South Cotabato kids join the Ipon Challenge this 2019
The Ipon challenge (savings challenge) is one of the most talked about new year resolutions, motivated by the different success stories that are all over the social media. Some do it for their travel goals, some for their dream smartphones and other things they want to splurge on.
In South Cotabato, children as young as 5 years old are also up to the challenge. In fact, they have been practicing it since CoMSCA or community-managed saving and credit association was introduced to them. CoMSCA is a World Vision economic development project model that aims to provide simple savings and loan facilities to communities where access to financial services is difficult. For children, however, it is solely intended for savings.
8-year old Kim is one of the active members of Kids CoMSCA. “Mama gives me P20 each day. She also gives me foods so I am able to save the whole amount,” he says. Each week, Kim and his group meet to give their share which costs P20 each. He strives to always give a maximum share of 5 or P100 every week. He also encourages his friends, even those who are not World Vision sponsored children, to join the savings group.
15-year old Erica, one of the children’s CoMSCA leaders, shares that she enjoys watching the younger kids appreciate the value of saving.
“I grew up learning how to save because of this activity and I am glad to pass it on the younger children,” she adds.
Why do the children in South Cotabato save? Their goal is to help their parents buy their school materials as most of them come from poor families.
Children learn from their elders
Children like Erica and Kim are influenced by those who surround them, especially their parents. Research from the University of Cambridge shows that children’s money habits are formed at the age of 7 while other researches show that as young as three, they are already capable of grasping financial concepts.
“Most of those in the kids CoMSCA groups are our own children. We teach them, we encourage them to save. They easily learn because they see us doing it,” says 58-year old Edna, one of the adult CoMSCA leaders. Her group, to date, has its own variety store which gives them additional income.
For Kim, Erica and the other children in South Cotabato, the Ipon challenge through CoMSCA is no longer new but it’s an activity that continues to teach them discipline in handling money. More than the amount they earn, they also forge a friendship with one another. In December 2018, they were able to get their savings, used the money for a simple get together party, bought gifts for their parents and more school supplies to use for their first day in school this 2019.
The influence of the children’s CoMSCA groups to other children is also likely to increase the number of young savers in South Cotabato. As of writing, there are 195 groups or more than 3500 savers in the province, 190 are managed by adults and five are managed by children.