The Aflatoun programme teaches Child Social and Financial Education to 484253 children in 20 countries. It works with children aged 6-14 in schools, alternative education and non-formal settings. It is tied together by 8 workbooks contextualized for their appropriate regions that correspond to the stages of child development. Its methodology is engaging and child-friendly, and puts children at the centre of the learning process through activities, songs, stories, games and worksheets.
The goal of Aflatoun is to teach children about their rights and responsibilities, and to provide them with a set of financial tools to realise those rights. It does this through a pedagogical approach that it developed called Child Social and Financial Education. While work in the development sector often concentrates on either economic empowerment (e.g. savings, credit or income-generating programmes) or on social education (e.g. human rights or citizenship), Aflatoun believes that balancing social and financial components in its programme helps achieve sustainable child empowerment.
Aflatoun believes that children should be able to participate in their own development process. Programmes that intend to benefit children should actively engage them as individuals and teach them the skills they need to be successful. This requires schools and classes to create spaces in which children may be able to express their needs and allow them the space to learn and act independently. Ultimately, Aflatoun aims to help children grow into responsible self-aware individuals, who know their rights and who aim to change their lives and their communities for the better. Alongside financial empowerment, children must know about themselves and their abilities in order to succeed.
While it is a relatively new concept globally, it represents years of refinement and innovation from the original programme in India in 1991. The development of the programme shows a progression from a rights based programme in Mumbai to a programme that integrated savings as a result of the demands of children. When the programme moved from India to the global stage, social and financial enterprise was integrated as a result of the skills and expertises of organizations delivering the programme.
The global move also resulted in a more formal system of curriculum development and refinement. Regional editions have been produced and contextualized for the appropriate languages and issues. As well, the programme methodology incorporated child centred methodologies and increased the emphasis on activities and games. As a result of this collaborative work, Aflatoun and its partners have developed 18 different contextualized editions of the material in 17 languages.
Another key development in the growth of the Aflatoun programme is the introduction of its Impact Assessment and Quality Assurance system. This has been based on the demand from partner organizations and assisted by an expert panel of academics and researchers. It focuses on initial partner selection for quality assurance as well as both network wide and targeted approaches to outcome and impact assessment.
The results to date from 5 external reports and evaluations have shown that the Aflatoun model can be made appropriate for different regions, that it is replicable and that there are outcomes from participation in the programme. Key highlights include:
- Baseline: Aflatoun concepts are not foreign to all schools, but do require proper contextualization
- Programme Evaluations: Programme is replicable using the Aflatoun model based on buy in of children, teachers and administrators
- Post Evaluations: 78% of children reported saving up to 6 years after programme completion
- Secretariat Evaluation: Aflatoun’s partners stress certain capacity needs and stakeholders require clearer communication
Other research and evaluation projects are ongoing and will be reported in coming years of Children and Change. This includes pilot projects on Social Return on Investment, Comparative Constituency Feedback, as well as research projects on savings and organizational models and child participation.
The results of the data collection found that Aflatoun is working in 5151 schools in 20 countries in 2008. Of the 484 253 children in the programme as of the end of 2008, 210 803 are saving.