12 million Twitter impressions in 3 months shows increasing need in Saudi youth for financial literacy
- Saudi Arabia: Thursday, December 27 - 2012 at 15:55
- PRESS RELEASE
In conclusion of the first phase of SEDCO Holding's Riyali program, which was launched in September as a flagship Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) model to address the needs of educating Saudi youth in financial literacy, a substantial percentage of participating college students have praised the program for increasing their knowledge and perceptions concerning finance.
Riyali is customized to fit the needs of Saudi youth and is based on and backed by Kingdom-wide research.
SEDCO partnered with Operation HOPE, a leading global social empowerment non-profit organization specializing in financial literacy education, in designing the curriculum.
Results from a Kingdom-wide pre-program survey carried out by SEDCO on a thousand young Saudi nationals to determine the market needs show that only 11% of participates between the ages of 18-35 keep track of their spending; although 75% thought they understood the basics of money management.
"This data supports the critical need for financial literacy education in the Kingdom and is a testament to how volunteers who spend only a few hours of their time each day can be a positive force in transforming society for generations to come," Abdulwahab Abed, an ambassador of the program explained.
Commenting on Riyali, Anas Qadi, a student at KAU said, "The program was very useful and truly helped me understand what the term of financial awareness means. I believe it will have a significant impact in allowing me to organize my expenses, savings and budget. Riyali motivated me to learn more about the concepts of financial literacy and I am confident and believe that my participation will have a significant positive impact on my life in the future."
Voicing his views on the importance of CSR and the Riyali program, Amr Banaja, Vice President of Corporate Communications and Marketing said," We want to express our appreciation to the volunteers for all of their exceptional work on the program. We believe that CSR is the foundation and core value that SEDCO and all institutions should promote. The latest Riyali program is a prime example of how we have been successful in constructing a main pillar in supporting community youth initiatives aimed at improving future generations."
The Riyali sessions during the pilot phase were held in Dar Al Hekma, Effat University, University of Business and Technology (UBT) and King Abdul Aziz University.. The pre and post survey results showed some very impressive numbers in terms of change in knowledge and perception of students after the program. Before taking Riyali only 24% of students believed that everyone is capable of financial independence, and the overwhelming belief was that it is limited to people with a strong financial background. After taking Riyali, the number increased to 62%, thereby showing an increase in their overall confidence level toward financial knowledge.
Almost 75% of the students believed that Riyali has helped them change their perception and understanding about budgeting, saving and investments. The change in knowledge after Riyali is also impressive with 20% of the students improving their knowledge about Zakat and 25% about installments.
Most importantly, 92% of the Riyali graduates claimed that they would happily recommend the program to their peers and friends.
Riyali program has successfully harnessed the strength of Social Media channels to spread the message of financial literacy and to reach out to Saudi youth. In only the last 3 months, Riyali Facebook has acquired almost 13,000 fans and 11,000 Twitter followers, making it one of the fastest growing pages in the Kingdom. In the last 3 months alone, Riyali has had 12 million Twitter impressions, which is testament to the importance youth places on this issue and to the strength of the Riyali message.
In 2013, Riyali is geared to undergo vertical as well as expansion growth. There will be focus on new demographics and in taking Riyali to territories beyond Jeddah. In order to keep up with the new methods of learning, Riyali will explore alternative channels of delivery beyond classroom teaching. This will ensure that the message of financial literacy is spread to a wider audience and is more accessible.
Over the years SEDCO and its operating companies that specialize in wealth management, travel, tourism and hospitality, car rental services, and real estate development have been quite active in developing and implementing CSR and community engagement programs including, property valuation seminars, educational programs for pilgrims and regular summer internships for students.
SEDCO was founded more than 30 years ago. Its CSR activities honour and respect the wishes of its founder, the late Sheikh Salem bin Mahfouz.
He believed in supporting the welfare and development of communities across Saudi Arabia.
This belief drives the modern day CSR direction for the SEDCO Group with programs that focus on education and enabling human capital development by heavily investing in empowering citizens and residents with the knowledge required to attain a respectable standard of living.
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