On January 30, Center for Social Development (CSD) research associate professor Jin Huang delivered the first national financial capability training for Chinese social workers. Speaking to more than 800 attendees, Huang discussed broadening the term “financial literacy” to the concept of “financial capability,” or having both the knowledge to make optimal financial decisions and also access to beneficial financial services and policies.
“Frontline social workers often serve clients to increase their access to financial services, improve their financial knowledge and skills and promote financial well-being. For many social workers, this is the first time they access financial capability training,” said Huang.
Working in close collaboration with host organizations—the China Association of Social Workers (the Chinese equivalent of the National Association of Social Workers), the People’s Bank of China’s financial education foundation and the micro-insurance nonprofit organization YiBao Plan—CSD helped to initiate and design the project. Moreover, CSD supported the preparation of the training curriculum and the evaluation mechanism.
CSD has played a leading role in introducing and promoting the concepts of financial capability and financial social work to China’s social work profession. With consultation support from CSD, the China Council of Social Work Education (the Chinese equivalent of the Council of Social Work Education) established the financial social work commission. This national training represents a successful beginning of the financial social work commission’s work to promote professional financial capability services.
Huang said, “Financial inclusion is an important goal actively promoted by the People’s Bank of China and the whole financial system. It has achieved remarkable success in financial inclusion. The China Association of Social Workers see the great potential for social workers to promote financial inclusion for low-income and minoritized populations. We social workers have helped define the new field on financial capability and financial inclusion.”
Huang’s training session kicked off the first of 22 financial capability sessions to take place over 2 months. Session topics range from financial policies, products and services, financial knowledge and skills, specific financial social work practice and financial capability programs. Of note, one session focuses on Child Development Accounts.
“Child Development Accounts as an example of universal, progressive and lifelong asset-building policies have been piloted in China. We are using this training opportunity to disseminate the knowledge and lessons we have learnt from the global CDA policies,” said Huang.
As further evidence of the burgeoning field of financial social work in the country, the China China Association of Social Workers will hold additional in-person trainings in several large Chinese cities, including Beijing, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Fuzhou, and Ningbo. The trainings will enable social workers in these cities to design and practice financial capability services.
In closing, Huang said of the inaugural training event, “It is exciting to have so many social workers attend the training … They asked many great questions and I am inspired by their excitement and passion to improve financial capability for all people. This represents a promising start for the program as China’s financial social work field continues to grow.”