Pru Life UK, PCA, Prudence Foundation deepen commitment to early financial literacy, launch Cha-Ching Season Three

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Cha-Ching band members Zul and Prudence pose with (from left) Prudential Corporation Asia (PCA) Regional Manager for Corporate Affairs Harsha Harjani, PCA Regional Director of Brand & Corporate Affairs Sean Rach, Educational Psychologist Dr. Alice Wilder, DepEd Adopt-A-School Operations Manager Merlie Asprer and Pru Life UK SVP and Chief Marketing Officer Belle Tiongco during the launch of Cha-Ching Season 3 at the Mind Museum.

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As part of the group’s commitment to help kids grow up to be money-smart adults, Pru Life UK, Hong Kong-based regional headquarters Prudential Corporation Asia (PCA), and its charitable arm the Prudence Foundation launched today ‘Season Three’ of Cha-Ching, the top-rated and award-winning animation and music-based financial literacy program for Asian children.

Cha-Ching helps parents and educators in Asia instill practical money-smart skills in children. Its music videos are anchored around four core money concepts – Earn, Save, Spend and Donate. ‘Season Three’ will feature three new music videos aimed at building children’s understanding of additional money concepts which they can apply in real-life situations.

The first of the new music videos, “Big, Big Waste of Money,” demonstrates not wasting money on unnecessary purchases. It will begin airing on the number one kids’ channel in the region, Cartoon Network, on 26 October. The second music video, “So Yesterday,” encourages children to question passing fads and trends. The last music video, “Sweet Pepper Designs,” shows how to make the most out of entrepreneurial opportunities.

As in previous seasons, Cha-Ching’s ‘Season Three’ will air on Cartoon Network during weekday afternoons and weekend mornings in seven Asian markets – Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. Cartoon Network will also have a Cha-Ching marathon at 1:00 pm on October 26 for Southeast Asian and Philippine feeds, featuring the latest music video as well as all previous 13 episodes. To date, the series has already reached 6.4 million households across Asia. Cha-Ching has proved a popular programme choice for children aged seven to 12, appearing on the top five programs on the channel.

The Philippines as the ‘heart’ of Cha-Ching

“We have chosen to launch Season Three with Pru Life UK here in the Philippines as this is the first country to integrate Cha-Ching in the grade school curriculum following the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement with the Department of Education (DepEd) in 2012. The program was piloted in the grade 2 classes of two public schools last schoolyear. The Philippines is symbolic of the programme’s growing success since its inception in September 2011,” said Sean Rach, PCA Regional Director of Brand and Corporate Affairs.

At the end of schoolyear 2012-2013, a third-party assessment revealed that 80% to 85% of grade 2 students in participating schools have grasped the lessons on financial literacy and even saw them taking enterprising initiatives outside of class.

“Based on the third party assessment by Knowledge Community, teachers reported a marked improvement in students’ attitude over a 10-month period. The students understood and practiced the concepts of proper spending, savings, effective budgeting, and being money-conscious with special emphasis on creating a distinction between ‘need’ and ‘want.’ With the positive outcome, we expanded to more schools,” said Pru Life UK Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Belle Tiongco. Knowledge Community is a non-government organization (NGO) that specializes in information and communications technology (ICT)-based education programs.

"My pupils learned how to share what they have to those who have less even if they themselves only have enough, or barely enough. I can really see that they take the Cha-Ching lessons to heart. There was one time I bought myself a tablet and used it to teach in class and I heard my students tell each other, ‘Yung tablet ni ma’am, hindi ‘yun need, want niya ‘yan!’ (Ma’am’s tablet is a not a need, it is a want.) The best part is my students are very excited for Cha-Ching. They even call Fridays Cha-Ching days,” said Christine Almendraz, teacher at one of the pilot schools, Tagaytay Central School.

Now on its second year, Pru Life UK’s Cha-Ching Money Smart Kids program includes 34 partner schools nationwide – 19 public schools and 15 private schools – where grades 2 and 3 students learn basic financial concepts anchored on the music videos, supplemented by DepEd-approved Cha-Ching workbooks in both English and Filipino. Teachers have been trained and are guided by lesson plans that have also undergone DepEd approval.

"I am delighted that Pru Life UK has organised this worthwhile initiative. Education is the backbone of a prosperous society, and teaching financial literacy to people at such a young age will help build a good foundation for a new generation better equipped to handle their finances. This is a shining example of a UK company making a contribution to the community in a country where they have a thriving business," said HE Asif Ahmad, Ambassador Designate to the Philippines, British Embassy.

Dr. Alice Wilder, an internationally-recognised children’s education specialist and co-creator of Cha-Ching, said, “I am so thrilled to see how Cha-Ching has developed over the past years into something that lives beyond the screen. Each character and story was carefully designed to both entertain and leave a lasting impact in kids’ lives, and it is extremely rewarding to see children learning and using the core money concepts. While the programme helps young children, it also builds a foundation for future success with the involvement of both educators and parents who help extend the learning to build responsible money management habits.”

Across Asia, over 42,000 children and educators have benefitted from Cha-Ching school programmes in Hong Kong, Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.

Cha-Ching – Here for the Long Run

"The program has clearly been making a difference in the lives of our students, and I thank our teachers for making it happen. There should be passion and love for this advocacy because whether they know it or not, our students will be able to see if we have these too. This program has the capability to build relations and realize dreams. It teaches money-smarts, but also inculcates the values of sharing and compassion among our students, which are very important," said Merlie Asprer, DepEd Adopt-A-School Manager.

“Although we are already seeing the positive impact that Cha-Ching is making in the region, financial literacy is not something that can improve overnight. Cha-Ching, Pru Life UK and Prudential will continue to invest in providing the tools for children, parents and educators that to will help the adults of tomorrow become money smart,” said Mr. Rach.

“Our commitment to financial literacy, to the Cha-Ching program, is coming from a deep desire to aid in building our nation. Imagine what a financially literate generation can do for our country: money-smart kids developing into money-smart adults, more adept at financial management. We dream of a day wherein saving, investing and financial protection are basic practices for every Filipino. And this is our way of making that dream come true,” said Pru Life UK President and CEO Antonio de Rosas.

Cha-Ching is also online through its website, www.cha-ching.com, now optimized for mobile phone viewing. Its official YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/chachingvideos) has already reached over 780,000 views while its Facebook page, Cha-Ching Money Smart Kids, has more than 83,000 fans. Hundreds of thousands have also put their money-smart skills to the test playing Cha-Ching games in the website, including Cha-Ching Saver World Tour (300,000 visits to date) and Entrepreneur (140,000 visits to date). The Cha-Ching Band Manager mobile app has also already registered over 130,000 downloads since its launch in December 2012.

Cha-Ching’s latest endeavour, Cha-Ching Choir, invited children across Asia to join as back-up singers. Children could submit their own Cha-Ching song for a chance to be featured in an upcoming video alongside their favourite Cha-Ching characters on Cartoon Network Asia. Over 2,000 registrations and 150 valid entries were received. Five bi-weekly winners and three final winners were announced, all of whom are Filipino kids.

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About Pru Life UK

Established in 1996, Pru Life UK is a subsidiary of British financial services giant Prudential plc. Pru Life UK is the pioneer and current market leader of unit-linked or investment-linked life insurance products, and is one of the first life insurance companies approved to market US dollar-denominated unit-linked policies in the country. Pru Life UK is a life insurance company and is not engaged in the business of selling pre-need plans.

Pru Life UK and Prudential plc are not affiliated with Prudential Financial, Inc. (a US-registered company), Philippine Prudential Life Insurance Company, Prudentialife Plans, Inc. or Prudential Guarantee and Assurance, Inc. (all Philippine-registered companies).

Pru Life UK is a member of the Philippine Life Insurance Association.

For more information: www.prulifeuk.com.ph

About Prudential Corporation Asia

Prudential Corporation Asia is a business unit of Prudential plc (United Kingdom)*, comprising its life insurance operations, and its asset management business, Eastspring Investments. Prudential is a leading life insurer that spans 13 markets in Asia, covering Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. Prudential has a robust multi-channel distribution platform providing a comprehensive range of savings, investment and protection products to meet the needs of Asian people. Eastspring Investments is one of Asia’s largest asset managers with operations in 11 markets plus distribution offices in North America and Luxembourg and £62 billion in assets under management (at 30 June 2013).

*Prudential plc is listed on the stock exchanges of London (PRU.L), Hong Kong (2378.HK), Singapore (K6S.SG) and New York (PUK.N). Prudential plc is not affiliated or related in any manner with Prudential Financial, Inc., a company whose principal place of business is in the United States of America.

For more information: www.prudentialcorporation-asia.com

About Prudence Foundation

The Prudence Foundation embodies the long-term and heartfelt commitment of Prudential's people in Asia to provide innovative, focused, and practical support to their local communities. Through meaningful contributions to sustainable initiatives focused on Education, Children and Disaster Preparedness & Relief, we aim to make a lasting contribution to Asian societies.

Under the auspices of the Prudence Foundation, Prudential facilitates numerous initiatives in Asia, such as financial literacy workshops in China, India, Indonesia and Vietnam for young working-age women. Since 2004, over 38,000 women have benefitted. It also partners with Government and regulators in China to run an insurance education curriculum for public high schools in cities across the country. Over 57,000 students have participated in the programme since 2007. The Foundation’s flagship financial literacy programme is Cha-Ching, which takes an engaging and age-appropriate musical narrative approach to teach children about the basic money management concepts of Earn, Save, Spend and Donate. Its core is a series of three-minute music videos aired on Cartoon Network and an interactive website, www.cha-ching.com, which provides a host of online learning resources for educators, parents and children.

The Prudence Foundation was established in 2011.

For more information: www.prudencefoundation.com

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