial education (FE) programme is the one which is cost-effective, is scalable, and is replicable. It should both generate interest and behaviour changes amongst participants. FE programme based on traditional approaches of design and delivery face numerous challenges. These programmes fail to create interest amongst participants to attend the programme; and participants are not motivated to change their behaviour to the extent desired. The design of these models are expensive and are not often scalable pan organisations/large geographies. Many financial education initiatives thus do not result in significant changes in client’s behaviour. This ultimately results in limited buy-in from financial service providers to implement financial education programmes in their organisation. There is a clear need to use an alternative approach to design and implement financial education programmes.
MicroSave implemented an Alternative Financial Education programme (AFE) at one of the biggest MFIs in north India. The tool based was based on the principle of product-led financial education, the programme delivery was embedded in the existing operational structure of the MFI, and the tools were designed using SWITCH behaviour change framework. Results from the pilot test implementation of AFE highlight multifaceted benefits to the MFI in terms of enhanced business income and improved operational efficiency – specifically reduction in stress level of staff. The pilot test also highlights importance of creating an organisational cultural to implement this type of product-led financial education approach.