CYFI News & Blog

Latest news and articles from Child & Youth Finance and the CYF Movement Network

Financial Education + Life Skills = Girl Power

Adolescent girls are one of the world's most economically vulnerable groups. Compared to boys their age, they frequently have limited opportunities to gain the education, knowledge, resources, and skills that can lead to economic advancement.

Girls do not only need knowledge, skills, and a responsible attitude to manage money in a smart way; to be fully empowered, they also need to increase their self-confidence to support their ambitions. That is why CYFI partner, Aflatoun International, collaborates with Plan International and Credit Suisse's Financial Education Girls Program to improve the financial knowledge and life skills of approximately 100,000 girls in Brazil, China, India and Rwanda. CYFI contributes to and supports the research agenda of the program through the Credit Suisse Financial Education for Girls Advisory Group.

In addition to the program implementation, the partnership carries out research on the effectiveness of financial education for adolescent girls. The results of a recent literature review shows that the most promising financial education programs combine both social and financial elements. So in order to be most effective, financial education programs targeting adolescent girls should also include non-economic elements, such as life skills, interpersonal networking, communication, personality development as well as sexual and reproductive health education.

Research findings are increasingly available about the effectiveness of financial education. However, many questions remain. One of these questions is how to best involve communities in financial education programs. This is easier said than done. Financial education and life skills programs are recommended to encourage communities to engage in conversations about economic empowerment of girls, challenging harmful biases and replacing them with behaviours that foster inclusive and equitable education and labor markets for girls and boys. Ongoing research looks at the contextual factors – including social norms around gender - that financial education and life skills training programs need to understand and address. The program intends to publish the initial results of this country level research in the summer of 2017 so stay tuned!

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Interactive forum on independent teen bank accounts in Kenya on 8 March 2017

CARE Kenya is collaboration with Child & Youth Finance International (CYFI) organized a breakfast meeting around the issue of access of young Kenyans to independent bank accounts before the age of 18. The main focus of the meeting was to discuss the barriers, challenges, regulatory framework and recommendations that should be addressed to facilitate the development of adolescent friendly accounts by financial service providers in Kenya, and form a core group of stakeholders that will continue working on this issue.

CARE Kenya particularly advocates for more independency in opening and operating the bank accounts for adolescents between 15 and 18 years old. This particular age group was chosen due to the fact that Article 56 (2) of Kenya's Employment Act allows employment of children from the ages of 13-16 years for light work, and define those of 16-18 as employable. So while adolescents can be engaged in various forms of income generating activities, their possibility of owning an independent bank account is still quite limited according to the national regulation.

The forum brought together over 40 representatives of civil society, government, humanitarian agencies, financial service providers and umbrella organizations to discuss the issue. Representatives from CARE Kenya, CYFI, UNHCR, Child Savings Kenya and Postbank Kenya presented their findings and evidence about the importance of youth financial inclusion and access to formal savings, and participated in an interactive panel. The forum outlined several challenges and many opportunities in the area, and CARE Kenya will lead the follow up to continue consulting and engaging various stakeholders and policy makers on the topic.You can keep updated about the initiative by following the hashtag #TeenAccountKenya2017. 

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Leading The Way Towards Safer Payments for Children

​Child & Youth Finance International (CYFI) and Mastercard are launching a groundbreaking guide on banking and payment products for minors. Unique in its approach, the 'Safer Payment Products for Minors' guide identifies recommended practices on how Financial Service Providers (FSPs) can develop age-appropriate payment products for minors; promoting responsible spending and financial decision-making whilst incorporating functionalities that allow for parental guidance towards a minor's financial autonomy.

At a time when governments, the private sector and civil society are doubling down on their efforts to build a more inclusive society, these new guidelines ensure the needs and safety of the next generation are part of the process. Financial, digital and gender inclusion are crucial elements to build a stable world in which everyone gets the chance to fulfill its potential. Minors are the foundation of tomorrow's society and need to be brought into the financial mainstream in a responsible manner.

Developed for national and international financial institutions, the guide is intended to help decision makers and product owners understand the responsibilities, needs and risks associated with this market.

In addition to the goal of supporting the creation of safe and appropriate products for minors, the guide seeks to foster dialogue between parent and child. In this way both Financial Service Providers and parents can guide minors towards financial inclusion, autonomy and responsibility.

Walt Macnee, Vice Chairman Mastercard says: "Today's minors are the adults of tomorrow. As they grow up, we need to ensure that they are prepared to fully participate in the formal and increasingly digital economy. By ensuring that the tools and products that they are given are age-appropriate, we contribute to that preparation."

Recognizing that the varying functional and supervisory requirements of financial products for minors vary depending on the age and development of young people, the paper advocates for an end objective of empowering minors to fully manage their own payment products and money.

The guide was created by Mastercard, Child & Youth Finance International (CYFI), ParentPay, nimbl and Mirador Digital, with contributions from a range of organizations in the financial sector.

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CYFI and UNCDF launch the “Bank the Youth” Campaign in 7 African countries!

On March 27th, Child and Youth Finance International (CYFI), in partnership with the United National Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), are officially launching the 'Bank the Youth' Campaign. The aim of this Campaign is to overcome the barriers to financial inclusion for young people and increase their exposure to Child and Youth Friendly banking products throughout the world. 

The Campaign launch consists of several events in seven African countries: Benin, Burkina Faso, DRC, Madagascar, Senegal, Tanzania and Uganda. Representatives from governments, UNCDF, Financial Services Providers (FSPs), Youth Serving Organizations (YSOs), as well as youth themselves, will actively participate in the launch of the Campaign throughout Global Money Week (March 27th – April 2nd). 


Global Money Week was selected as the optimal time to launch the Campaign, since this year's GMW slogan 'Learn, Save, Earn' is profoundly related to the objective of the 'Bank the Youth' Campaign. In fact, education, clever  savings habits and entrepreneurial training can all enhance the financial awareness and economic opportunities of children and youth in all parts of the world. 


Why do we need to 'Bank the Youth'?

The Campaign was initiated because young people, especially those in Least Developed Countries (LDCs), face many barriers in accessing Child and Youth Friendly financial services. Some of these barriers include legal and regulatory restrictions to opening an account in their name, inappropriate and inaccessible products and services to meet their financial needs and low financial capability amongst a burgeoning youth population. 

These barriers can prevent young people from realizing their full economic potential. 'Bank the Youth' is indeed an advocacy campaign that promotes smart policies for youth financial access while facilitating greater opportunities for economic empowerment and youth development. These aspects are at the core of CYFI's model of economic citizenship, whose objective is to achieve sustainable economic and financial well-being, a reduction in poverty and greater respect for rights of self and others for children and youth through the attainment of financial inclusion and Economic Citizenship Education.

Beginning in 2017 with nine pilot countries in Africa (Benin, Burkina Faso, DRC, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Senegal, Uganda, and Tanzania), 'Bank the Youth' will coordinate efforts among numerous stakeholders in country to advance best practices in financial inclusion and education for youth. All participants are encouraged to take part in GMW and World's Savings Day's celebrations. After the launch during GMW, more members will be recruited as Impact Champions for the Campaign. Topics will be discussed via webinars and social media on a monthly basis related to financial inclusion both at the country and the international level. The target is to recruit at least 200 Campaign members by the end of 2017. 

Stay up- to-date with the latest news regarding the Campaign through the various the UNCDF, CYFI and Global Money Week social media channels!

Follow @UNCDF, @ChildFinance, @GlobalMoneyWeek, and @UNCDFYouthStart on Twitter and check hashtags  #BankTheYouth, #BTYImpactChampions, #GMW2017 #financialinclusion, #financialinclusion4youth, #Youthfinance, #GlobalMoneyWeek, #LearnSaveEarn, #youthdevelopment.


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CYFI took part in FINFIN 2017 in Moscow in February 2017

Child & Youth Finance International (CYFI) took part in FINFIN 2017 Conference in Moscow, Russia on 16 February 2017. FINFIN is an annual international symposium, aiming to bring together financial institutions, governmental bodies, and expert community to exchange and share best practices and latest trends in the area of financial literacy and financial inclusion.

The Conference fosters an open dialog between market practitioners, government officials and researchers. It also provides an ideal environment to develop new initiatives that would ensure sustainable development of the industry, increase the availability and quality of financial services for the population, and promote financial literacy programs in order to improve the well-being of Russian citizens. 

The conference is traditionally organized by Russian Microfinance Centre and Citi Foundation, with the participation of representatives of the Bank of Russia and Ministry of Finance of Russian Federation, as well as international experts. The 2017 edition of FINFIN saw participation of many global stakeholders in the field, such as OECD, Central Bank of Portugal, UK Consumer Panel, CYFI and other representatives from CIS region and beyond. 

In 2017 CYFI contributed to the panel on the ways to improve financial literacy of Russian population, alongside the speakers from the Central Bank of Russia, Moscow State University, and various private sector initiatives. The wide consensus was reached that starting teaching children the basics of financial behaviour, such as saving, budgeting and spending, is essential from the first years of school. The role of the Ministry of Education in this process was defined as crucial by all participants of the panel. CYFI Regional Advisor Karina Avakyan shared the recent findings of financial education landscape for young people, emphasized the importance of active practicing of savings from the young age, and presented the recent publication by CYFI and World Savings Bank Institute (WSBI) on various Schoolbanking models.

On 15 February 2015 CYFI was also invited to take part in the informal roundtable, organized by the Russian Microfinance Centre (RMC) and Bank of Russia on the financial literacy programmes for SMMes and entrepreneurs, and their role in the overall financial literacy strategies and policies. CYFI representative shared some examples and best practices from CYFI network members and other countries in Europe.


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