Mothercare, the British group specialised in children and parenting products and services, commissioned a+b=3 to run a pilot training on financial literacy for a group of factory workers to prepare for a longer term project aiming to support workers to better manage their income and improve their lives. Mothercare strongly emphasises responsible sourcing through its Responsible Sourcing Code, based on the ETI (Ethical Trading Initiative) Code. Migrant workers face particular financial challenges as they need to support families back home while maintaining themselves in the city. With a financial plan enabling them to prioritise spending and resist consumption urges, migrants are in a better position to save for the future.
The project first step was to design a course based on needs identified by the factory through a brief survey. In December 2009, a+b=3 trainers went to a stroller manufacturer factory in Zhongshan to deliver a 4 hour pilot training to about 30 participants (in Mandarin). The training objectives included:
- Analyse and prioritise expenses
- Monitor their level of debt and identify strategies to avoid non productive debts
- Understand the way in which wages are calculated and paid,
- Set financial goals and determine saving needs accordingly
- Develop a financial plan to manage household expenditures and increase savings
- Track and monitor expenses and remittances in order to reach saving goals
The project was a definitive success and was very well received. Participants were very involved throughout the training. Their feedback was extremely positive. In particular they said that they learnt how to budget, reduce spending and make better use of their income. Several participants also commented that decisions on spending money were not made by themselves but rather by their wives and families to whom they sent their wages: “you should train our families not us”, they said. A majority of participants requested more training of this type to be held in the future. The factory managers present at the training were very enthusiastic about the training and said they would like to hold more training of this sort.
Participants, trainers and staff from Mothercare all agreed that this type of training would be very beneficial for more migrant workers. We are currently studying ways to go forward and make similar training available for more workers.
snapshots of the training which took place in the factory