My Moola Indigenous Financial Literacy Program
Knowledge Circle Practice Profiles

Overview

Practice focus

Financial literacy and money management education for Indigenous people and communities.

Delivered by

First Nations Foundation (FNF) is a not-for-profit organisation that delivers the My Moola program around Australia. The organisation advocates for better governance and financial literacy standards with government and industry bodies. It also aims to extend research within the area of financial literacy for Indigenous people. More information about FNF can be found here: http://www.fnf.org.au.

The information provided for this practice profile is based on an interview with the Operations & Business Development Manager and the Research & Policy Officer at FNF.

Location(s)

The program has been delivered throughout Australia including at the Rumbalara Aboriginal Cooperative (Shepparton, Victoria), Yaandina Family Centre (Roebourne, Western Australia), the Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency (Melbourne) and the Mullum Mullum Indigenous Gathering Place (Melbourne).

Issue being addressed

The program addresses the financial vulnerability of Indigenous Australians and attempts to contribute to improving individual, family and community wellbeing by building their financial capacity and resilience. A literature review completed as part of the program's evaluation indicates that the program is also addressing the lack of culturally appropriate financial literacy programs for Indigenous people. Research has indicated that improving financial literacy and money management can help Indigenous families build financial assets to achieve their aspirations (and thus individual and collective wellbeing).

Service type

Financial literacy and money management education

Target population

The program is designed for Indigenous people who are in need of financial education and money management skills. 100 percent of the program's clientele are Indigenous.

Aims and objectives

FNF, through the My Moola program, provide culturally relevant and accessible financial education to Indigenous people in order to assist them in increasing their financial literacy. The program supports the development of independent financial skills so that Indigenous people can manage their own financial affairs preventing them from experiencing ongoing economic difficulties.

Program basis

The program is based on building strong partnerships with local Indigenous community organisations. The program is a series of workshops, which can be varied in content and length depending on the community. In its standard form, the workshops cover a range of topics including: financial visions/goal setting, challenges, budgeting tools, managing spending behaviour, managing family expectations, planning for the future, technology, credit, loans and investments.

FNF developed the program content after gaining permission from the ANZ Bank to use and adapt its financial education program MoneyMinded.

Cultural relevance

Local community context

Designed to be adaptable, the program can be tailored to suite the needs of different community groups Australia wide. The program was initially based on a general model, which was then modified in response to community feedback during the formal evaluation process. It has also been adapted in response to local community needs at the time of delivery.

Involvement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders

Committed to a strength-based, community development approach, the My Moola program was developed by Indigenous people for Indigenous people. After FNF received the MoneyMinded package in 2004, it spent two years redeveloping the content so that it was appropriate for an Indigenous audience. This included using clear and plain language, using more Indigenous cultural imagery, delivering the program in a more interactive and narrative style and condensing the program to a 1- or 2-day format.

Indigenous people were involved in the evaluation of the pilot program at Rumbalara and implemented changes following the evaluation's recommendations. An independent evaluator conducted the latest evaluation report (see below); however both the Indigenous facilitators of the program and the program managers were able to advise on the direction and cultural appropriateness of the evaluation.

Cultural practices and materials

The program used a variety of cultural materials as determined by the local community. For example, the program at the Yaandina Family Centre was re-named 'Waba Garrungu' to reflect local concepts of money. Another example of the program's adaption to local cultural norms lay in the program content's emphasis on education about being financially independent in the context of a culture where families are highly interconnected and familial obligations are important. The program's branding and material also feature artwork and designs by Indigenous designers.

Evaluation

Evaluation status

Two evaluations of the My Moola program have been conducted. In 2008 an evaluation was completed on the pilot program at Rumbalara in Shepparton, Victoria.

In 2014, The Brotherhood of St Laurence completed an evaluation of the programs at Yaandina, VACCA and Mullum Mullum. This practice profile focuses on the findings of the 2014 evaluation. The evaluation can be accessed here: http://www.fnf.org.au

Evaluation details

The 2014 evaluation was a process and impact evaluation. Using a participatory approach, the evaluation team worked with program participants, facilitators, providers and partners to design, test and modify evaluation questions and data collection procedures.

Four major questions were developed for the evaluation:

  • What is the impact of My Moola at the individual, family, and community levels?
  • How has My Moola been implemented and adapted to meet contextual needs?
  • To what extent and with what value have community development and partnerships been used in the implementation and delivery of My Moola?
  • What are the policy implications/recommendations of the My Moola program in addressing indigenous financial inclusion at both the local and national levels?

A combination of focus groups and semi-structured interviews were used to collect data. Focus groups were undertaken in 2013 with My Moola program participants in Victoria (in St Kilda, East Brunswick and Healesville) and in Roebourne, Western Australia. Interviews were undertaken with FNF facilitators at each pilot site (VACCA, MMIGP and Yaandina). The CEO of First Nations Foundation was also interviewed, primarily to understand FNF’s approach to partnership development, program adaptation and strategic planning.

The majority of the focus groups and interviews were either led or supported by an Indigenous evaluator. Where an Indigenous evaluator was not available, the focus groups or interviews were undertaken by a professional evaluator experienced in working with Indigenous communities. Transcribed interviews from participants were analysed for evidence of knowledge change, attitude change, behaviour change and program satisfaction.

Post-program focus groups were conducted with 44 participants across all three sites. These focus groups were facilitated jointly by Indigenous and non-Indigenous evaluators, and addressed questions about changes in participant (and family) knowledge, attitudes to money and changes in financial behaviour.

Facilitators and managers from the three organisations and FNF staff were interviewed to discuss how the sites perceived the My Moola resources and training support and to obtain their advice and recommendations to FNF about possible future programs.

The evaluation team also employed the services of two Indigenous evaluators (one in Western Australia, one in Victoria) to support the post-program focus groups and interviews with participants and consultation with Indigenous community organisation stakeholders.

Effectiveness

Most effective aspect

The program managers believed the aspects of the program that were fundamental to its success were its content (particularly the focus on tools and strategies for money management) and the flexibility and adaptability of the program to suit local needs.

Demonstrated outcomes

The 2014 evaluation reported that the program was successful in raising participants’ financial awareness and knowledge in areas such as budgeting and saving. The evaluators found that the program achieved its stated goals of improving participants’ ability to set goals; to develop and apply skills in budgeting and planning for financial commitments; and to become more competent and confident in using financial tools and products. The evaluation report also contains numerous anecdotes from participants attesting to the program's value. These outcomes were shown at the personal and family levels. Due to the small numbers of participants involved at each pilot site, outcomes at the community level were not shown.

In relation to the other evaluation questions, the evaluation found that:

  • My Moola was successfully adapted to each delivery site. For example, at every pilot site the program was adapted (VACCA and MMIGP) or the need for further adaptation was identified (Yaandina). The report found that My Moola attracts interest from organisations, facilitators and participants in part because it provides a supportive environment where individuals can define their own goals.
  • The value of the partnerships between FNF and local organisations was significant. The evaluation report stated that this appears to be the most significant value-add of the program. Further, the relationships that FNF develops with partners helps to strengthen the relationships between partner organisations and their communities.
  • The evaluation also confirmed the need for high quality, flexible and resourced partnership arrangements that enable the program to be better integrated with existing community services.

Since the evaluation the FNF has remained committed to improving the program through using evaluation data, feedback from participants (via online surveys) and stakeholders (quarterly meeting with partners). The organisation has also engaged another evaluator to provide an updated review of the program.

Resourcing

During its time, the program has been resourced from various sources including government agencies, private companies (Rio Tinto), peak industry bodies (Financial Services Council) and from income generated by the program's service fee.

Evidence base and opportunities

For more information on Indigenous financial counselling and business see:

 

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