A New Initiative of our Scholarship Program: Monthly Allowances

Many of us can remember from our own childhoods receiving “pocket money”, or an allowance. Small amounts of money handed to a child are intended to provide a meaningful lesson, as well as a rite of passage on the path to becoming an adult. It is with these small allowances that our own parents or care-givers tried to teach us the value of money, how to spend it wisely, or save it for a rainy day. For children, though, who come from severely economically disadvantaged homes, this important lesson may never be offered, nor ever be learned.

In a 2017 study published in Psychology Journal, British researchers Adrian Furnham and Rebecca Milner found: “Early studies [show] parents’ money education practices and children’s knowledge and use of money found that children who received pocket money were more sophisticated with regards to financial decisions than those who did not. Other studies show that those who received pocket money throughout their childhoods were also economically more competent between the ages of 16 and 18 years.”

The Foundation For Tomorrow seeks to prepare our scholars for success in the classroom, as well as the future ahead. To that end, TFFT provides allowances to each of our scholars. These allowances, part of TFFT’s Scholarship Program, are distributed monthly to every scholar, with amounts depending on the scholar’s age, where their home is, and the distance their home is from their school. Just over Tsh9,000, or $4.00USD, are given to primary scholars each month, while secondary and college students receive just over Tsh10,000, or $4.40 monthly.

TFFT Academic Affairs and Students Support Coordinator Haruni Kidungu has seen scholars make choices for day-to-day items as well as saving for the future. “One scholar, in particular, saved his allowance to contribute to the family income by buying chickens,” he reports. “But many others have saved their allowance to buy a cellular phone, allowing them to stay in touch with their family and friends.”

Monthly allowances are intended for everyday needs such as having a uniform mended, having a haircut, purchasing special snacks at the school canteen, and transport to or from school at the school holidays. TFFT scholars are not required to spend their money on these items, merely advised. The TFFT Team advises scholars to spend their allowance on important things such as maintaining their appearance and managing transport.

“This is an important window into our world as TFFT,” said TFFT Country Director Thabisani Ncube. “I firmly believe this ‘financial socialization’ that we engage in as TFFT ensures to a large extent that our scholars gain essential skills in how to manage their finances; and prioritize needs versus wants.”