Salla Mankinen » Salla developed an app for our flagship program CAFE. Salla was based in the Cambodian Microfinance Association (CMA) office with our Good Return team. In December 2015 Salla travelled to Nepal to deliver training to our microfinance partners on their new app.
Bridget Martin » Bridget drove the development and implementation of our scholarship program pilot in Sintang, Indonesia. Using the Progress out of Poverty Index (PPI) Bridget and the team surveyed local households and awarded fifty children living in poverty with scholarships to enable them to finish high school.
Diana Tjoeng » Diana worked alongside our partner in Cambodia, LOLC. Diana conducted field visits and helped to coordinate workshops and conferences across Cambodia. Diana assisted in LOLC Smart Campaign Certification in July. Diana will be staying with us this year to work on our public awareness campaign with the National Bank of Cambodia.
Heather Beeston » Heather was based in Sintang, Indonesia with our partner CUKK. Heather worked with our Farmer Field School Program, helping the agribusiness co-op to better serve the needs of farmers. Heather also worked on monitoring and evaluation.
Catherine Sandow » Catherine worked with our partner in the Philippines, SECDEP. Catherine helped to streamline processes, assisting SECDEP by designing dashboards which help employees to better manage and analyse data. Catherine worked to improve SECDEP’s social performance through tracking, reporting and reviewing procedures.]]>
Financial products can seem inaccessible and complex. But it’s these very products and services that can help people living in poverty to save and build capital. We know that by helping people in Cambodia to understand their rights and options when it comes to financial services, we can help lift people out of poverty and avoid the traps of over indebtedness.
On March 1 this year, the Prime Minister of Cambodia and the Deputy Governor of the National Bank of Cambodia, will launch the Tohs Niyeay Pi Luy (Let’s Talk Money) Campaign. The campaign is designed to encourage people across Cambodia to start talking about the way they use, manage and grow money. Good Return is excited to be part of this effort to empower financial consumers with the information and skills they need to thrive.
Why are we working with young people?
We believe young people can play a more active role in helping older members of the family to navigate financial products and services. It’s important for young people to understand their options and learn how to effectively and safely use financial products—like loans, savings accounts and money transfers—to improve their lives and the lives of their families. This campaign will reach out to young people with a series of public service messages on financial empowerment and consumer awareness.
Good Return recently conducted a workshop to collect ideas for this suite of video and audio materials. We want to make sure that the materials and messages we use are relevant, interesting and engaging. Who better to consult than the young people themselves! In the lead up to the workshop we ran a competition asking young people to “Tell, show or share with us what comes to you when you think about money and your family?” And we were amazed by the quality and creativity of the entries we received.
A shortlist of twenty entries was scored by a panel of expert judges. The winning stories will be used in the nationwide Tohs Niyeay Pi Luy (Let’s Talk Money) Campaign to be featured on Facebook, NBC website, radio and media. You can read the winning entries, as translated from Khmer to English, below.
We’d like to thank all the young people who participated in this competition for sharing their stories with us. Their experiences will help us to start an inter-generational conversation about how financial products and services can break the poverty cycle in Cambodia.
1st prize Choeun Channut
My name is Choeun Channut and I am a 12 years old boy living in Prey Thom village, Smaong Tboung commune, Kamchay Mea distict, Prey Veng province. I am a student in grade 7 at Prey Thom Lower Secondary School.
My unforgettable memory
In 2009, my family faced a serious difficulty. I was studying in grade 1 and my mother gave my 500 riels [15c AUD] to spend per day. Having thought how my family will be in one day in the future because my father would face health problem, in the morning I eat the remaining cooked rice or fried rice, then go to school. At school, I spend only 300 riels and the rest I save it. Sometime, my mother cooked food with only vegetable or having little meat. After came back from school, I looked after the sister and boiled medicine water for my father. At night, my brother taught me, and my father told us the stories and I noted that he was very skinny. One day, my father wanted to eat sweet so much as it was selling in front of our house. When I saw this, I took my saved money in my back pack 1000 riels to buy the sweet for him. He thanked me and touch my head with a pity face. At the evening, I give 3000 [$1.05 AUD] riels to my mother to buy seasoning and the remaining 2000 riels my father told me to keep to buy books, and pens.
Overcoming my family obstacles
This is a real story of my family in the past which is taken from a diary.
Before my family was poor and could earn money just for a day. Because of the difficulties, my brother stopped studying in order to work in Thailand. My father was a construction worker and my mother was a garment worker. They tried very hard to send me to school. Sometime, my mother got fainted in the factory and my father got arthralgia because he carried heavy things. One day, they did not have money and they forced themselves to steal chicken of other people. I felt so pity on them. My sister and my father got illness, did not have money, sold the rice field, and had debt. That time, my family got strong contempt. Then my family tried very hard again. As a result we got improvement because we had patient on every challenges.
The struggling is the direction toward money and family.
2nd prize Pove Sreynich
Pove Sreynich, 15 years old, female, grade 10 at Hun Sen Kamchay Mea High School
The journey of my sister life
Being born in a poor family, the life was very difficult so that my sister decided to migrate to Thailand in the hope that it would help improve her life. But everything did not happen as what we thought. My sister was cheated by the broker in the middle of the way and the broker took all her money so that she did not have any money to return home. My family decided to borrow money from other people to transfer to my sister in order to be able to come back home.
Having arrive home for a period of time, my sister moved to work in Kompongsam as a construction worker. The workplace was located in a forest and the living was difficult. She worked for a month and then come back home. After that, she went to work as potato pulling coolie in Ratanak Kiri province. The work was so hard and did not have time to rest. As a result my sister fell into sickness and then came back home.
She was alway sad and when she listened to a song tittle “In this world, who want to be poor”, the tear was falling down. I was pity on her very much, but I could not help her anything because I was too young. So, I could only cry silently when my sister was crying. This is a real story of my sister who have persisted for family.
3rd prize Sim Sovan
My name is Sim Sovan and I am a 15 year old boy. I live in Thluk veal village, Kror nhoung commune and I study in grade “8 A” at Hun Sen Kamchay Mea High School.
I have 3 siblings and I am the second child. In 2002, my father decided to go to work in Thailand, but when he just arrived Thailand for two days, my sister passed away and then he came back home with only a scarf around his neck. He carried my sister to bury behind the house. After my sister was buried already, my father got an accident by a motorbike. My mother took my father to hospital and at that time she did not have any money for the treatment. So she borrowed money from an organization to pay for my father’s treatment. My father was recovered, but did have money to pay back to the creditor. They sold some rice fields to take money to repay to the organization. My mother run a small business in the market, but it was not good as it lost the profit time by time until did not have just one hundred riels with her.]]>
Aaron has joined the Good Return board and decided to join us for the Sun Run, February 6. He has already raised $2585 but to get there, he has taken on a daring challenge…
“My friends are generous but often with a catch,” he said.
“Apparently, I’ll have to wear bright yellow zinc and shorts as a condition for an additional donation, and will also be belting out a song from Frozen mid-course.”
Aaron joins world champion Heath Francis and a team of Good Return supporters who are raising money for our programs by any means necessary!
“I don’t often ask things of my friends and colleagues, but I have no problem with a call to action to support Good Return and that makes training for the Sun Run a pleasure, despite all of the pain… Through lending to fulfill a dream to grow a business, or learning about how to wisely manage finances, Good Return really makes a differences to peoples’ lives.”
Show Aaron your support as sings his way to the finish line!
DONATE TO AARON »]]>
I am delighted to be joining Good Return as an Ambassador. I hope my show How Deep Is Your Love? Can help spread the word about development, microfinance and empowerment.
The show is really about how much we can learn from the so-called ‘poor’ of the planet. It uses humour and storytelling to shine a different light on old problems. For me, knowledge is a two-way street. The whole world needs to develop together. Skills development and technical knowledge transfer is critical but only one side of the process. The West can only help development where space is created for exchange to happen.
In a few weeks with Grameen I learnt so much about the realities of life, family and business for people using microfinance to improve their lives. I also learnt about the limits of what we can do, the complexities of development and the need for patience. I look forward to working with the wonderful team at Good Return and meeting the great people in its world.
Catch Mark in Brisbane January 29 & at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival March 31 through April 2:
Brisbane tickets: http://www.trybooking.com/175254 Jan 29
Melbourne tickets: http://www.trybooking.com/174975 31 Mar, 1 Apr, 2 Apr.
Read more on Mark’s work »]]>
Participating in the delicious democracy of Grilld’s Local Matters initiative, Good Return was voted by visitors to the Grilld restaurant on Willoughby Road as the preferred charity for the month of January. Each month, Grilld gives $500 to the local community through the program which enables customers to vote for one of three participating organisations.
The generous team at Grilld treated the Good Return staff to a team lunch at the restaurant where we were awarded our Local Matters cheque. Through the Local Matters initiative, the community has been given the chance to learn more about Good Return’s mission while enjoying the best burgers in town!
We’d like to thank Grilld for their ongoing support of our work (and pledge our ongoing support of their zucchini fries…)]]>
It was certainly a memorable Christmas party, filled with laughter and joy whilst achieving the perfect balance of gorging on delicious food and physical activity.
Good Return and Women’s World Banking marked the commencement of their strategic partnership at the Asia Pacific Financial Inclusion Summit in Manila (27-29 Oct). The two organizations will work together to achieve greater and more meaningful financial inclusion of women across the Asia Pacific region. The partnership will bring women’s voices into the conversation to enhance financial products and services.
With over 47 years of experience between them, Good Return and Women’s World Banking will jointly promote women’s financial inclusion at all levels—from national regulators through to grassroots financial service providers—across the Asia Pacific region through a gender-responsive approach to designing, delivering and evaluating financial services.
Guy Winship, CEO of Good Return, said that it was time for all players in the financial sector to step up their efforts on promoting women’s financial inclusion.
“With over 1.2 billion people living in poverty, and women and girls being disproportionately affected, we need to do more to understand their preferences and needs, as well as the barriers they face, in order to provide impactful financial products and services that will help break the cycle of poverty,” said Winship. “How will we know if we are meeting women’s preferences and needs? It all starts with quality gender-based data.”
When reviewing organizational processes or delivering any financial service—be it financial education programs or mobile banking—it is imperative to be able to draw on quality data, both quantitative and qualitative, that paints the full picture. At the Summit, Women’s World Banking and Good Return guided participants through an interactive workshop, exploring the power of quality gender-based data. The workshop introduced participants to Women’s World Banking’s Gender Performance Initiative. The initiative provides key gender-based social and financial indicators that can help financial service providers better understand how to serve their women clients.
“If financial service providers are committed to serving women clients, then they should measure how well they are serving them,” said Jaclyn Berfond, a research, monitoring and evaluation specialist at Women’s World Banking. “The Gender Performance Initiative represents a critical first step to ensure that data is used to improve interventions for women, and Women’s World Banking and Good Return are excited to work together around this initiative.”###
Tel: +61 4 31 227 140
For more information: goodreturn.org.au
Women’s World Banking
Tel: +1 212 556 3156
For more information: womensworldbanking.org
Download the media release in PDF.]]>
I found my place in the surveying process by applying my technical skills to code the survey for delivery on android phones. What’s effective about surveying on phones is that it allows for surveying to take place in remote areas as the data is stored on the phone and then uploaded to the server once the enumerator is connected to the internet. Most importantly, it removes the time intensive process of data entry. This process allows for a quick turnaround with less labour and time – which is always essential when working within a limited resource and rural landscape.
After accompanying the enumerators on a day of surveying, I understood the reality of surveying in rural Philippines. The long days of trawling through rice paddies and motorbike rides in the rain seemed far removed from the ‘banking experience’ emails I receive from my personal financial provider!]]>
This year, over 1400 borrowers were helped with $500,000 of microloans and over 13,000 trainees participated in our skills development programs. You’ve fixed trailers, bought hairdressing scissors and stocked canteen shelves across the region. You’ve instilled the knowledge and confidence that enables women to make positive financial choices of their own volition. You have empowered thousands of people living in poverty with the skills and means to change their lives.
We owe this season’s warm and fuzzy feeling to YOU.
We look forward to sharing another year of Good News in 2016, starting with a very exciting program announcement in January. On behalf of the thousands of families have touched this year, thank you, thank you, thank you.]]>
1) How to speak Bahasa Indonesia (well, a little bit at least).
Learning Bahasa Indonesia has not been the walk in the park I was led to believe by friends in Australia who insisted “it’s supposed to be very easy”. I still frequently mix up similar words and get totally lost in some meetings or discussions, but given that I started from zero I am pretty impressed that I can now comfortably carry out a conversation in the Indonesian language and even add in the odd phrase from the local dialect. I’m sure I’m making constant errors but people seem to understand me so I’m taking it as a win!
2) If you eat nasi goreng all the time you will gain weight.
Nasi goreng is just so reliably delicious everywhere that it quickly became my ‘go to’ order whenever I was eating out. But with all that oil, it will make you gain weight (in my case it was close to 6kgs). Moreover, your Indonesian friends will make sure that you know you’ve gained weight with regular reminders by way of comments, emphatic gestures and nostalgic looks at photos from when you were “still thin”.
3) Scooters can survive terrible drivers and terrible roads.
My trusty blue scooter has seen me through thick and thin during these many months. Sure, it’s a bit small for my tall frame and I’ve got constantly bruised knees as a result, but it has stayed strong through just about everything. I was a complete rookie at riding scooters when I first arrived but my scooter stayed upright regardless of my dodgy turns and manoeuvres. In addition to this, the scooter has made it through my daily drive to work over gravel, mud and more potholes than actual road even when balancing big bags of laundry and groceries.
My first time on my trusty blue scooter.
4) I never want to be famous.
While I recognise I’m not really at risk of becoming a household name anytime soon, I’ve discovered that I definitely don’t want to be famous. In the town of Sintang being a “bule” (white person) is just about the same as being a celebrity. People are always asking for photos with you, staring in disbelief, pointing, giggling and shouting out things like “hello mister!” and “how are you?” even as you whiz past on your scooter. Though I know this is just the local people showing their excitement, after all of this time I am looking forward to blending into the crowd again in Australia.
5) Indonesian people are incredibly kind, generous and welcoming.
I realise that this is a serious generalisation but based on my experience it is true. In Sintang at least, the people I have met have all gone out of their way to help me when I need it, give me gifts regularly and invite me for meals and family events. Even to each other the people of Sintang, who come from various different religions and cultural groups, are incredibly kind and generous with one another. It is, both literally and figuratively, an incredibly warm environment.
Interested in becoming a Field Support Officer? Check out our Work With Us page »]]>