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Background: Building financial management capacity is increasingly important in low- and middle-income countries to help communities take ownership of development activities. Yet, many community members lack financial knowledge and skills.

Methods: As part of a larger health intervention, we designed and conducted financial management training for 83 members from 10 community groups in rural Zambia. Change scores between pre- and post-tests on financial knowledge were calculated and multivariate linear regression models run. Qualitative feedback was elicited.

Results: The training significantly improved knowledge of financial concepts. Participants with some or more than some secondary education had greater improvements in knowledge (by 1.8 and 2.9 points out of 10 respectively; p=0.003 and p<0.001). Participants appreciated exercises to contextualize financial concepts within daily life, and liked opportunities to learn from peers in small groups. Language barriers were a particular challenge.

Conclusion: Financial management training may contribute to the sustainability of community-managed interventions but needs to be tailored to the background and education level of the participants. Training should relate financial concept to more tangible applications and provide time for active learning. This training approach could be used in similar settings to improve community oversight of resources intended to strengthen developmental initiatives.