Tuesday, October 24, 2017

All in one, One in All: How I learned the invaluable value of cooperation through “Loy Loy”, a board game for financial literacy

Cross-posted from Medium.com
by Lara Nguyen, summer intern at UCI Blum Center 

As a typical Millennial, I find that our generation is committed to finding sustainable solutions for poverty, except we don’t know where to start. While summer interning for the UCI Blum Center for Poverty Alleviation, I was given the opportunity to research and develop various poverty solutions for disadvantaged communities. One project in particular that was especially impactful was “Loy Loy — The Savings Game” –a financial education board game developed by UC Irvine’s Institute for Money, Technology and Financial Inclusion (IMTFI). It was developed at a workshop conducted by IMTFI (you can see inception video here). This revolutionary game is educational, thrilling and has the potential to improve financial literacy across the globe. Even better, it was “aggressively fun” as described by my peers who tested the game!

This past spring, the Blum Center hosted their third annual Designing Solutions for Poverty Competition in which businesses and organizations alike propose the most innovative and cost efficient solutions to relieve inequality. This past year, IMTFI won 2nd place in the competition with a $5,000 award to further pursue their idea and initiate production. Through the unique and groundbreaking “Loy Loy” game (which means “Money Money” in Khmer) IMTFI modeled the ROSCA system, or Rotating Savings and Credit Association, a form of collective savings that is commonly found in developing economies. ROSCAs allow factory workers to informally save money without the pressures of a banking institution and invest in larger assets. Inspired by the cooperative nature between Cambodian garment factory workers, researcher Andrew Crawford created a Monopoly-style game that mirrored the credit market and savings groups in both developing and developed countries and debuted it at the Mekong Financial Inclusion Forum in Phnom Penh. The objective of the game is to collectively earn $5,000 within one hour in order to invest in a small business as a group, with one of the key rules being that no one person can go bankrupt, otherwise everyone loses and the game is over. While it was a test of savings, the true challenge was cooperation and trust amongst the team.


On a circular board, the players are met with colorful red, green, and blue squares that represent life events that could either bolster of hinder one’s finances. During each round, players roll a die to maneuver around the board landing on either red, green or blue squares. Mirroring the practical world for families in tight economic situations, life happens and players sometimes may land on red squares that make them draw expense cards, blue squares for event cards or green squares for asset cards. The expense and event cards can force players to pay bills such as groceries or emergency medical care (either in fixed amount or percentage of cash holdings) and the asset cards allow players to buy objects that then provide a return each month such as equipment or livestock. These cards test the player’s ability to foresee unexpected expenses while also committing to ROSCA cooperatives.

Replicating the realities of life, disaster cards deduct a certain percentage from your personal finances, as seen in the blue diamond card pictured above! Eventually players pass “Payday”, which is when players receive their monthly wage and “ROSCA Meeting Day” which is when members can “bid” for the collective fund by offering to pay higher rates of interest. While every player chips into the ROSCA pool, the player with the highest bid gets to receive all of the funds. One of the most unique aspects of this game is that there is no singular strategy to conquer the game; many have been tried but seldom complete the task. Ideas such as going rogue and splitting from the group to save up $5,000 alone and owning the factory alone is also a possibility, though not as easy.

To continue reading and for further details about Lara's experience and how "college students and factory workers alike can learn from this finance game" go to Medium.com for the full post - https://medium.com/@UCIBlumCenter/all-in-one-one-in-all-c3e20d7342d

Loy Loy: The Savings Game is now available online for purchase at http://loyloy.org/.

About the UCI Blum Center:
The UCI Blum Center is just one of many centers across the University of California campuses whose mission is to enable a new generation of students and researchers to actively counteract poverty around the globe and in Orange County by posing critical question about economic development. Its main objectives are targeting our education, research and engagement on campus; whether it is about introducing pioneer, educational courses or partnering with local organizations, the Blum Center is integral to changing the conversation surrounding poverty on college campuses.

Stay on the lookout for an upcoming interview with the researcher behind the game, Andrew Crawford, where he shares his recent experience at the Clinton Global Initiative University (CGIU) at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts on October 13–15, 2017 - where he engaged with 1,000 other innovative leaders from college campuses around the world who aim to make a difference.

No comments:

Post a Comment