In 2012, employees across Experian’s Turkish office began a program to promote financial awareness and education for young people ages 18-30, which we called the Manage Your Future Now Project.
For young people pursuing higher education in universities, financial literacy is a required life skill, especially since many depend on educational loans and credit cards to pay for their education. Bad loan management resulting in a poor credit score can hurt the financial future of these students.
We found that most local universities lack the human resources necessary to train students on the topic. We decided that the best way to promote financial literacy was through a peer education model.
Using this model, we would train volunteers to help their fellow students calculate their credit risk, manage their budget and understand the long-lasting effects of bad credit.
We partnered with the Turkish Credit Bureau, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the Happy Thought organization to launch the program.
With our partners, we provide a two-day training session for student volunteers in Istanbul. We give our volunteers the resources and tools they need to train others on financial risk, while also training them on how to present the same materials to others.
These volunteers then go back to their local communities to train their peers through one-on-one sessions, or – if they generate enough interest at a university – organize a conference where they invite Experian experts to share their knowledge with a group of 100 or more students and faculty.
The Manage Your Future Now Project has become a leading contributor in improving the financial skills and knowledge of young people and improving the financial literacy rate throughout Turkey. Since we began the program, we’ve reached more than 8,500 people and offered more than 100 training courses at universities, carried out by our growing number of volunteers.
For me, the most rewarding part of this project is helping inspire and equip these students. I recently traveled to a university in Turkey as a speaker, giving a financial literacy conference to about 200 people.
After I taught them about their credit scores and ways to secure their financial futures, one of the students came up to me, telling me how passionate he was about financial education and how eager he was to become a peer volunteer with the Manage Your Future Now Project.
Our team at Experian was able to help convince his family to let him join the program so he could attend a training session and become a speaker in that city. To date, he has met with and educated more than 100 fellow students, guiding them through the program’s tools.
Understanding how finance works has a huge impact on people’s daily lives, because it’s relevant for both their present and future welfare. It’s amazing to see year after year how we are helping change people’s lives in Turkey, by opening new doors for them as they understand how to manage credit.