The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have enough; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little. Franklin D. Roosevelt

Skills Development: Village Trainers Program

Lack of education and a life of poverty form a vicious circle. So millions of rural poor, without the education or ability to support themselves, cannot afford to send their children to school.  To break this cycle, people need access to basic training that provides them with the practical skills to earn a living, manage money, and build financial or household assets.

Good Return’s training curriculum builds on knowledge transfer to develop capability. Simply put, learning about savings will not help anyone until they actually start to put aside money, be it in a tin box or a newly set up account. Attending a course is just the beginning. The real change happens when participants apply their learning, adopt new attitudes and change their behaviours for the long term.

We work with our microfinance institution (MFI) partners to assess training needs in their communities, design learning materials, train their trainers, and provide ongoing monitoring, coaching, and support.

» Click here to see what makes a good Village Trainer


Deliver beyond the classroom

We work with adults who have little to no education and so have limited literacy and numeracy abilities. Our skills development programs take a participatory approach, using non-formal, adult learning principles typically delivered visually or through stories. Training exercises are hands-on, because the best way to learn is by doing.

Learning new skills is only the first step. Good trainers don’t stop at simply delivering the training – they follow up with coaching, ongoing support, and encouragement. Our trainers make sure that participants continue to put learning into practice well after the course is finished.

Trainers deliver training courses; good trainers change lives.

Deliver what’s needed where it’s needed

Trainers’ days start early, end late, and are full of bumpy roads travelled in all conditions. Their makeshift classrooms can be anywhere – on woven mats in someone’s house, under a mango tree, or on a porch. Our trainers are master of improvisation.

In our financial education program, participants learn ways to manage their money – practical skills on how to understand their family’s financial circumstances, manage money and debt wisely, and create a savings plan to achieve their goals.

In sustainable livelihoods program, participants learn ways to earn income. Practical lessons explain how to start or grow a business, or teach improved agricultural practices that boost yields and create a sustainable farm.

Inspire confidence

People living in poverty are not in positions of power or privilege. They often face a host of social and cultural barriers in their communities. Good trainers work to build their trainees’ confidence. They ask them to share their dreams, and show them what is achievable with hard work and perseverance. They encourage participants to believe in their skills and abilities, even in the face of setbacks.

Confidence in knowing how to make informed financial decisions helps people become more active players in their community. Beyond the economic benefits, confidence empowers and inspires people to look forwards to a better future, one they can build for themselves and their families.

» More on our skills development programs

Financial education: Ways to manage money wisely

Reaching and teaching previously unbanked people turns them into financially aware consumers able to make positive financial choices. They need to have knowledge, skills and attitudes, all of which flow from financial education.

Our financial education programs cover topics such as:

  • Assess financial circumstances and priorities
  • Set financial goals and follow a savings plan
  • Make informed decisions about financial products and services
  • Protect consumer rights while meeting a borrower’s responsibilities
  • Develop and build assets for a better future

Financial literacy class in Cambodia


Class in Nepal

Class in Fiji

Ginger growing in Nepal

Sustainable livelihoods: Ways to earn a living

We focus on helping people grow sustainable and diversified income streams – resilient businesses that can survive both the good times and the bad. We also raise environmental awareness, reducing the use of pesticides and promoting recycled products, where possible.

Our Village Trainers run livelihoods training classes such as:

  • Sustainable agriculture
  • Raising livestock
  • Mechanical repairs
  • Sewing
  • Weaving
  • Handicrafts

People also need to have basic business skills for their new enterprise to thrive. Our small business course focuses on:

  • Identifying business opportunities
  • Developing a marketing plan
  • Bookkeeping and budgeting
  • Food hygiene
  • Small business management

 Chicken raising in Nepal

Banana growing in the Philippines

Starting a poultry business in Timor-Leste

Meet Our Village Trainers

Our Village Trainers love what they do, because they can see the positive impact of their training on the participants. Our trainers often become role models and leaders in their own communities.

Here are the four Village Trainers who let us follow them through their working journey. Read their stories to find out about their challenges, joy, and hope at work and in life.

Curious to know more? Please send in a question – ask us anything.


Our Plans and Results

Good Return helps build the capacity of MFI partners to deliver training that enables their clients to improve their financial well-being and livelihood. Over the past year, we have been able to develop MFI staff and many former clients into teachers who deliver high quality training to clients. As new skills improve their capability and well-being, we assist our partners as they strive to meet both financial and social performance goals.

In the 2015-2018 planing period we intend to further develop our training curriculum, teaching materials and delivery methods. With a focus on financial education and agricultural skill training, we will continue to expand our ‘faculty’ of MFI staff and client trainers.


“Good Return provided technical support for our training, especially on financial literacy, which has proved extremely beneficial to our clients who once held little know-how on everyday banking transactions and the benefits of savings. We can see the benefits the training has had on our clients. Their savings are increasing, withdrawals are becoming less frequent. People are modifying their spending habits and there are behavioural changes occurring not only at the household level but in the community.”

Luzviminda Coronado, Managing Director of SECDEP