Empower U - Financial Independence Training
Empower U is a collaboration between 12 organizations in Edmonton that combines financial literacy programming with a 2:1 matched savings component. IAAW delivers this program to Indigenous women over 18 years of age to refine and develop new skills that help them make informed decisions about their money. Matched savings can be used for items that increase earning potential, including further education, appliances, or training.
The weekly 2-hour group session is delivered over 16 weeks. During these sessions, some of the topics covered includes:
- Banking information
- Managing credit
- Awareness of marketing tactics
- Avoiding debt & Recovering from debt
- CRA Scam phone calls & emails
Financial Empowerment Champions
IAAW is partnered with the Bissell Centre and E4C on a multi-year project to expand delivery of proven financial empowerment intervention that improves the financial wellbeing of Edmontonians living in poverty or experiencing homelessness. The partnership was launched last year and has made strides since. The group explores ways to encourage and support municipal and provincial governments as well as other large service providers to include financial empowerment solutions into existing programming for low-income individuals. The organizations are working together to connect with vulnerable and marginalized populations. They also collaborate with existing partners such as the City of Edmonton, Edmonton Financial empowerment Collaborative, Financial Pathways Collaborative and the United Way.
The initiatives in this partnership includes:
- Financial literacy
- Housing supports
- Community collaborations
- Training of volunteers
- Fill service gaps in Edmonton
IAAW has a part-time financial empowerment coordinator who works alongside the E4C staff to develop tools, coordinate the implementation of Financial Empowerment interventions inside their organizations, and train partner organizations’ staff.
As part of this initiative, IAAW began assisting their clients with taxes in the office. IAAW also developed a curriculum for people who are considered very vulnerable. While the original curriculum still addresses vulnerable populations, it assumes that the client has a consistent source of income. The next stage for IAAW is to implement the curriculum through training with communities and organizations.
IAAW recognizes the need for financial literacy in the small communities on the outskirts of the larger urban areas. As a response to this need, IAAW provides services to groups of Indigenous women on request. In the past three years, we have worked in the following communities: Enoch, Ermineskin Cree Nation, Fort McKay First Nation, Fort McMurray, Fort Chipewyan, High Prairie Metis Settlement, High Level, Lac La Biche, and Lethbridge.