Online Project Showcase

Let’s Talk Money – A financial literacy program for refugee and migrant women

  • Organisation:

    Women's Health In the North (WHIN)

  • ABN or Auspicing Organisation:

    72418921651

  • Scope of Activity:

    Australia

  • Geographic Location:

    Northern metropolitan region of Victoria

  • Target Groups:

    Migrants
    Refugees

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Funding Information

  • Total Funding Required (AUD):

    $420,000

  • Current Funding (AUD):

    $380,000

  • Funding Needed (AUD):

    $40,000

  • Tax Deductability Status (DGR):

    Yes

  • Tax Concession Status (TCC):

    Yes

  • DGR Additional Information:

    N/A

  • Other Funding Partners:

    Victorian Government’s Multicultural Affairs and Social Cohesion Division; Collier Charitable Fund; Victorian Women’s Benevolent Trust

Project Information

  • Project Commencement Date:
  • 01 Jan 2017
  • Project Completion Date:
  • 01 Jan 2021
  • What issues are addressed?:
  • Financial literacy is crucial to women having the ability to make informed financial decisions and improve their economic status and long-term well-being. A lack of financial literacy is a known barrier to inclusion and participation in civic life.

    In Australia, women are over-represented in groups having particularly low financial literacy levels, with migrant and refugee women being especially marginalised.

    Newly-arrived refugee and migrant women face particular barriers to economic participation and security due to:
    - Lack of financial information in their first language and difficulties accessing interpreter services
    - Cultural attitudes to money make accessing and dealing with financial institutions and government income-support agencies difficult
    - Jargon and language used by financial institutions
    - Lack of tailored financial information
    - Social isolation
  • Project Description:
  • Let’s Talk Money is a unique financial literacy program that aims to support the economic empowerment of migrant and refugee women living in the northern metropolitan region of Victoria.

    Let’s Talk Money recruits, employs and skills up women from diverse cultural backgrounds, to deliver practical financial literacy and money-management workshops to over 250 women in their own language and communities, covering:
    - Financial goal-setting
    - Budgeting and saving
    - Banking
    - Loans and debt
    - Tenancy and contracts
    - Tax and super

    The program was piloted in Hume and Whittlesea to women from Indian, Assyrian, Iraqi, Iranian, Sri Lankan, Syrian, Pakistani, Lebanese and Afghani communities. From 2019 – 2020, Let’s Talk Money will be delivered throughout the northern metropolitan region of Melbourne.
  • Alleviating suffering / disadvantage?:
  • For migrant and refugee women living in Australia even the most basic financial information is extremely difficult to access, is unreliable and lacks relevancy. Many feel scared of banks, patronised and vulnerable when dealing with banking staff, with minimal translated information available.

    The majority of refugee women come from predominantly cash-only societies, making the transition to bank-based financial systems difficult. Others report of pressures around handling their children’s expectations about money, and the need to send money home to their extended families. Many refugee women have had interrupted schooling and lack literacy and numeracy skills.

    In many migrant cultures, men tend to control the finances, which causes friction when women receive government income support to care for their children. In the instance of separation or death of a partner, a woman without financial literacy cannot adequately prepare for her own, or her family’s financial future.
  • Changing Policy, Practices & Systems?:
  • Let’s Talk Money aims to:
    - Break down structural and social barriers to women’s financial literacy by bringing workshops to where they regularly meet in safe, all female environments, delivering it in their own language and tailored to their specific needs.
    - Challenge gender stereotypes and beliefs about money by advocating for the financial rights of women, and giving them the knowledge and tools to negotiate and control their own financial situations and futures, and live with dignity.
    - Address the lack of cultural nuance and reach into specific communities amongst more established financial literacy programs and services, by providing employment and skill development pathways for culturally and linguistically diverse women into the financial counselling sector.
    - Support the findings by the Royal Commission into Family Violence of the relationship between domestic violence and financial abuse, by providing financial literary training and education for women at risk.
  • Investing in or empowering women?:
  • During its pilot phase, Let’s Talk Money:
    - Employed and skilled-up 12 women to deliver financial literacy training to women in their own communities
    - Supported two trainers to receive scholarships to undertake a Diploma of Financial Counselling
    - Delivered 26 workshops to over 330 women in their own language and community settings, helping them to make informed decisions about money and taking action to manage their personal finances.
    - Supported women to develop an understanding of the characteristics of financially respectful relationships, and the gendered nature of economic inequality.

    Let’s Talk Money will be delivered into new communities throughout Melbourne’s northern metropolitan region during 2019 – 2020.
  • Media / Promotion?:
  • Let’s Talk Money is featured on WHIN’s website. WHIN’s communication officer regularly promotes the project and the issues it addresses via social media, e-newsletters and on our website.

    As we build the project and its funding base, our aim is to engage a publicist to secure print and media interviews to highlight the economic inequality of migrant and refugee women, and women more broadly.
  • How is success evaluated / measured?:
  • Success is measured by:
    • Participants improving their financial literacy and practical money management skills as a result of the workshops
    • The effectiveness of the bilingual peer educator model in delivering quality, tailored literacy training to participants
    • Building evidence to understand what works for gender-specific and culturally responsive financial literacy programs, and to understand how women can reduce their risks as a result of increasing financial literacy
    • Identifying whether the project model can be replicated in other sites.

    With the support of Financial Literacy Australia, the Let’s Talk Money pilot was independently evaluated in 2018. The evaluation found that:
    • Engaging with women in the places they naturally congregate, and using their first languages, has had significant success in reaching women who may not have otherwise accessed financial literacy programs.
    • The workshop topics were extremely useful, especially banking, budgeting, debt management and tenancy. Many participants noted the practical difference learning about online banking made to their lives (e.g. not having to travel by public transport with young children to pay bills in person).
    • The peer educator model of delivery provided significant benefit to both participants and peer educators. Peer educators know their communities. They also speak the languages of their communities, enabling women to feel more familiar and comfortable.
    • The peer educators described the program as ‘life-changing’: they’ve developed knowledge and confidence, which has in turn greatly benefited their families and communities.

Contact Information

  • Contact Person:

    Narelle Sullivan

  • Email:

    narelles@whin.org.au

  • Website:

    Click Here

  • Phone:

    03 9484 1666