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!