Gaborone Teen Club: Barclays Bank Botswana Sponsors Another Successful Financial Literacy Event!

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The following post is courtesy of Elizabeth Selden, Medical Student and Adult Volunteer at Gaborone Teen Club:

Barclays employees pose for a photo after leading a successful session on Financial Literacy at the Gaborone Teen Club. (Photo Courtesy of Ed Pettitt)

Gaborone Teen Club: Barclays Bank Botswana Sponsors Another Successful Financial Literacy Event!

On Saturday, March 27, Gaborone held their third Teen Club event of 2010. This month’s activities involved swimming for the younger teens (13-15 years) and financial literacy for the older teens (16-19 years). The financial literacy session was sponsored by Barclays Bank Botswana and several Barclays employees were in attendance. As a medical student from the US visiting Baylor for one month, this activity served as my one opportunity to engage with the teens in a non-clinical setting. As I have reflected in many settings here, I was so impressed with the level of engagement and maturity of the teens.

The financial literacy activity incorporated didactic as well as interactive learning, which gave the teens an

Barclays employee shares his financial knowledge and experience with Teen Club members. (Photo courtesy of Ed Pettitt)

 opportunity to put into practice some of the financial concepts they learned. The morning started with a Powerpoint presentation given by Barclays employees that focused on how to budget, the importance of saving and the risks and benefits of different modes of spending. Teens asked appropriate questions about how these concepts applied to them and made sure to ask for clarification on points they did not understand.

Following the Powerpoint session, the teens were broken up into groups of about ten, with one Teen Leader, a Barclays employee and an adult volunteer. Each group was assigned to plan a “talent show” for their school. They were allocated P29,635 and were given a price list with various DJ’s, venues and refreshments/decorations to choose from. Prices ranged from P2,000 for mix-tapes to P10,000 for DJ SBU, a famous DJ in Botswana. The activity was carefully planned so that each group had a significant sum of money left over, with which they had to create some sort of school project.

My group carefully prioritized the various components of the talent show and came up with a reasonable budget that included P5,000 for DJ Cindo, P300 for their school as the venue and P4,500 for fancy decorations and snacks. More interesting were their justifications for their various choices – they argued that DJ Cindo would draw a crowd and could potentially raise more money by increasing attendance, the school would serve as an appropriate venue as it was safe and all attendees would know how to get there, and fancy decorations and snacks were a good choice as it was important to make the event pleasant and enjoyable for all. A welcome surprise to me: all group members had something to contribute and engaged in a productive discussion, applying concepts they had learned earlier in the morning and utilizing their math skills to sum the total. Barclays staff served as a useful resource and guided the teens in their thought process.

After calculating that their talent show would cost P9,800,my group decided to use their leftover money to build a school garden. Several teens contributed that this would be a way to give back to the community and grow food for the destitute who are home bound and don’t have access to healthy food. With this plan came a detailed budget of what they would need to purchase to build the garden and support it – seeds, fertilizer, water (which they noted would be a variable cost), etc… And, much to my delight, all of the teens took home the concept of the importance of saving and decided to set aside P10,000 for future expenses.

After we wrapped up our session, it was back upstairs with the whole group so each team could present their projects.

A Teen Club member presents her group's "Talent Show" plan and budget while a Barclays employee looks on. (Photo courtesy of Ed Pettitt)

 Teen Leaders and volunteers kept things moving by making sure each team gave clear explanations of their expenses and rationale for their choices. As time was running short, there was not much time for questions, but the group as a whole remained engaged and supported their team members in their presentations. Concluding the day, Barclays staff gave some closing remarks, reiterating points from earlier in the morning and commending the teams on their thoughtful projects.

The most impressionable part of this activity for me was the observation that although the projects and justifications varied, an overriding theme was a commitment to the betterment of the community. Most school projects involved a service component and the choices for the talent shows emphasized the importance of including the whole school community. Beyond this, I think this activity really increased the teens’ financial literacy and contributed to their life skills acquisition. Overall, the day was a great success and I’m grateful I got to be a part of it!