Barclays launches ‘Smart Start – A Money Management Program’

Published November 2nd, 2009 - 09:43 GMT

Barclays today launched an educational initiative that aims to support and develop the financial capability skills of lower income people in the UAE.

‘Smart Start – A Money Management Program’ has been developed in partnership with Art of Living, an international non-profit non-governmental organisation (NGO), founded over 25 years ago.  Art of Living works in a special consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) as one of the largest volunteers based net works in the world.  Art of Living’s volunteers come together in the service of the global community.

The initiative will reach out to 1,500 individuals offering them training and guidance on a wide range of topics including well-being and helping them to better manage their finances.

“Barclays community investment program aims to increase financial inclusion, helping to build a brighter economic future for the communities in which we operate,” said
Michael Miebach, Managing Director for Barclays Middle East and North Africa, Global Retail and Commercial Banking. “Smart Start, one of the initiatives under our Banking for Brighter Futures program, will enable participants to learn more about managing and planning their finances in a practical and relevant way,” he added.

In the Barclays Emerging Markets division, community investment is grouped under four themes: youth development, preventative health, income generation and financial inclusion, and environmental sustainability and these are aligned to the United Nations Millennium Development goals.  Barclays has committed AED 151, 247.87 to the Smart Start Program.  In 2008, Barclays invested GBP 56.2 million in community projects around the world.

Commenting on the program, Vinay Kapoor, Apex Body member Middle East said, “Smart Start aims to build financial capability within our communities.  The program will help equip participants with the knowledge and skills that will allow them to better plan their financial futures.  It will also highlight the importance of saving for each stage of their lives.”

Participants in the workshops will receive a multi-lingual reference guide. The guide will initially be available in Arabic, English, Hindi, Nepalese and Tamil.  Participants will also be encouraged to share their learnings with family members.  Under future phases of the program, it is planned to increase the number of participants in the workshops, expand the number of languages included in the reference guide as well as take the initiative to other emerging markets where Barclays operates. 

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