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Impact Stories

Jessica determined to educate her people on financial literacy after successfully completing CEFI’s Training of Trainers Training.

Photo Captions:

Photo 1 – A male participant delivering a presentation during the ToT training.

Photo 2 – Group presentations during the ToT training.

Photo 3 – Jessica Kuambu receiving her certificate from CEFI Executive Director Mr. Saliya Ranasinghe.

Photo 4 – The ToT trainee participants following the mini graduation pose for a group photo with CEFI’s Executive Director Mr. Saliya Ranasinghe (sitting 3rd from right) and Deputy Executive Director Mr. Peter Samuel (sitting 2nd form right).

Photo 5 – Jessica Kuambu with proudly showing her certificate after successfully completing the ToT Training.

Photo 6 – Jessica Kuambu (middle) with her colleagues from the ENBSL, Lavini Taraika (CEO-ENBSL) and Peter Wartovo (Business Development Officer-ENBSL), who also attended the five day ToT training.

Photo 7– Group discussion activity during the ToT training.


April 30, 2024

Growing up in the 1990s in Bialla, West New Britain Province, a young Jessica Kuambu witnessed firsthand how people from her area spent cash recklessly without giving a single thought about saving.

The oil palm boom in the province caused an overflow of cash into the province hence Jessica to help her people one day to learn about savings.

“When I was in high school my parents had an oil palm block and during the harvesting period there were so much money floating around, people did not know what to do with it, the only thing they knew was spending it recklessly,” revealed Jessica.

“My father also had a small trade store and on weekends we would make around K80,000 to K100, 00 in cash. My parents would put all that money under their mattress and sleep on it until Monday, and go to the bank and deposit all these money,” she recalled vividly.

“During school holiday’s, going back home, I sometimes question why can’t OPIC or Hargy conduct some training to teach these people how to save their money,” thought Jessica.

This question 30 years on motivated Jessica to one day help her people know about saving and budgeting their money.

On Friday 19th April 2024, Jessica was among 31 participants certified by CEFI to be trainers in Financial Literacy.

The graduating batch were part of the first Expression of Interest-Training of Trainers training facilitated by CEFI in their Port Moresby office.

Jessica, who currently works as a Manager –Sales and Marketing with East New Britain Savings and Loans (ENBSL) in Kokopo, attended the training with two of her colleagues, CEO Lavinia Taraika and Business Development Officer Peter Wartovo.

Having an ENBSL branch in Bialla is the spring board for Jessica to use to impart the knowledge and skills she gained from the five days training, to her local community.

She revealed that there was a great need for financial inclusion activities and financial literacy programs to be implemented in local governments in the rural area.

She added they were unable to attend to the high number of request for financial literacy training due to the limited number of trainers but now that is about change following the training.

“We are increasing the number of trainers in the ENBSL, so we can go out and train many people as we can in financial literacy in all the four districts in ENB,” she said.

“We (ENBSL) are also expanding throughout the New Guinea Islands so in this capacity we are able to cover more territory not just inside ENB but in nearby provinces as well.”

For Jessica the training has equipped her well to return home and encourage her people to open bank accounts, save their money and empower them with financial freedom.





Media Releases

Ok Tedi Development Foundation (OTDF) and Centre for Excellence in Financial Inclusion (CEFI) Forge Partnership to Empower Western Province SMEs.

The Ok Tedi Development Foundation (OTDF) and the Centre for Excellence in Financial Inclusion (CEFI) today (Tuesday 12th March) officially entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).This agreement solidifies their collaboration to implement a Financial Literacy Program aimed at empowering small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and women-led SMEs in selected regions of the Western Province.

Under the MoU, CEFI will conduct Training of Trainers (ToT) sessions in designated areas, equipping 25 trainers with the necessary skills and knowledge in personal money management concepts. These trained individuals will then be responsible for imparting direct retail training to 1,000 SMEs and women-led SMEs within the Western Province.

The signing ceremony, held in Port Moresby, saw Mr. Andrew Mari, Acting Chief Executive Officer and Executive Manager Program Services of OTDF, and Mr. Saliya Ranasinghe, Executive Director of CEFI, formalize the partnership.

The primary objective of this collaboration is to provide comprehensive financial literacy training and facilitate financial inclusivity for SMEs and women-led SMEs in the Western Province, particularly in Community Mine Continuation Agreement (CMCA) regions.

Mr. Andrew Mari expressed his gratitude for the partnership, stating, “This marks the beginning of a crucial initiative for us at OTDF. This will be the first MoU that we (OTDF) will be signing with CEFI and we are privileged that CEFI will partner with OTDF to roll out the financial literacy training targeting respective women associations,” said Mr. Mari

He further emphasized the significance of the MoU in empowering women associations financially and enabling them to meet the necessary requirements for advancing their SME businesses in Western Province.

In response, Mr. Saliya Ranasinghe affirmed CEFI’s commitment to the partnership, stating, “Financial literacy is pivotal to the development process in the Western Province. We are eager to work with OTDF in rolling out the Financial Literacy program and empowering SMEs.”

Mr. Ranasinghe encouraged women association leaders to utilize the training effectively, highlighting their role as community role models. He also outlined CEFI’s plans to expand financial services in the Western Province, collaborating with local financial institutions to bring services closer to the people.

“We are looking forward to this partnership as financial literacy is going to be the corner stone in this whole development process that we would like to roll out in Western province,” he said.

He highlighted that Papua New Guinean has 16,500 access points that includes banks, sub-banks, agencies, eftpos machines and ATMS.

He explained that CEFI would like to expand this services in Western province by working with financial institutions in the province to bring the financial services closer to the people.

“Another important step that we would like to proceed in this particular agreement as we maintain a very good repo with the financial sectors in the country and we will be working with the banks to open up agencies in those respective areas and to bring the financial services to the door steps of this SME clients,” he said.

He concluded by affirming CEFI’s commitment to monitoring the progress of the program, ensuring its impact on the lives of the people in the Western Province, with the intention of replicating the model in other provinces.

This partnership between OTDF and CEFI represents a significant step towards enhancing financial literacy and empowering SMEs in the Western Province, fostering sustainable economic growth and development.


Image Captions:

Image 1.  Mr. Andrew Mari (Right/Acting CEO & Executive Manager Program Services-OTDF) & Mr. Saliya Ranasinghe (Executive Director-CEFI) sign the MoU.

Image 2. Mr. Andrew Mari (Right/Acting CEO & Executive Manager Program Services-OTDF) & Mr. Saliya Ranasinghe (Executive Director-CEFI) shaking hands to formalise the partnership.


For further information on the work of CEFI please contact CEFI Communications Team: +675 3225300, email: lomaro@thecefi.org  or visit www.thecefi.org

Post Archieves

NCSL and CEFI sign MOU for Financial Literacy Training

Financial information is vital to making informed decisions and NASFUND Contributors Savings and Loan Society (ncsl), as a financial institution, endeavours to provide necessary training and awareness to empower people to make good financial decisions.

On Monday August 1, ncsl and Centre for Excellence in Financial Inclusion (CEFI) signed a Memorandum of Understanding for Financial Literacy Training.

Under the MOU, CEFI will provide a ‘Train the Trainers’ program to ncsl staff to empower them to go out and conduct educational awareness on financial literacy to the Society’s growing membership.

CEFI’s Financial Literacy Program will train ncsl officers on how to facilitate and deliver financial literacy information to its members so they are empowered to make appropriate financial decisions, including accessing the right types of financial products and services that address their business and household needs at reasonable costs.

ncsl Chief Executive Officer, Vari Lahui said ncsl is pleased to partner with a recognised institution in the country that specialises in financial literacy training and is also mandated to drive programs on financial inclusion.

“Through our Lending, we have noticed that our members entering into numerous borrowing arrangements with other financial institutions at exorbitant costs and we believe the partnership with CEFI allows us to gain the knowledge and experience to reach out to our members in such situations and assist them with advice,” he stated.

CEFI Advisor, Saliya Ranasinghe said CEFI is privileged and happy to partner with the most innovative and progressive society in the country.

“We are very pleased to work with the largest savings and loan society by membership size to train staff and clients to make a difference in the community through this program.

“Financial literacy is something everybody in this country needs. PNG has a lot of money but the problem is how to manage it. This partnership between the two organisations now enables progress towards better managing the issue of better financial management,” Ranasinghe said.

The MOU will initially run for a period of 12 months and ncsl aims to reach out to as many members as possible and will provide progressive monthly updates to CEFI as part of the agreement with the aim of enhancing the Program where necessary.

Media Releases

Launching of the Third National Financial Inclusion Strategy 2023-2027

The third National Financial Inclusion Strategy 2023-2027 was launched at the Hilton Hotel on 25th April, 2023 by the Chief Secretary, Ivan Pomaleu, OBE.

The Chief Secretary was honoured to launch the 3rd National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS) 2023-2027 at this great event, stating the importance of Financial Inclusion in the country.

“We (the government) believe that financial inclusion is key to integrating the unbanked into the formal economy, which helps to alleviate poverty, make the poor less vulnerable to financial shocks, reduces economic inequality and raises living standards for all,” said the Chief Secretary.

The Chief Secretary emphasized specifically on how the NFIS is receptive to global trends, emerging issues, digital financial services and gender.

Mr. Pomaleu also highlighted the importance of the financial inclusion strategy in embracing the green finance policy and contribution of financial inclusion in financial stability for the unbanked and underbanked individuals and small businesses.

He said financial inclusion is the development priority for the government due to increase in income inequality between the lower- and higher-class societies.

“Financial inclusion is one of the key enablers of many of the Sustainable Development Goals by the United Nations and serves as a powerful element for progress in education, health and other basic public needs, as well as contributing even to climate change and sustainable development,” he said.

Bank of Papua New Guinea Acting Governor, Mrs. Elizabeth Genia in presenting the NFIS stated that the Bank recognises that expanding financial services can encourage the participation of more Papua New Guineans, especially those in rural areas and urban settlements, in development activities in both the formal and informal sectors of the economy, and that the benefits of growth and technology need to be widely shared.

“Many Papua New Guineans find themselves on the fringes of the monetary economy with little understanding of, or access to financial services. Improvement in the proportion of the banked population and the financial literacy of this population will empower them to improve outcomes in savings, investment and sharing of the benefits of economic growth,” said Mrs. Genia.

The Acting Governor stated that the overall objective of Third National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS3) is to reach 2 million unbanked population by 2027 of whom 50% will be women.

“It’s also important that the strategy focuses on reaching our women and youth. Access to financial services for women and youth will remain a challenge. As indicated in the strategy, use of new technology and innovative business models will overcome barriers to access and improve inclusion for women and youth,” said the Acting Governor.

Assistant Governor, Financial System Stability Group – Bank of PNG, Mr. George Awap thanked and commended the stakeholders for recognising financial inclusion as an essential component of Papua New Guinea’s development plan.

“The Central Bank embedded various initiatives in PNG to fight financial exclusion can be traced back to the development of National Financial Inclusion and Financial Literacy Strategy 2014-2015 followed by the Second National Financial Inclusion Strategy 2016-2020,” said Mr. Awap.

“Building on the success of the first and second national strategy implementations and lessons learnt in the process, CEFI and BPNG developed the third NFIS 2023-2027,” he added.

CEFI Financial Inclusion Advisor, Mr. Saliya Ranasinghe, was grateful to the institutions that participated in the studies of the third NFIS strategy.

“The NFIS basically outlines building capacities, establishing partnerships with public and private sector creating space for innovation and using technology to reach the unreached,” said Mr. Ranasinghe during his NFIS presentation.

Mr. Ranasignhe in his presentation of the NFIS, highlighted the main strategic objectives which were, build financial competency through financial literacy and education, create an enabling policy and regulatory environment, develop effective public and private sector engagement, develop an enabling environment for inclusive green finance and deepened financial services.

Chief Executive Officer’s from nine financial institutions, including BSP, Kina, Westpac, Digicel, Savings and Loans Federation, Nationwide Micro Bank, Womens Miro Bank, People’s Micro Bank, Kada Poroman Microfinance, participated in a signing of contract ‘I-Commit’ with the Acting Governor of the Bank of PNG, Mrs. Elizabeth Genia.

I-Commit (Institutional Commitment of Measurable Inclusion Targets) is a set of measurable commitments by the financial service providers to achieve financial inclusion targets and thereby contribute to sustainable and inclusive economic growth in PNG.

The launch ended on a high note with the announcement of the Financial Inclusion Excellence Awards (FIEA) by the Assistant Governor, FSSG Mr. George Awap.

The awards will be given in the following categories: Financial Inclusion and Deepening Award, Financial Innovation Award, Inclusive Green Finance Award, Financial Inclusion Media Contribution Award, Financial Inclusion Advocate Award and the Financial Inclusion New Player Award which will be awarded in November 2024.

Impact Stories

Impact Story 2 – Cecilia Pepson

How digital business and finance education has revived the business of a determined woman entrepreneur after the Covid19 pandemic and sparked a passion for financial inclusion in her village.

It was January 2020 and the world was on lockdown. The Novel Corona Virus had swept over the world striking down millions of people. There was a pandemic on the loose. And it was not just human lives that were affected.

The global economy had come to a standstill. Restrictions on the movement of people meant businesses could not sell goods and services.

The results would be devastating for all businesses, sectors and people alike worldwide.

Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) in Papua New Guinea were the hardest hit.

As the hold of the pandemic slowly eased and the world slowly began to re-open, many businesses would struggle to recover without help.

However, embracing innovation proved to be the game changer for many business owners in the recovery process.

Cecilia Pepson, a businesswoman in the Port Moresby Real Estate Industry, is one such case.

Originally from the Autonomous Region of Bougainville (ABG) and married to a man from the Western Highlands Province, Cecilia owns and manages the Harbor View Apartments in downtown Port Moresby.

She had a thriving business which she started in the year 2004 providing accommodation to expatriates and tourists.

Before the year 2019 ended, the looming pandemic would see all her foreign tenants packed and headed back home overseas.

Just like many MSME owners, Cecilia was not ready for that. She was not a business professional with a college education to help her respond strategically. She was just an entrepreneur that made an income from renting her apartments. As the first months of 2020 came, her revenue stream had dried up as borders were closed and the shutdown of cities became effective.

What pushed Cecilia into becoming an entrepreneur was her desire to support her husband and afford the best education they could for their children.

Her husband was a former diplomat, Ambassador Gabriel Pepson.

For ten years, her children had been exposed to quality education in Europe where her husband was posted as the PNG Ambassador to the European Union. When his term ended and the family returned to PNG, Cecilia shunned the thought of her children missing out on quality education she knew existed overseas. But to do this, the couple would need a profitable business to support them financially. The Port Moresby real estate market provided exactly what they needed.

The business had helped to accomplish her dreams of providing quality education to her children and a dependable regular flow of income. However, after fifteen (15) years in operation, the implications of the Covid19 pandemic set her business on a downward spiral.

As Cecilia contemplated her next move in 2021, a friend from the Bank of PNG suggested she enquire with CEFI for business advice.

Around that time, CEFI was about to implement “The Training and Mentoring Program for Women-Led Businesses.” An initiative by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) with funding from the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi), the program provided virtual training on financial literacy, business planning and debt management, and e-commerce to women entrepreneurs.

An important aim of the initiative was to help women-owned businesses recover from the effects of the Covid19 pandemic.

Cecilia was ecstatic to learn about the training and quickly expressed her interest to attend the program.

Within six months of completing her training, Cecilia breathed life back into her business by applying her newfound business skills. By the end of December 2021, her e-commerce skills had brought in tenants for her apartments.

“Using the knowledge gained from the training, I was able to advertise my business online and now have five new tenants renting my apartments” Cecilia said.

Her confidence has grown as a businesswoman.

The training has also enabled her to connect with other women SME owners. The sharing of ideas and approaches to managing various challenges from others has greatly helped Cecilia with her business.

CEFI continued to track her progress. In early 2022, Cecilia was one of five (5) women entrepreneurs that benefited from debt counseling from Mi Bank initiated by CEFI.

This determined businesswoman is also the President of the Lenoke Women’s Association (LWA) of South Bougainville where she is from.

As her understanding of finance and business management increased, she began to see the importance of financial literacy and desired it for her people.

In collaboration with Mi Bank, Cecilia organised for agents to visit her village in May 2022 enabling 73 people in Lenoke to open bank accounts. Those who had mobile phones also activated mobile banking services after opening an account. This was the first time for people in her village to have access to such bank services this easily.

LWA posted on its Facebook Page in May 2022.

“Banking the unbanked…. 95% of the people in Lenoke have never been to a bank. The sheer thought of standing in long queues for hours, to be sent home every day for a week until full requirements are met is a hindrance. Cash is safely tucked into a secret space of their thatched roof until a fire guts the bush material hut. Sending their money straight into the bank is revolutionary”.

LWA is now Mi Bank’s agent serving the South Bougainville area to open more personal savings accounts.

Apart from growing her business, Cecilia now wants to partner with CEFI to expand financial literacy in her Lenoke constituency. She wants her people to receive virtually retail financial literacy training as she did.

Embracing innovation is having a ripple effect on finance inclusion expansion.


CEFI graduates trainees in financial literacy

CEFI for the first time issued student identification numbers to its graduating trainees for the purpose of accessing a financial literacy application that CEFI is developing and planning to launch soon.
Head Trainer Jill Pijui made the announcement during presentation of certificates for 19 participants in a week long EOI (Expression of Interest) Training of Trainers Training.
“We will be doing back tracking of all our trainees whether Retail Training or Training of Trainers for the mass issue of student ID numbers,” Ms. Pijui said.
Ms. Pijui explained that CEFI is in the process of developing a financial literacy application (FL App) where these FL App will act as a reminder tool for the 250,000 trainers trained by CEFI.
“The FL App will remind the trainees to do their savings plan, banking, basic household budget, tracking of income and expenses and cash flow training, all these topics were covered in their respective training,” Ms. Pijui added.
In order to access the FL App, Ms. Pijui explained that all trained trainers will have to have a student ID number in order to access the application.
The 19 participants from the EOI Training of Trainers trainees were also the first batch to receive their student ID at the end of their training.
The EOI Training of Trainers training saw 14 female participants among among 19 trainees to be certified as trainers to train financial literacy in their respective communities.
Both employed and SME training providers attended the training from Monday, May 08th to 11th, which comprised of two women from the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, a participant each from Wewak and Enga while the rest of the trainees were from Port Moresby.

CEFI conducts second WSME workshop

The second series of training for the Online Training for Women (WSME) commenced this week (Tuesday May 02nd to Thursday May 04th), for Ni-Vanuatu WSME from Vanuatu.
Vanwods Microfinance Institution is the implementing agency in Port Vila, Capital of Vanuatu.
The Vanuatu WSME trainee participants virtually attended training through zoom from the Reserve Bank of Vanuatu’s Conference Room.
The WSME’s received training in Digital Financial Literacy, e-Commrece, Business Planning and Debt Management.
PNG and Solomon Islands training is scheduled respectively for May 23 to May 25, 2023.
The training is an initiative funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and facilitated by the #cefi Centre for Excellence in Financial Inclusion.

CEFI Launches Online Certified Microfinance Professional Course Batch 2

The Centre for Excellence in Financial Inclusion (CEFI) and the PNG Institute of Banking and Business Management (IBBM) had an open day to officially commence the applications for the second batch of the Online Certified Microfinance Course on Monday February 20, 2023 in Port Moresby.

The Online Certified Microfinance Professional Course was first launched in 2021 with the first batch of 23 participants successfully on boarded and which will be graduating in April 2023. CEFI in partnership with IBBM created the Microfinance Professionals Course in Papua New Guinea to fulfil the need of the industry and to create a pool of professionals for the expanding industry. The course will help banking staff and banking and finance students obtain professional qualification to be successful in a dynamic environment and acquire new skills in microfinance and build competence in areas to meet the diverse needs of different market segments.

IBBM Lecturer, Ignatius Timothy presented the course and indicated that the materials cover aspects of important microfinance subjects under three levels. Level 1 is a certificate course designed for frontline staff in microfinance institutions who wish to build Strong Customer Services in Microfinance skills for undertaking customer service, marketing and credit lending roles. Level 2 certificate course is an advanced program and is intended for those who wish to deepen and expand their competence in Delinquency Management in Microfinance skills. And Level 3 course certificate is an advanced certificate designed for those who wish to develop an advanced level of Financial Management in Microfinance skills. And in all aspects of this skills will enable an individual ability to apply new skills and judgement in a more complex business operations at a higher management level.

IBBM CEO, Susil Kongoi acknowledged the ongoing support from CEFI, financial institutions and stakeholders for the partnership with IBBM in continuing the online microfinance courses.

The Executive Director for CEFI, Mr. Garima Tonga encouraged financial institutions to work in partnership with CEFI to boost microfinance in the country, through creating an enabling platform for their staff to learn and grow in the industry. He further welcomes them to start nominating their staff to attend the course, as batch number 2 nominees.

“It is an exciting program (Online Certified Microfinance Professional Course), and CEFI has developed this new e-Learning platform and will continue to look forward to maintain it with the software developer and IBBM and try to bring the best out of this program to the partner financial institutions.”

“CEFI is looking forward to working with IBBM and Bank of PNG as we take this platform to the next level,” Mr. Tongia said.

Bank of Papua New Guinea Acting Assistant Governor, Mr. George Awap in his keynote address re-emphasised the important objective of the course, which is to build a pipeline of professionals for the growing microfinance industry. Mr. Awap stated that microfinance is a growing industry and acknowledged microfinance banks for using technology to reach rural Papua New Guinea.

“(This course) provides greater opportunity to financial institutions to train as many people as they can because if they understand the principles and concepts of microfinance in both the supply side and the demand side, to improve customer satisfaction.”

“It is also encouraging to note that 17 people have completed the Batch One Course successfully and will be graduating in April this year,” Mr. Awap said.

The Certified Online Microfinance Professional Course was introduced in 2021 to provide an opportunity to obtain theoretical knowledge on the concept of microfinance. Learnings from the Microfinance Expansion Project, microfinance training is incorporated into this course as the sustainable arm of the concept. An important aspect of online training is that you can study during your free time without disrupting your other work.

Interested applicants can email info@thecefi.org for more information on the Online Certified Microfinance Professional Course.

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