“Financially empowered – Economically included”

“Learning, teaching, training” activity in Ciechanow under the KA2 project “Empowering youth through financial literacy”. 

Ciechanow, Poland – 12th to 17th February 2023. 

Last week, four Belgian young participants composing the team of YPA, attended the training “Financially empowered – Economically included” in Ciechanow, Poland. This training, hosted by Fundacja ReGeneracja, was one of the programmed activities included in the KA2 project “Empowering youth through financial literacy” which, in turn, is coordinated by YouthProAktiv.

This training aimed to put into practice the educational materials developed by the Consortium of this project (Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center (SiNC), Fundaja reGenereacja, Hellenic Open University, Universidad del Pais Vasco, and YouthProAktiv). These educational materials were a Guideline for Financial Literacy and a Toolkit, both grounded on non-formal methodologies.

Following this line, the first day of the training started with a brief welcoming and introduction of all participants and their sending organizations. This session was led by Katarzyna Szmit, president of Fundacja reGeneracja, and we had the pleasure to enjoy Park Nauki Torus (a facility aiming to popularize science) as the venue for this first day of training. The whole purpose and structure of the project were introduced to the participants for them to better understand the purpose of the training (which was to prove the quality of the material previously developed by the Consortium). This introductory session was followed by multiple sessions facilitated by Pawel Pyrzynski, from OPT-PRO Group. He provided participants with two storytelling-powered lectures on the history of money and its types, jointly with two more stimulation role-plays on taxes and the logic behind them. We finished our first day of the training with a group dinner at the restaurant of the same Park Nauki Torus, thus reinforcing the community-building of all participants.

The second day of the training focused on “Budgeting”. On this occasion (as with the rest of the days of the training), we had the pleasure of conducting our training in a room provided by the Food Bank of Ciechanow. All participants were very grateful for the welcome and hospitality of the organizers. This second training day was led by Pawel Mieszkowski, a professor at EduArt. Participants were able to participate in multiple interactive presentations focusing on: the effectiveness of budgeting; savings vs. expenses; creative ways of managing money better; and budgeting methods. These informative presentations were combined with activities from the Toolkit and non-formal methodologies to better engage with participants and promote dynamic educational approaches. After lunch, our YPA project manager Marina Angerri provided a dynamic session on “Setting saving goals” in which she facilitated activities offered by the Toolkit under this topic.

The third day of the training had “Investments” as the main focus. Our trainer was Maciej Kraszewski from Stowarzyszenie Pozytywnie Historyczni. He led two mastermind sessions on “What to do with extra money” and “What is the relationship between profitability and risk”. Again, informative sessions were combined with group debates and teamwork reflection activities — thus helping participants practice the acquired knowledge and skills. Maciej Kraszewski concluded his participation with a lecture on the stock market and cryptocurrencies, followed by a Q&A, allowing participants to clarify any further doubts or questions they had. After lunch, a youth worker from Greece, Dimos Balkouranidis facilitated a practical session on “Investments” with the activity of the Toolkit.

Moving to the fourth day of the training, all the sessions were grounded under the topic of “Entrepreneurship”. The multiple sessions on this day were also mainly led by the excellent trainer Pawel Pyrzynski as well as Tamar Jangulashvili, president of our partner SINC in Georgia. Participants had the opportunity to learn about the basic concepts of entrepreneurship, jointly with the development of the Canvas business model. Participants were divided into groups and followed a practical exercise to “start their own company” and “go for funding”. We ended the training with a survey on self-reflection and evaluation.

Finally, the fifth day focused on “Debts, credits, and crowdfunding”, following the same structure as previous days: (1) icebreaker, (2) interactive presentation about “the money we don’t have” by Maciecj Kraszewski; (3) the session “how to dig out of debt”, including a financial game “CashFlow” brainstorming; (4) after the lunch break, the session on “life on credit — questions and reflections on how to use and manage debt”; finalizing with the “post-assessment of the learning skills and knowledge and final LTT evaluation” by Katarzyna Szmit.

In conclusion, this training was a very content-intensive but rewarding week for all participants and partner organizations. The organization by Fundacja ReGeneracja was excellent, and the group dynamics of the participants were very inspiring and empowering. In short, each session addressed a fresh financial aspect, thus enhancing the diversity of content and the development of financial skills and knowledge. Moreover, the trainers who participated in the training also make it more dynamic and engaging through their experiences and testimonials. Thus, even with the diversity of participant profiles and backgrounds, the training had a positive atmosphere, all making the most of the opportunity this project offered them.