If money talks, as the saying goes, then CARE International is helping families in Tanna have plenty more conversations.

This week in Tanna, staff from CARE International, World Vision, National Bank of Vanuatu and Nasituan Christian Organisation along with their spouses, have participated in the pilot of new family financial management training called ‘Tugeta Yumi Save Mekem Jenis’.

The program has been adopted for the Vanuatu context from an approach which was originated in PNG, where CARE helps coffee farming families better manage their finances. With support from the Australian Government, CARE Vanuatu ran the five day training program in Tanna from 12- 15 June.

Women often have less say when it comes to discussing finance and household matters, though they are equally affected by the decisions. CARE Vanuatu’s Tugeta Yumi Mekem Jenis helps couples to better manage household finances together by emphasising the importance of mutual understanding for each other’s roles, communication and trust. To make it easier for people to understand financial language and concepts, which can sometimes be complicated, the training use lots of visual tools and practical activities.

Many participants are learning a lot about themselves and their relationships. “Most of the time, I’m the only one making decision in the household on behalf of my family,” says Japheth Kahu, a participant from World Vision. “But after the first session of this training, I feel like what I’m doing is wrong and I need to include my family and my wife in these decisions because most of my decisions are not benefitting them but are for my personal benefit.“

Jocelyn Charlie from Nasituan Christian Service Organisation, a 20-year-old girl who looks after her family finances, couldn’t agree more. “Most of the time, my father uses the family money to buy things for himself or to benefit others other than the family. But after the training, when he asks for money, I will talk to him more about what he plans to spend the money on.”

It’s not only communities who will benefit from this Family Financial Management Training, but also the CARE staff who have been trained to train others and were the participants in the first training pilot. “This training has changed how I manage financial matters and discuss home related issues with my family,” says John Bill, one of CARE Vanuatu’s training facilitators.

“This training has been an eye-opener for me and my partner. We have plenty discussions after training sessions each day and we came up with an idea that my next salary after the training this week, will be managed by both of us,” says Paul Shem, one of CARE Vanuatu’s staff who attended the training with his wife.

“We are proud to pilot this training in Tanna with our staff and their partners,” says CARE’s Gender Equality Program Manager, Tegan Molony. “This training is about more than just budgeting – it’s about developing understanding and respect within families so they can share responsibilities and managing their household more effectively.”