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May 6, 2014

PricewaterhouseCoopers hosts financial literacy training

Financial Literacy Training…it not a topic that you often hear about, but it is an initiative that has been ongoing in Belize since 2008.  It targets teachers and students from various schools across the country as well as parents and even private companies. For the past two days at the ITVET, these various groups of persons have been receiving knowledge and skills in better and proper management of resources. PricewaterhouseCoopers in collaboration with Peace Work and the Ministry of Education have organized the training.  Shannon Schuyler, who oversees Corporate Responsibility for PricewaterhouseCoopers, spoke to News Five about how the project started and its growth over the years.

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Shannon Schuyler, PricewaterhouseCoopers

Shannon Schuyler

“Back in 2007, we started to really look at corporate responsibility in a cohesive way and said what could we do that we would be able to do year after year that would really be meaningful. And one of the things that we said was if we really believed in financial literacy training, what if we went someplace that we typically aren’t. What if we gave our people a unique international experience? And we looked at the map and looked at different places and different places that had need and different places that we also knew we would have good partners. And so we work a lot with Peace Work and they knew the Ministry of Education and so we ended up in Belize and what it has been since 2008 to now is this incredible partnership that has turned into a family where we care about the livelihood of every student that we’ve touched and their teachers and their parents and their administrators and this has really become our home away from home. We started bringing about a hundred people down, then we said that wasn’t enough. Then we started bringing four hundred people down and so over the years, we’ve had close to two thousand folks that come down and have been a part of this. One of the things that we are amazed by is really the return on investment that we see. So we want to make sure that the things that we are doing, we are not just coming down and doing it and then going away and doing it the next year. And what we have had is this partnership that has allowed us to work with the mayor and work with the ambassador and work with the Ministry of Education and work with all the individual classrooms. So this is something that is done year round and that becomes a way of how students are taught and the culture of people learning and being able to think about future prosperity by being more financially understanding and having strong financial capabilities. And because we see that, it makes us want to invest all the more. And so it makes us want to give more scholarships; makes u want to come down because we see it working and that’s exciting. Over the years, we have continued to grow our investments. So it is anything from scholarships; forty-thousand US dollars in scholarships every year. We bring down computers and laptops, and I-Pads and tablets for the different students in the classrooms. So it is an investment of intangible resources as well as dollars, as well as our understanding and skills. We bring down people to help from a marketing standpoint and from an IT standpoint to be able to really teach the different businesses and different groups of people. So it is really what we see as that full compliment.”

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