Author - Temko Dorris Kirui, Global Engagement and Evaluation Intern
It cannot be denied that girls make up a critical demography for social change as well as global development. Girls represent a huge underserved population especially in the developing world. It is estimated that those under the age of 25 make up 43 per cent of the world’s population and 60 per cent reside in the least developed countries. Currently, the cohort of adolescent girls is the largest in human history and this number is expected to rise in the next few decades. However, adolescent girls tend not to be included in many developments programs. Many of these adolescent girls face vulnerability, which includes lacking family and community support, limited economic opportunities, not having a voice, as well as unfavourable social attitudes. As a result, their economic and social empowerment is constrained thus leading to risky behaviours at times. Despite this, working with and for these adolescent girls should be perceived as a human right and critical for development. A recent multi-country analysis states that closing the gender gap especially during the adolescent period in areas of education, economic activity and health would have significant impact on the national economic growth and the well-being of girls.
Across the globe, especially in the developing world, women and girls continue to bear the brunt of poverty. However, it is possible to take effective and practical action, which will enable women and girls to reach their full potential. Moreover, we should be aware that investing in women and girls does not only transform their lives but also communities, societies and economies. Empowering girls and women has multiple effects for economic growth and the achievement of other Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). By reaching girls, in particular, at an early stage, we can transform their life chances. Empowering girls to take greater control over the decisions that affect their lives helps to break the cycle of poverty.
While there is no clear definition of girls’ economic empowerment, we can use the definition for women’s economic empowerment. Replacing the word ‘women’ for ‘girls’ and taking the definition by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), we can say that the economic empowerment of girls is “The capacity for girls to participate in, contribute to and benefit from growth processes in ways that recognise the value of their contribution, respect their dignity and make it possible to negotiate a fairer distribution of the benefits growth”. Economic empowerment of girls is not only about providing them with resources but also opportunities in which they can apply these resources and achieve economic success. By providing better jobs, developing practical skills and education opportunities, facilitating greater land access and allowing greater participation in decision-making, women and girls can lift themselves from poverty as well as improve the quality of life of their families and communities at large.
A research conducted by the Adolescent Girls Advocacy and Leadership Initiative (AGALI) reveals that 600 million girls around the globe face widespread poverty and limited access to education, health services as well as discrimination and violence. As compared to adult women or adolescent boys, adolescent girls tend to be the most economically vulnerable. In many places, adolescent girls lack access to the available financial capital, education, knowledge as well as the skills, which can lead to their economic advancement. Moreover, adolescent girls often have no social support while the social norms of the communities can hinder their economic advancement. Therefore, economic empowerment can be a crucial lever for change in the lives of adolescent girls by helping them to gain their financial independence, develop good saving habits and improve their future chances of participating in the labour force. In addition, it can provide these girls with mobility, boost their confidence, strengthen their social ties and improve the outcome of their personal health.
According to discussion points by the Women Refugee Commission (WRC), there is evidence that the economic empowerment of girls can reduce their risk of gender based violence (GBV) which is often associated with them being economically deprived. By owning economic assets, girls are empowered and given greater agency, reducing GBV by increasing their bargaining power. Ownership of assets by women and girls gives them the power to make some decisions in the household, reduces malnutrition among their children and gives them the freedom to leave situations of domestic violence. Financial education or the accumulation of assets by girls has also been shown to improve school attendance and reduce sexual behaviour, which is associated with the risk of contracting HIV/AIDS.
Furthermore, economic empowerment of young girls is a prerequisite for achieving sustainable development, pro-poor growth and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). When young girls are empowered, they act as catalysts for development. The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) incepted in 2000 have helped lift many people out of poverty. The inclusion of MDG 3, which focused on gender equality and empowerment, has been crucial in the recognition of gender equality as a prerequisite for development. However, while we acknowledge that the MDGs have had an impact on the lives of young girls and women, we can also point out the gaps that need to be filled in the post-2015 agenda. This conversation is very important as we set out the Sustainable Development Goals to guide governments for the next fifteen years. One vital omission from the MDGs was the particular needs for girls and young women. Although goal number 3 addressed the issue of gender parity, it did not seek to focus on the systematic discrimination that girls and young women face daily. Yet it can be stated that girls are the key to meeting the promise of development goals. Providing girls and young women with a better future is not only a goal in itself but a way of improving communities and families. The inclusion of the needs and priorities of young girls and women in the post 2015 agenda will mean ensuring the human rights of the new generation and generations thereafter. In addition, it will harness a development asset that is yet untapped.
Among the proposed SDGs is goal number 5, which focuses on achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls. While this is an important target, there is evidence that the empowerment of women and young girls is an essential step towards the achievement of other SDGs as well. crucial step towards the achievement of other goals. With the SDGs set, it is our hope that governments and donors will be ambitious enough to set targets that capture the many angles of women and girls empowerment, including greater economic opportunities and political representation, if the goal is to be achieved.
This blog is the sixth in a series of summer blog articles related to the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals and are authored by youth interns at Child & Youth Finance International. Join the discussion on social media by following @ChildFinance and using the hashtag #cyfiyouth.
Ye! Community members are very familiar with some of the challenges facing young entrepreneurs. Excessive bureaucracy and lack of financing options for youth are just some of the obstacles facing aspiring entrepreneurs in many countries across the world. So far, Ye! has been offering you direct support through our community, coaching, country pages, trainings and pitching events, but we want to go further!
This is why the Ye! team at Child & Youth Finance International is honored to announce our first formal, global launch! Taking place on 10 September in Antalya, Turkey, the Global Ye! Launch will be hosted by the G20 as part of their SME meetings. By bringing governments, investors, and multilaterals to the table, the Ye! team and CYFI is now also advocating for better national policies for young entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurship education in school, simpler business regulations, and increased access to finance and investment for youth are just some of the themes being discussed.
Photo credit: "Antalya dusk" by Mbilgen
The Success Story of a Venture Capitalist turned Entrepreneur, who made his E-Commerce Company Profitable
Mr.Manoj Gupta is the Founder/CEO of Craftsvilla.com and was previously Principal at Nexus Venture Partners – an India focused $600 million fund. Mr.Gupta was also a former board member of multiple companies including Yebhi.com and Sohanlal Commodities in India before founding “Craftsvilla”. “Craftsvilla” is a great example for companies to make their business model more sustainable, inclusive and aligned with the societal needs in the post-2015 world, and is an even greater example for young people who are working to start their own business.
The question “Why did Craftsvilla.com become profitable?” may sound naïve, with the most obvious answer being “Of course you should become profitable”. However, many components that contribute to that answer are not always so clear to see. Here is the story of the roller coaster journey of Craftsvilla, and how today Craftsvilla stands tall in e-commerce because their approach to profit focused on looking for long-term success rather than mere survival, without relying on the Venture Capital. Here is the success story of Mr. Gupta’s E-Commerce business start-up.
Today, Craftsvilla is a stand-alone profitable entity without significant funding from VCs. Given Mr. Gupta’s previous VC position, he was already familiar with how quickly a VC and fluctuate between the challenges faced during low periods and the many achievements during a high period.
Sensing the exhaustion of VCs passion for e-commerce, the team started preparing for the worst “no-money” scenario before other companies did, formulating a strategy focusing on three basic action points:
Approximately six months ago, the team had 80 people working in five offices across India. Today, there are eight people centralized in one office doing more business than when the team was 10 times that size. One thing I have learned from studying Craftsvilla is that the efficiency drastically boosts when you keep things simple. It is amazing to see how the efficiency increases when you have an optimally-sized team, and how remarkably simplified the work becomes when the employees seated next to each other have specific roles, solving the related issues faster. In addition to a larger staff and multiple offices six months ago, Craftsvilla also had multiple business models with multiple commission structures. Today, Craftsvilla has reduced to one simple business model with one single commission structure. Craftsvilla decided to discontinue their business model called "iManage", through which they managed logistics of their sellers. The program consumed 80% of their resources but contributed to only 20% of the total revenue.
As a result "We need lesser space, we need lesser coordination and we have more time to think what else we can do quantumly different to take us to the next level", says Mr.Gupta. By making such structural and organizational changes, today Craftsvilla is profitable with a steady growth of 15-20% month on month, with Zero discount (a bond bought at a price lower than its face value and the face value paid later on) and COD (cash on delivery) , with double the conversion on traffic and average order value. Their customer acquisition cost is below 250 Rupees and they are recovering the marketing dollars on the customer’s first purchase. All this was done not just to become profitable, but also to make the business capital efficient, scalable and sustainable. Craftsvilla became profitable to mold their business and organization for next level growth, which is going to be largest India has witnessed in the E-Commerce sector so far. Craftsvilla became profitable to be less dependent on fluctuating VC passion, gaining more flexibility and control over the company.
Over the described period of time, Craftsvilla is bringing about a positive change in the livelihoods of base-level customers, artisans and designers. This is aligned with the 8th and 16th goal of United Nations Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which focus on promoting sustained and inclusive economic growth, ensuring productive employment and decent work for all and promoting peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development. In addition to its successful return, the firm’s business model also stands out in its approach to society and societal needs. While Craftsvilla’s experience proved that it is possible to become profitable in the E-commerce sector, it also showed that becoming “customer-facing, as opposed to “investor-facing” leads to more sustainable and inclusive growth. Craftsvilla uses a marketplace model to capture the regional variations of India. They connect local artisans and designers directly to global customers and thereby increase their livelihoods, remove middlemen, help promote their brand and hence preserve Indian culture, traditions and values.
Craftsvilla’s social engagement also extends to the customers, since the company’s work helps bring goods and services to underserved populations. This journey will help customers match their needs by discovering and buying products they would otherwise not have access to. The company’s strong commitment towards the local communities progressively leads to a greater inclusion and economic empowerment, which will ultimately contribute to the sustainable development of the country’s economy.
Craftsvilla’s experiences while on their path to profitability gave them glimpses of success. They are now more confident than they were six months ago that they will become successful. Furthermore, in doing so, Craftsvilla is contributing to the improvement of society and to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. Mr. Gupta's exemplary profitable E-commerce set-up, may be of great help and a strong inspiration for other entrepreneurs to shape a future billion-dollar society-friendly organization for generations to come.
Learn more about Craftsvilla at Craftsvilla.com
This blog is the fourth in a series of summer blog articles related to the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals and are authored by youth working with Child & Youth Finance International. Join the discussion on social media by following @ChildFinance and using the hashtag #cyfiyouth.
Ms. Bina Goklaney is 19 years old, and is currently pursuing her BBM-IB (Bachelors in Business Management-International Business) at the Pune University in India, and is a member of the Youth Committee at Child & Youth Finance International.
Author: Sandra Cuevas, Intern, Global Engagement and Evaluation, Child & Youth Finance International
Fifteen years ago the world was getting ready for unprecedented change. It was getting ready to welcome a new era, as leaders all around the world engaged in discussions to address the most pressing issues of our planet. Since the adoption of the eight Millennium Development Goals significant progress has been made and a lot has been achieved. However, many of the critical issues that were identified at the turn of the 21st Century (poverty, lack of education, health, violence) are as important today as they were 15 years ago, and in many ways have been compounded. Today, we are mobilizing once more in a joint effort to make the world a better place. As the Sustainable Development Goals are being adopted at the international level, we are, again, ready for change. But this time, we will all need to be on board.
For a long time, the private sector has been blamed for prospering at the expense of local communities. As profit maximizers, firms tend to align their strategies with the financial interests of their business and their shareholders rather than of society, causing environmental and societal problems. However, there is an inevitably strong link between businesses and the community, since they depend on each other as providers and demanders of goods and services. The Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) model intends to overcome the tension between them by encouraging firms to give back to society in a philanthropic manner. While this approach stems from a positive intention, CSR has several limitations. Firstly, the social engagement of companies through CSR is not always linked to the operational activities of the firm, making donation decisions particularly subjective. Most importantly, it implies a tradeoff between profit and societal benefits: inevitably, one has to be chosen over the other. Likewise, this often represents a conflict of interest for shareholders, who are rather attracted by the distribution of dividends. Such conflicting priorities can potentially threaten the governance structure of the company. As a result of all this, the commitment of the private sector to improving society is not as strong and efficient as it could be. So does this mean that the CSR has come to a dead end?
We are always told that sharing is caring, but until now it never occurred to us that perhaps we’re just not sharing properly. Perhaps “charity giving” is not the solution. If firms commit to improving livelihoods because they believe it is in their best interest - and not just because they feel responsible for it - their help will be much more effective. What’s more, there would not even be enough resources to solve worldwide issues by mere redistribution. The answer to overcome both these challenges is, instead, the creation of profit, and as Michael Porter and Mark Kramer suggest, it is possible to do so while also creating social value. What they offer is an alternative to CSR called Shared Value, a model they first introduced in their article “Creating Shared Value”, published in 2011 in the Harvard Business Review. This model supports that what is good for society is also good for business. For instance, when a firm focuses on reducing pollution, it makes its consumption more efficient and ultimately cuts operational costs. Similarly, adapting products to the needs of lower income communities may allow businesses to expand and gain clients and profit. Thus, by creating environmental and social value, the private sector can simultaneously gain economic value and enhance its competitiveness.
However, creating shared value is no easy task. It requires time, energy and effort. Other projects of the firm may be delayed due to the time that is required to identify the potential areas of mutual benefit for the business and the community. It is also likely that the company will need to allocate resources for the development of new business models and/or products that are compatible with the real needs of the population, incurring additional costs. However, these initial expenses should be seen as a long-term investment, since the creation of shared value ultimately helps redefine products and services, enable cluster development, build closer ties with the community and expand business activities, all while increasing profit.
This approach requires a shift in mind-set on the role of the private sector in advancing the SDGs and achieving sustainable development. It is with this objective that from the 23rd to the 25th of June, over 12,000 companies joined the conversations at the UN 2015 Global Compact Summit. In this context, Paula Caballero, Senior Director of Environment and Natural Resources at the World Bank, affirmed that “the SDGs can only be implemented in strong partnership between private and public sectors.” While governments and civil society organizations have for long been developing sustainable strategies in order to solve the world’s greatest challenges, they are only capable of collecting and distributing resources. On the other hand, the private sector has the unique ability to generate economic value, hence its enormous potential to help achieve the SDGs and match societal needs. Thus, the social engagement of businesses in the post-2015 world is not only valuable, but also fundamental.
Child & Youth Finance International (CYFI) believes that at the core of economic citizenship lie financial sustainability, social responsibility and a respect for community and environment impact. Therefore, CYFI supports companies that are adapting their business strategies to contribute to gender equality or to the empowerment of children and youth through financial inclusion and education. For instance, since 2009, Coca Cola offers a program for low-income communities in Brazil that provides technical training and career guidance for unemployed youth. As of January 2014, the program had trained approximately 60,000 youth, 70% of whom were women, in more than 100 communities across Brazil. Thanks to this action, Coca Cola managed to increase its sales swiftly and improve the consumer-retailer relationship in those communities. Similarly, Telefónica’s Think Big and Talentum programs create shared value by focusing on youth entrepreneurship as a way of empowering young generations. Shared value initiatives also extend to providers of financial services, as is the case of Visa. The enterprise’s efforts concentrate on financial inclusion by facilitating the delivery of aid payments to conflict-affected areas, allowing, in turn, the outspread of their products among hard-to-reach populations.
Finally, the Australian bank Bendigo is an excellent example of how a firm can empower a community while also increasing its returns. Its Community Bank program provides financial services to underserved communities and allows members to freely manage and reinvest a share of the earned revenue. Today, the program counts almost one million clients in 300 community-led branches across Australia and has “generated $23.8 billion in business and $1 billion in revenue, reinvested $110 million in communities, and posted average growth rates of 18 percent over the past five years”. With these encouraging results, more and more companies and organizations, such as ChangeLabs in Australia, are joining the Australian Shared Value Project and the global Shared Value Initiative, which intend to spread the concept of shared value both locally and internationally.
It is now time for other companies to follow these inspiring examples and strive for the attainment of positive results for their businesses and the community. The public sector and NGOs must not be left alone in the post-2015 framework. The role of the private sector in advancing the Sustainable Development Goals is crucial and, hopefully, more and more firms will understand the importance and benefits of their social commitment in solving urgent issues. CYFI urges companies and financial service providers to develop, inter alia, social programs with a special focus on education, gender equality and the empowerment of children and youth through financial inclusion and financial education. Now more than ever, we need to unite and find our “shared values” in order to improve social, environmental and economic livelihoods and achieve a status quo where the private sector and society can not only coexist, but also complement and strengthen each other.
This blog is the third in a series of summer blog articles related to the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals and are authored by youth interns at Child & Youth Finance International. Join the discussion on social media by following @ChildFinance and using the hashtag #cyfiyouth.
Author: Mattijs Aartsen, Intern in Global Engagement and Evaluation, Child & Youth Finance International
The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is an incredibly economically diverse region with a significant income disparity across its member states. The MENA region consists of oil-rich economies in the Gulf as well as resource scarce countries in North Africa. The region’s economic performances over the last decades have been heavily influenced by two factors: the volatile oil price and the economic policies and structures in the separate member states. Almost 40 million people live below the poverty line, earning less than $2 per day. This number represents 11.6% of the total population of the MENA region. In addition, the MENA region suffers from the highest youth unemployment rates in the world. Youth unemployment in the MENA region has increased by 4.1% over the period 2009 – 2012, while non-youth (25+) unemployment rates have increased by 0.8% in the same period . Youth unemployment is expected to increase by another 1.1% in the next two years, exceeding 29% of the total workforce from the age 15 to 24 in 2017, or 26 million youth.
Small- and medium enterprises (SMEs) are crucial in order to reduce youth unemployment in the MENA region, as they contribute more than 30% of the job opportunities available for youth and are a key engine for economic growth. However, the lack of finance to SMEs has negatively influenced the economic diversity of the region, as only 24% of SMEs had access to finance in 2009. Given that SMEs are a significant source of employment for young people, the lack of finance to SMEs impacts not only the economy as a whole, but the participation of youth in the work force as well.
The lack of access to finance to SMEs has two main causes: the lack of SME transparency and the weak financial infrastructure.
Banks in the MENA region lack SME transparency. Due to the lack of transparency, banks are able to turn down SME loan applications without providing any explanation. This makes it harder for SME business owners to obtain a loan for two reasons: Firstly, corruption could be involved. Bank employees can be corrupt and turn down SME loan applications to prevent competition in a specific market. Secondly, since no additional information is given regarding the rejection of a loan application, SME business owners do not know which part of the application should be improved in order to obtain a loan the next time they apply for one. In addition, the weak financial infrastructure decreases the access to finance of SMEs; different and out-dated information systems, a lack of credit information and weak creditor rights are just a few examples. This adds to the difficulties small- and medium business owners face when applying for a loan. Even though credit information and reporting systems are developing fast in some MENA countries, other countries are having a hard time keeping up, due to, among others, legal constraints. Finally, Financial institutions often resist lending out money to small and medium enterprises, while 80% of SME assets are illiquid . Illiquid assets are hard to sell off for the bank, and are therefore considered as insufficient collateral for obtaining a loan.
These constraints refrain many SMEs in the MENA region from obtaining loans, and are the main reason why SME lending is only eight per cent of banks’ total loan portfolio, as opposed to the 21 per cent that banks’ say is their goal for SME lending. With 60% less SME loans than planned, banks decrease the opportunity for small- and medium enterprises to grow.
The Arab Monetary Fund (AMF) is a stakeholder of Child & Youth Finance International. The AMF is an overarching institution, supported by 22 member states across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. With a main objective of uniting all the member states, both financially and socially, the AMF is also involved in increasing financial access to SMEs.
In 2010, the AMF has joined forces with the Ministry of Finance of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in collaboration with the International Finance Corporation, in order to provide small businesses with access to credit. By providing direct loans to SMEs, the AMF was able to reduce the key constraints in obtaining loans, such as the lack of transparency, the weak financial infrastructure and the lack of collateral. The result was that in the period of 2010 – 2013, the total amount of outstanding loans from the AMF to SMEs had increased by 27.3% to more than $3.6 billion. With these loans SMEs in the MENA region were able to enhance productivity and competitiveness. This has contributed to an increase in SME growth, total economic growth and youth employment across the region.
By granting SMEs access to finance in the period of 2010 – 2013, the Arab Monetary Fund has actively contributed to increased employment and enterprise growth in the region. CYFI believes that an important element in the development of youth economic citizenship is the securing of sustainable and meaningful livelihoods through both entrepreneurship and/or employment. This is also integral to achieving sustainable development goal number eight of the United Nations’ Post 2015 Development Agenda. The associated targets of this goal cover the promotion of sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, as well as full and productive employment and decent work for youth. Providing greater economic opportunities for young people in the MENA region, particularly through the development of SME sector, will greatly contribute to the reduction of youth unemployment and allow countries to meet the ambitious targets under the sustainable development goals.
This blog is the second in a series of summer blog articles related to the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals and are authored by youth interns at Child & Youth Finance International. Join the discussion on social media by following @ChildFinance and using the hashtag #cyfiyouth.
10 June 2015, Riga - Financial and Capital Market Commission (FCMC) together with collaboration partners have summarized annual results regarding implementation of the National Strategy for Financial Literacy in Latvia 2014-2020. The first year shows good progress in performance of almost all indicators.
In 2014, like in other developed countries, involvement of Latvian residents in using the basic financial services has been traditionally high: 94% of residents have bank accounts, moreover, more customers make use of electronic solutions: 70% of total residents already use internet banking services (in 2013 – 65%), 11 800 new endowment insurance contracts entered into, nearly 15 000 more residents joined private pension funds, as well as confidence in the financial service providers has increased reaching 50% on the average (in 2013 – 44%).
"This year we can observe several positive trends in conformity with the three defined strategic goals: tradition of planning and making savings, integrity of the financial sector and financial sustainability of households. It is obvious that residents use more diverse and modern services, more precisely define a plan for the present day, more contemplate making savings for future and act accordingly to have them. The households' borrowing/savings rate has become more proportionate in Latvia, as loans-to-deposits rate was 110/100 at the end of 2014. These all are encouraging signals. Thus the partners must continue efforts as regards improvements in the general education content, support for further education of teachers, provision of consultations and training tools on the internet for everyone." FCMC Chairman Kristaps Zakulis
In accordance with the performance of financial literacy indicators the number of households that regularly plan their budget has increased (58%), moreover, previously residents planned their household budget from memory but now they more often record the budget figures in writing or in their own established electronic system. In 2014, total household savings grew by nearly one billion euro and showed a 8.1 billion euro increase, while an increase in risk insurance premiums written by residents was higher than the planned maximum of +9.8%, and reached 134 euro per capita, and it was more than in the life insurance so far, the share of life insurance in the insurance market overall has increased up to 24%. Please visit the FCMC's website to see the performance of financial literacy strategic objectives: Financial Literacy of Latvia's Residents: 2014 at: www.fktk.lv/attachments/article/5149/INFOGRAFIKA_ST.pdf
Implementation of the National Strategy for Financial Literacy in Latvia 2014-2020 has been carried out acting in concert with partners – FCMC, the Bank of Latvia, Ministry of Education and Science, National Centre for Education, BA School of Business and Finance, Consumer Rights Protection Centre, Association of Commercial Banks of Latvia and Latvian Insurers Association.
For Further information, please contact:
Head of Working Group
for Implementation of National Financial Literacy Strategy
Chief Public Relations Specialist
Financial and Capital Market Commission
Authors: Alberto Sostre and Shaireen Moon, Interns, Global Engagement and Evaluation, Child & Youth Finance International
The population of young people is the largest it has ever been, and one third of them live in countries affected by violent conflict. Additionally, around 75 million youth are unemployed. There is a strong likelihood that any ongoing conflict will involve the considerable participation of young people. Over the past decades, more than a hundred armed conflicts were reported, occurring primarily in developing countries.
Countless children and youth have not only sustained physical, but also psychological and economic damage. The outbreak of war compounds the adversities that many children and youth already face in developing communities. Conflict further magnifies existing socio-economic issues and decreases available opportunities for social and economic empowerment. The youth population tends to be particularly vulnerable as they are frequently targeted for recruitment and abductions during periods of conflict. Although creating employment opportunities is essential for youth, it is not always sufficient to promote economic stability and peace. Essential lifeskills and Economic Citizenship Education (ECE), especially for the youth population, are also critical to mending communities broken by years of conflict and survivalist economics. Additionally, children and youth are at risk of being drawn into illegal activities to support themselves, and turn to conflict as a means to vent their frustration with the government or to survive in communities prone to violence and lacking tangible economic opportunities.
Often the primary source of discontent from youth in conflict areas stems from the demand for improved livelihoods. In 2011, various young Yeminis took to the streets in the hope of obtaining greater employment opportunities. Stability in the context of Yemen and other conflict areas lies in rejuvenating economic growth, stimulating livelihoods, and promoting improvement of social cohesion. Through the Youth Economic Empowerment Project (YEEP), the Yemini government in collaboration with UNDP, has endeavored to reduce the risk of conflict by fulfilling the employment demands raised during the uprising. Creating economic opportunities for youth not only relates to economic growth, but also to restoring and maintaining their faith in political, social, and economic structures.
Mercy Corps, a partner in the CYFI network, invests in youth projects as a way to socially and economically engage young people as a means to create and secure productive livelihoods for themselves and their families. Mercy Corps has worked extensively in conflict stricken areas such as Afghanistan and Colombia. In Afghanistan, Mercy Corp has implemented the Introducing New Vocational Education and Skills Training (INVEST) program. The primary objective of INVEST is to increase youth employment in Helmand province through the offering of technical vocational education and training. The organization has also been involved in various reintegration programs for former child soldiers in Colombia. Mercy Corps has worked diligently on enhancing its five-year Protecting, Educating and Advancing Children and Youth in Colombia (PEACYC) program. PEACYC targets youth between the ages of 15 and 19 years old and consolidates educational programs, psychological support, and in-school and after-school protection measures.
Mercy Corps acknowledges that increasing youth employment alone does not decrease participation in violent conflicts. While youth compose a majority of the population in transitional and fragile states, they often do not have an outlet to influence local and national governments. As a result, governments do not create policies to meet the most pressing needs of youth. Disillusionment with the government may often make youth more vulnerable to recruitment by violent movements. It is essential that youth, along with securing greater economic opportunities, have the opportunity as well to engage with governments on their primary concerns and grievances.
Conflict will continue to affect vulnerable communities, especially children and youth, if an active approach is not pursued to uncover primary sources of discontent. Young people, particularly in developing areas, do not ordinarily have access to the necessary resources needed to recover after the initial outbreak of conflict. Economic opportunities and ECE enable young people to become more empowered economic and social citizens. Various NGOs and international organizations in the CYFI network are collaborating with local and national governments to provide greater economic and political opportunities to youth in conflict affected regions. As improvements to youth livelihoods increase, the risk of youth involvement in violent activities will gradually diminish.
This blog is the first in a series of summer blog articles related to the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals and are authored by youth interns at Child & Youth Finance International. Join the discussion on social media by following @ChildFinance and using the hashtag #cyfiyouth.
Amsterdam 6 May 2015 – WSBI, the global voice of retail and savings banks, and Child & Youth Finance International (CYFI), the world’s largest movement dedicated to enhancing the financial capabilities of children and youth, have signed a memorandum of understanding to formalise their ongoing collaboration. The partners will work together to empower children and youth aged 8–30 years around the world, particularly those who are vulnerable and marginalized, by increasing their financial and social capabilities, developing livelihoods, and improving their access to appropriate financial services – enabling them to build their assets and invest in their own futures.
WSBI and CYFI believe that by bringing together their combined experience, global networks, and commitment they can greatly increase young people’s capabilities and inclusion, thus enhancing their social and financial empowerment.
The partners will initially combine their efforts in four areas:
Chris De Noose, Managing Director WSBI, lauded the partnership as an "an exciting development that will combine WSBI members’ commitment to financial inclusion and responsible approach to business with the proven track record of CYFI in empowering and enhancing the financial capabilities of children and youth," and emphasized that it "will bring great benefits to both partners and to the young people WSBI and CYFI want to empower."
Jeroo Billimoria, Managing Director CYFI, noted that the partnership “will benefit both organizations and, more importantly, young people all around the world. Together with WSBI we will work to increase youth inclusion in the formal financial system, empower them with knowledge and skills, and create a bright future.”
WSBI represents the interests of 6,000 savings and retail banks globally, with total assets of $14tn and serving one billion customers in 80 countries (as of 2013). WSBI focuses on international regulatory issues that affect the savings and retail banking industry. It supports the aims of the G20 in achieving sustainable, inclusive, and balanced growth, and job creation, whether in industrialised or less developed countries. WSBI favours an inclusive form of globalization that is just and fair, supporting international efforts to advance financial access and financial usage for everyone.
CYFI - Empowering Youth with Financial Access, Knowledge and Skills
Child and Youth Finance International (CYFI) is an Amsterdam-based international NGO which aims to empower all children and youth around the world, particularly those who are vulnerable and marginalized, through an enhancement of their economic citizenship. This entails increasing their financial capability, improving their awareness of social and economic rights and their access to appropriate financial services in order to build their assets and invest in their own futures.
Child & Youth Finance International (CYFI)'s Second CYFI Network Brief
While women’s economic empowerment has recently been given a higher priority in development agendas around the world, a significant number of countries still experience considerable gender disparities, especially in access to education and economic opportunities for women and girls. National strategies have not always reflected the importance of specifically investing in adolescent girls as an essential target group.
Restrictions on access to social and financial resources are more limited for girls than boys, particularly in adolescence which is a crucial stage in a child’s social, physical, and emotional development. This publication demonstrates how policy and program interventions can address the financial and social needs of girls during this critical life stage of life to prevent any future conditions of vulnerability. With the appropriate tools and incentives girls can stay healthy and safe and create better futures for themselves and their families.
Citing specific examples from leading civil society organizations serving adolescent girls, this publication makes a strong case for holistic financial inclusion and educational programming that builds self-confidence and economic well-being for girls from an early age.
Download the Network Brief:
Why Girls Matter? Integrated Programs for the Economic Empowerment of Adolescent Girls
With the appropriate tools and incentives girls can stay safe and create better futures for themselves and their families. This second CYFI Industry Note provides an overview of the existing evidence on adolescent girls and economic empowerment, outcomes of adolescent girl interventions as well as a set of policy recommendations for the successful implementation of such interventions.
During Global Money Week, the Financial Inclusion Commission released an in-depth report confirming that financial inclusion is still an issue, even in the United Kingdom, a country leading the world in financial services.
The report finds that nearly two million adults in the UK do not have a bank account, up to 8.8 million people are over-indebted and 13 million people do not have enough savings to support them for a month if they experienced a 25% cut in income. Cause for these issues is a lack of financial capability among consumers, the fact that financial services are still not meeting the needs of low income consumers as there are not enough suitable savings and insurance products for consumers. Based on these findings, the FIC advises, among other things, to “place a statutory duty on the Financial Conduct Authority to promote financial inclusion as one of its core objectives” and to provide a comprehensive “model of financial skills training from primary school through to retirement, including at key life stages and events, and covering cultural as well as technical aspects of money management”.
The issue of suitable products is particularly key for young people’s financial capability. Recent research on financial capability shows that by the age of seven years, several basic concepts relating broadly to later ‘finance’ behaviors will typically have developed.“ They go on to outline those behaviors and discuss counting, conservation, the ability to plan ahead and choice architecture. They conclude that a familiar habit or the feeling of mastery in participating in “adult” activities such as going to the bank, provides sufficient motive for young children, and interventions to introduce or change young children’s financial behaviors should take advantage of such motivations. This is also based on the generally excepted premise that children learn from observation, instruction, and practice. Other research has suggested that “children develop financial and economic understanding when they have ‘‘personal economic experiences’’ as results show that children learn from observation, instruction, and practice. Moreover, Sherraden & Johnson propose that financial capability results when individuals develop financial knowledge and skills, but also gain access to financial instruments and institutions.
Awareness on these issues for young people specifically, is raised during Global Money Week, when a variety of different stakeholders such as NGOs, ministries and central banks are engaging children worldwide on topics such as financial literacy and entrepreneurship. The financial sector has also been actively involved in such campaigns, through organizing different activities, such as schools visits and workshops. Despite this, the issue of suitable financial products and low financial capability is still very current: financial inclusion is low even for adults. Financial institutions therefore should increase their efforts on the creation of true financial inclusion both for adults (and in line with the European Commission’s recommendation) and for young people (by developing and rolling out of “child-friendly” banking products). Comprehensive models for increasing financial capability, focused both on financial literacy and financial inclusion should be coordinated with national authorities and civil society, especially for children and youth (both for in-school and out-of-school programs).
In line with this model, the OECD encourages the partnership between private and other stakeholders in financial education either by providing in-kind resources and advice or dedicated financial support, or, in some cases, by becoming an implementing partner, such as the successful case in the Netherlands where the Ministry of Finance involves the private sector and civil society. However, as instructed also by the OECD, the private sector contributing to financial education should at the same time be monitored and guided in order to manage potential conflicts of interests. Dedicated standards for the development and implementation of financial education programs by the private sector should be developed. More generally, the development of financial education programs by the private sector should not involve the promotion or marketing of specific financial products or services. They therefore strongly encourage the involvement of national organizations or civil society programs.
PRESS RELEASE -FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 13-2015, Amsterdam, the Netherlands - 16 March 2015 will mark the European launch of Ye! - the global youth entrepreneurship platform. The launch will take place at the EESC in Brussels, Belgium. The event is being held under the auspices of the European Parliament as a symbol of their support for young people and youth entrepreneurs in Europe. The event also marks the penultimate day of 2015 Global Money Week, a money awareness, savings, and entrepreneurship campaign for children and youth. Several million young people in more than 100 countries worldwide have participated in fun Global Money Week activities during the 2015 campaign.
The Ye! platform links young entrepreneurs to experienced coaches and investors, useful tools and resources and other entrepreneurial youth across the world. The launch event will feature a unique pitching event in which ten promising entrepreneurs from Europe and around the world, all under the age of 30, will pitch their businesses to investors, policy makers, bankers and other financial experts. Speakers will include Mr. Philippe De Backer, MEP, European Parliament, Mr. Marko Curavic, Entrepreneurship and Social Economy, European Commission, Ms. Monica Chaves, Director of MasterCard Global Philanthropy, and Mr. Olivier Debande, European Investment Bank.
Ye! is an online and offline portal which has been developed by Child and Youth Finance International (CYFI) for the next generation of leading entrepreneurs. Ye! connects young entrepreneurs from across the world and provides them with an ecosystem designed to help their business thrive. On Ye!, young entrepreneurs can share their experiences, look for country specific resources and access country entrepreneurship guides, apply for coaching and gain access to funding opportunities.
"Entrepreneurship is an on-ramp to financial inclusion and an important pathway to economic prosperity" said Monica Chaves, Director for Global Philanthropy at the MasterCard Center for Inclusive Growth. "Helping young entrepreneurs gain the essential tools for success is not just a noble cause. It is a necessity to ensure that the economy remains dynamic and competitive."
"Building a thriving community of young entrepreneurs would not be possible without the support of partners such as MasterCard." - Jeroo Billimoria, Managing Director, Child & Youth Finance International
Developed by a young entrepreneurial team, the portal incorporates ideas and suggestions of young entrepreneurs from different parts of the world, to make sure that Ye! is up to date with their latest needs and best accommodates them. The team will continue to involve the community for feedback so it will truly be the global community for and by young entrepreneurs. The Ye! initiative is supported by MasterCard Corporation, a world leader in card and cashless payment services.
Ye!'s ambition is to reach 10 million young entrepreneurs by 2020, leveraging the strong foundation of CYFI's global network and success.
Worldwide, 357.7 million youth were not in education, employment, or training in 2010. This number is increasing. Over the next 10 years, 600 million jobs need to be created "in order to generate sustainable growth and maintain social cohesion" (WorldBank, 2012). By stimulating and supporting the next generation of high-level entrepreneurs, Ye! empowers youth to take control of their own futures and stimulates job creation. Technology has proven to be a low cost channel for people to connect and have access to resources in a way that has been unimaginable before. Ye! leverages the power of technology and establishes a global online community for entrepreneurs.
More information about Ye! is available via www.yecommunity.com
Global Money Week is an annual global financial literacy and entrepreneurship celebration. Countries from every continent participate in order to raise awareness of the importance of financial education and financial inclusion for children and youth. Global Money Week is coordinated and led by Child & Youth Finance International (CYFI), a non-profit organization based in Amsterdam. Major participating organizations include Central Banks, governmental authorities, NGOs, banking associations, financial institutions, corporations, schools, local businesses, and youth groups among others.
In 2012, 21 countries participated in Global Money Week, reaching 33,000 children. In 2013, the number of countries taking part rose by 281% to 80 countries, reaching over 1 million children with 403 organizations involved. In 2014 118 countries with 490 organizations were involved, reaching 3 million children. For many of the participating countries, Global Money Week provided a platform for multi-sectorial national stakeholders to collaborate -many for the first time - on developing financial education and inclusion initiatives and policies in their countries.
More information about Global Money Week is available via www.globalmoneyweek.org
About the Child and Youth Finance Movement
Amsterdam-based Child and Youth Finance International (CYFI) leads the world's largest Movement dedicated to enhancing the financial capabilities of children and youth. Launched in April 2012, the CYF Movement has already reached over 100 countries and has more than 35 million young people. The CYF Movement has one central objective: increase the economic citizenship of children and youth. Children and youth are the future economic actors whose financial decisions will dictate the future of world economies. Providing young people with the economic and social environment to prosper and the competences (financial, social and livelihoods) to thrive has a meaningful impact on the lives of individuals and the communities in which they live.
More information about CYFI is available via www.childfinanceinternational.org
Director of Communications
Child & Youth Finance International
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Events and Communication Coordinator
Child & Youth Finance International
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CYFI Social Media Channels
Social Media Hashtags:
@ChildFinance, @CYFIYouth @Ye_Community @GlobalMoneyWeek
Social Media Hashtags for the Ye! Launch Event are:
#Ye!, #entrepreneurship, #youth, #startups, #YePitchEvent
On October 6-8, 2015, Making Cents International is hosting its 9th Global Youth Economic Opportunities Summit in Washington, D.C. The Summit will assemble 460+ leading stakeholders from 70 countries that represent multiple perspectives across youth related sectors including economic development, education and health. As a result of this diversity, the summit will provide an opportunity to exchange knowledge, discuss experiences and expand professional networks.
The 2015 Summit theme is “Scale in Practice”, with 5 separate technical tracks: Workforce Development, Enterprise Development, Financial Inclusion, Gender, Monitoring and Evaluation, and Technology. Through technical workshops, plenary discussion, interactive breakout sessions, and networking events the summit promotes exchange of knowledge and existing practices in these tracks.
Child & Youth Finance International encourages policy makers and practitioners active in the field of youth economic development and to attend this important event as it provides a springboard for important programming that empowers youth and assists them in achieving their goals as economic citizens.
Making Cents International is now accepting proposals for speakers at the 2015 Global Youth Economic Opportunities Summit. Presenting at the Summit enhances participants’ ability to gain visibility, highlight their expertise, and expand their network.
The deadline to submit a proposal is Thursday, March 26, 2015.
Efma hosted the first annual Pan-African Retail Banking Summit in Johannesburg, South Africa on February 11-12, 2015. The Summit provided a forum for delegates to network and discuss the latest trends and innovations in financial inclusion in retail banking in Africa.
The 3rd Annual Conference of The Arab Banking Training Network was hosted by the Emirates Institute for Banking and Financial Studies and the Egyptian Banking Institute at Etihad Towers in Abu Dhabi, U.A.E. on January 28th, 2015. The meeting brought together central banks and banking institutes representatives from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).
During the conference, the Egyptian Banking Institute (EBI) presented their innovative financial education initiatives and their plans for their participation in Global Money Week 2015.
The participants in the conference including Egyptian Banking Institute, Al Maghrib, Saudi Arabia’s Banking Institute, the Palestinian Banking Institute, and Oman’s College of Banking and Financial Studies expressed their interest in advancing initiatives on financial literacy for children and youth in their countries.
The United Nations Winter Youth Assembly was held in New York, USA, on February 11& 12 2015. The theme, Bridging the Gap Between Youth Employment and Global Development, catalyzed a number of interesting panel and group discussions.
The emphasis on youth creating their own entrepreneurial opportunities was a key point raised throughout the two-day session which brought together more than 500 UN youth delegates from all over the world.
“It’s time to invent jobs, not just seek jobs; to write business plans, not just CVs. It is time to create structural and permanent ways to engage,” said UN Youth Envoy, Mr. Ahmad Alhendawi – a timely quote which was echoed in CYFI Youth Coordinator Kimberly De Rose’s workshop on Youth Shaping the Future of Finance as CYFI strives to battle the rising youth unemployment rates faced today by countries all over the world.
The importance of youth voice, inclusion and empowerment was reinforced throughout the assembly, particularly in relation to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). CYFI would like to help ensure that the voices of youth are heard in relation to the various targets related to economic citizenship, which will be finalized in September of this year.
For more information on the UN Youth Winter Assembly please visit their website.
Taking place in one of Europe’s entrepreneurial hubs, the Startup Europe Summit was hosted in Berlin by the Factory on the February 12-13, 2015. Attended by some of Europe’s leading startups, European policymakers, venture capitalists, corporations, and startup accelerators, the discussions focused on the future of European entrepreneurship. Big name attendees included GoEurope, Blablacar, Günther Öttinger, Andrus Ansip, Neelie Kroes of the EU Commission (and the Dutch Special Envoy for Startups), Index Ventures, Startup Bootcamp, Microsoft, Coca-Cola, and Google.
The Startup Summit provided a space for entrepreneurs and policymakers alike to learn about the evolutions and opportunities for startups and young entrepreneurs in Europe. Child & Youth Finance International’s Innovation Coordinator, Philip Harris, who is currently running Ye! – an online platform for young entrepreneurs - launch and pitching events, attended the Summit.
The main theme which emerged from the discussions was the importance of increased connection and collaboration at a European and global level. These trends are picking up on two levels:
Startups: greater connectivity is needed between key players in the startup industry, especially the entrepreneurs themselves and the financial providers. Modern startups are almost immediately international thanks to the global connections offered by the Internet, but there remains a lack of international communities to make these international connections easier. There are a host of online and mobile platforms perfectly suited to this: for instance through WhatsApp and Facebook or through online communities such as Ye!
Ecosystem: startup accelerators, incubators, bootcamps, government schemes, business model trainings set up by corporations, competitions, etc. There are a growing number of local and international programs which aim to give startups the boost they need to take their businesses to the next level; and while cross-sector collaboration is catching on, more needs to be done to connect the different types of organizations supporting youth enterprise, such as during the Startup Europe Summit. The European Union recognizes this, and the Commission in particular is increasingly active in setting up European-level programs such as Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs. This is also why the European Economic and Social Committee is hosting the Ye! European Launch & Pitching Event on March 16, 2015, in Brussels, where different stakeholders will attend to discuss greater collaboration in the future, as this will offer young entrepreneurs holistic and effective support and positively impact the entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Connecting-platforms such as Ye! are a necessity for startups and young entrepreneurs around the world. The fact that Ye! is only 3 months old and has gained worldwide support for the networking, funding and resource sharing opportunities it offers young startups across the globe is testament to this.
The Second UNESCO Global Forum on Global Citizenship Education (GCED) was held in Paris on January 28-30, 2015. The Open Working Group on the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has set GCED, now a priority topic, as an associated target of the main education goal due to its potential role in creating peace and sustainability throughout the world.
Representatives from OECD, Plan International, UNESCO, amongst others, presented on their experiences teaching and measuring the impacts of topics related to GCED, including human rights, environmental sustainability, civic activism and peace education. Child & Youth Finance International (CYFI) participated as a discussant in the session Taking the Agenda Forward - pushing for a greater emphasis on the economic dimension of GCED and the inclusion of financial literacy and entrepreneurship education in the GCED learning framework.
GCED should provide both information and practical tools for engaging in sustainable economic activities, promoting decent work while fostering entrepreneurship.Youth delegate in their closing address to the GCED Forum
CYFI supports the statement given by the youth delegates at the close of the GCED Forum, calling for a more permanent role for youth participation in the development of the Post-2015 Framework for Action in GCED. We also fully support their call for GCED to “provide both information and practical tools for engaging in sustainable economic activities, promoting decent work while fostering entrepreneurship.”
CYFI welcome’s UNESCO’s call for equipping youth with values, attitudes and skills that are necessary for forging a more peaceful, inclusive and sustainable world. CYFI believes education has a transformative power and can enable youth to take up on their role of responsible global citizens. However, CYFI strongly backs the following points:
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