IGP Stories

Creating pathways towards more inclusive and sustainable prosperity: the case of Money A+E

Shuaib Jalal-Eddeen

8 November 2022

People around the world have faced significant challenges to building and maintaining a secure livelihood, whether because of the Covid-19 pandemic or high levels of inflation. How are people dealing with these massive challenges to inclusive and sustainable prosperity? A new report by the Institute for Global Prosperity’s (IGP) Financing Prosperity Network argues that people centred approaches that champion collective values and practices can create expansive pathways to prosperity. These arguments are grounded in new research IGP has conducted with Money A+E, a social enterprise based in Newham, London providing money advice and education.

The three-year study has measured the impact that Money A+E has on the lives of its service users. “With Money A+E it's more about the long term – changing mindsets towards money, how people handle their money in the long run.” says Zainab, a service user.

Key findings from the report show that Money A+E services have a range of direct impacts on service users, and indirect impacts on service users’ social networks and communities.

• Money A+E’s services impact people’s economic skills and knowledge and enable them to engage more effectively with things like the state benefit system.

• Money A+E’s services provide a range of social benefits, including creating community, helping people to positively change their social relationships and addressing challenges that stem from intersections of race, gender and money.

• Research participants reported mental and physical health benefits. As Sahil, a service user mentioned, “the issue of debt looming over your head… puts a lot of pressure on you.” Engaging with Money A+E helped relieve that pressure. Other service users reported significant improvements in their energy levels, which in turn, motivated them to look for training, employment and enrol into college.

• The positive impact of Money A+E’s services ‘ripple’ out in time and space as the quote by Zainab shows above. By inculcating new skills and developing new knowledge, service users continue to benefit from their engagement over time.

• Money A+E’s service provision is characterised as being non-judgemental, empathetic and responsive.

The findings from the report help to theorize how Money A+E services create pathways towards more inclusive and sustainable prosperity by engaging with people ‘holistically’ (‘as real people’), by drawing on the power of individuals’ broader social networks to spread knowledge and build collective capacity, and by championing values including empathy and responsiveness. Such an approach works because it thinks about the creation of prosperity in multi-faceted ways, that exceed a narrow focus on issues of money and finance.

Read the full report here: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10158693/

Shuaib Jalal-Eddeen is a 2nd year PhD student at the UCL Institute for Global Prosperity and is currently researching the everyday experiences of new financial technologies in Nigeria. His research interests include credit-debt, financial inclusion and financialization.

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