Exploring New Frontiers in Youth Microfinance

CYFI had the pleasure of hosting the panel at the 18th Microcredit Summit in Abu Dhabi on Reshaping the Future of Youth Finance and Economic Citizenship. The panel was held during Global Money Week (GMW) 2016 with CYFI and the Microcredit Summit Campaign forming a strategic media partnership to promote both the Summit and GMW during the week of March 14-18th.

The panel consisted of Ms. Essma ben Hamida, Executive Director of Enda-Inter Arabe in Tunisia, Mr. Tim Nourse, President of Making Cents International and Dr. Khaled Algazawi, CEO of Ebdaa Microfinance Bank in Bahrain. Given the location of the Summit, and the background of the majority of the panelists and participants, the session focused on new frontiers in youth microfinance within the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.

The panelists shared many of challenges they face in scaling their operations and reaching youth with a wider range of financial and non-financial services such as financial education, business management and career counselling. They also hi-lighted a need to more effectively serve young people aged 15-25, as this is recognized as a critical age cohort for economic and social stability in the region. Stories were shared of the countless unemployed and under employed MENA youth idling away their time in cafes, susceptible to the allure of criminal activity or risky migration channels to Europe.

Youth at the Center of Microfinance Innovation

In an effort to make a greater difference in the lives of youth, and to encourage them to seek sustainable livelihoods as engaged economic citizens, microfinance institutions (MFIs) in the region are taking more innovative approaches in reaching out to young clients. Harnessing technological advancements in mobile banking and e-learning was one way to bring financial and non-financial services into the hands of youth through a favourable digital medium. Forming creative partnerships with education providers and civil society organizations also helped MFIs offer integrated financial and educational services that were more relevant and tailored to the needs of their youth clientele. It also allowed them to more easily reach younger, poorer and more isolated segments of the youth population.

The panel also highlighted the important role of religious leaders and civil society organizations in collaborating with MFIs in building economic citizenship amongst young people by instilling a greater belief in themselves and identifying positive ways in which they can support themselves and make a difference in their community. Through the accumulation of financial and social assets, and with the development of essential financial and entrepreneurial skills, young people can take greater control of their futures and contribute more effectively to their families and to society at large. MFIs play an important role in this process, especially in a region affected by poverty, unemployment, conflict and insurgency.

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Jeroo Billimoria speaks about the power of Associations

CYFI’s Found and Executive Director, Jeroo Billimoria, joined Associations from across the globe to speak at the Associations World Congress in Berlin on April 11.

Titled ‘Engaging our future leaders to create long-lasting expertise, knowledge and ethical leadership’, Jeroo’s presentation focused on the many ways in which Associations can engage with young people to promote financial inclusion, development of livelihoods skills and job creation for youth.

Linking the influence of Associations to CYFI’s collaborative systems change approach, Jeroo noted that regardless of their field, all Associations can positively impact the lives of children and youth through collective action.

You can read more about the Associations World Congress here, and read Jeroo’s guest blog post here.

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The Promise of Youth Savings Groups

The long awaited report on the Youth Savings Group (YSG) Model from the Banking on Change (BOC) project has provided a valuable resource to the youth finance industry.

CYFI is keen to promote the report’s findings as it gives clear recommendations on how young people can build financial capability through active participation in savings groups, and how these groups can be effectively linked with formal financial service providers. The release of the BOC report coincided with the theme of Global Money Week 2016 - “Take Part, Save Smart.” Linking financial education and inclusion is central to CYFI’s Theory of Change on economic citizenship for young people and YSGs can provide an important model for economic empowerment for young people in different parts of the world.

In three years, the BOC project has established 11,725 YSGs in Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia, reaching 132,000 youngsters under the age of 25. The report highlights the challenge facing many African youth in accessing basic financial services and obtaining the necessary skills to use these services well. With such a high percentage of African youth remaining unbanked in the formal finance sector, YSGs offer a promising avenue for young people to access the services they need and develop positive financial behaviours. BOC makes the strong case that YSGs can help enhance young people’s economic status by introducing them to informal financial services, providing a viable stepping stone to formal financial inclusion and sustainable livelihoods.

Young people can save and make it a family affair

The findings from the BOC project confirmed that young people are highly capable of saving regularly and borrowing responsibly within the YSGs. The project demonstrated how average savings per member and loan size per member gradually increased over the course of the project in a similar manner to comparable adult savings groups. These findings dispel many of the prevailing myths about young savers in that they lack financial discipline or enough commitment to make YSGs viable.

BOC was also able to demonstrate how YSGs became a family affair rather than something they did on their own. Evidence from the project showed how YSG membership became part of a larger system of saving, borrowing, income generation and other financial flows between household members. BOC also found a significant element of intergenerational learning between parents and young people involved in the YSGs, especially in cases where parents themselves lacked a degree of financial literacy.

YSGs as a model for SchoolBank

One of the key principles for the YSG model highlighted in the BOC report related to the responsible linkage of YSGs to formal financial institutions. CYFI has also advocated for a schoolbanking model where the school itself acts as a proxy representative of the bank, providing account initiation and ongoing transaction support to a school based savings group.

Both CYFI and BOC are committed to ensuring that such linkages between YSGs and formal financial institutions should be carried out in accordance with the Linking for Change Savings Charter Principles and the Child and Youth Friendly Banking Principles. CYFI is grateful for the BOC report and will continue to explore the potential for YSGs to advance various schoolbanking initiatives around the world.

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CYFI Network Stars: Tumelo Sejo Boitumelo

This month, we are highlighting the efforts of Tumelo Sejo Boitumelo, a student at the University of Botswana who is active around financial literacy for young people in Botswana. Keep up the great work Sejo!

Tumelo Sejo Boitumelo is a young Motswana lady, who is very passionate about financial literacy. A final year student, majoring in finance, she is a financial advocate and writes articles on financial matters in the University Of Botswana Horizon newspaper.

Sejo has spear-headed several public speaking competitions in her university. Sejo noted:

'My team and I have organized the #LightTheWay campaign in Gaborone, Botswana. My dream is to educate the community about financial education and eventually eradicate the financial deficiency that exists within my society. I believe there is so much that needs to be done, and it is my duty to be a pioneer of that change.'

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National Financial Education Strategies Training for CYFI South-Eastern European Working Group

Another meeting of CYFI South-East European Working Group for Child and Youth Financial Education and Financial Inclusion took place in Podgorica, Montenegro, on 6-8 April 2016, hosted by the Central Bank of Montenegro. The intensive three-day training was conducted for the members of the Working Group specifically on the process of the development of national financial education strategies. More than 25 participants from central banks, financial regulatory authorities, ministries of education from 8 countries of the region (Albania, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Romania, Slovenia) took part in the training.

This comprehensive training module was developed by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and the German Savings Banks’ Foundation for International Cooperation (SBFIC) in 2014, and is currently being disseminated by CYFI Secretariat within the framework of CYFI-GIZ collaboration. The training in Montenegro was delivered by CYFI staff and the international consultant Shaun Mundy.

The training received very good feedback from the participants, and provided countries with valuable insights on the important topics related to elaboration of the national financial education strategies, including stakeholders’ management, leadership and governance, monitoring and evaluation etc. The training included a substantial amount of time allocated to the development of the national work and action plans, and representatives of different institutions from the countries had a chance to sit together and plan concrete next steps to advance financial education in their countries.

The next Working Group meeting will take place during the international CYFI Summit in Bucharest, Romania, 28-29 June 2016. Thank you to the Central Bank of Montenegro for hosting the training!

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Making Financial, Social and Entrepreneurship Education Stick in Southern Africa

South Africa has taken great strides forward in building the financial capability of its young generations through the StarSaver™ Programme. On April 7th and 8th, the South African Banking Association South Africa, together with the National Department of Basic Education and Aflatoun International, held a regional seminar to promote dialogue and strategies on how to align social education, financial literacy and entrepreneurship education in schools across the country while aligning this initiative with the targets of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Education 2030 and various National Development Plans (NDPs) in Southern Africa.

The seminar was attended by government authorities, education providers and financial institutions each with a stake in delivering effective educational programming that combines financial, social and entrepreneurship elements. Curriculum integration, quality assurance, technologically enhanced learning and teacher training were all important topics of discussion.

CYFI’s role in the seminar was to present the value to integrating financial access with the educational dimension of the StarSaver™ Programme. Through a variety of SchoolBanking models, the financial institutions in attendance were able to explore how they could partner with StarSaver schools, offering students a platform for both learning and financial inclusion. CYFI’s Managing Director, Jeroo Billimoria, provided a video address on financial education and economic citizenship, pointing out that the development of foundational entrepreneurial and life skills were key for any society to move forward to a better future. CYFI is excited to see the tremendous progress made in South Africa on advancing financial education for young people. We are confident that financial institutions, government authorities and education providers in South African and throughout the region will continue to find innovative ways to expand the reach of quality education and Child and Youth Friendly banking to young people in Southern Africa.

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Parents and Kids talk Money Matters in Canada

On April 20th, more than 4,000 schools and 600,000 students in Canada will take part in the nationwide Talk With Our Kids About Money Day (TWOKAM) program.

TWOKAM is an initiative of the Canadian Foundation for Economic Education (CFEE), a CYFI Network Partner, and the BMO Financial Group, one of the largest banks in the country. The program was launched in 2013 in Toronto and Montreal area schools but has since expanded to include each Canadian province. In addition to ‘money talks’ in classrooms and homes across Canada, Money Fairs and other special events will be taking place in Quebec, British Colombia and New Brunswick. Parents and teachers can visit the TWOKAM Website for free access to easy to follow activity guides and lesson plans aligned to provincial curriculum.

TWOKAM is an important event that encourages parents, teachers and students to speak openly about issues related to earning, spending saving and budgeting money. Such events break down barriers preventing conversation on subjects related to income and personal finance that can often be taboo in society. When young people are exposed to financial, social and entrepreneurship education, and have positive mentors to whom they can turn for financial advice, they become more financially capable and responsible economic citizens.

CYFI fully supports this initiative to increase intergenerational dialogue on financial issues and is pleased to see that such activities are increasing across Canada.

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Training and Experience sharing between Central and Eastern European partners

Within the framework of the project supported by Visegrad 4 Eastern Partnership Program of International Visegrad Fund, CYFI together with the National Youth and Children’s Palace (Georgia) hosted a three-day Training of Trainers on 13-15 April 2016 in Tbilisi, Georgia.

The Training was a follow-up event of the kick-off meeting that was held in Bratislava in October 2016 within the framework of the project “Transfer of experience of Visegrad countries to Eastern Partnership countries and building capacity and technical expertise of civil society organizations in the field of financial education for children and youth”.

Project partners, independent consultants and experts from 10 countries took part in the event. The training covered the topics such as national standards for youth financial education programs based on the case of Slovakia, stakeholder management in financial education, teacher training and methodologies in financial education, and models for integration of financial education into the school curriculum (cross-curriculum and as a separate financial literacy subject). The training sessions were delivered by experts in the field, including representatives of ministries of education, teacher training institutes, independent consultants and CYFI and its network partners, and were conducted in an interactive manner with the emphasis on practical learning and experience by the training participants. The training was held in English and Russian languages.

CYFI project partners include financial regulators, financial organizations, educational institutions and civil society organizations from Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Ukraine and Moldova. The Training gathered not only project partners, but also representatives of governmental bodies – central banks, ministries of finance and education, and international experts in the field of financial literacy.

The next steps of the project will include dissemination seminars in Azerbaijan, Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine, and publication of the Best Practices Guide, based on the experiences of partner countries of the project.

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Potential partnership opportunity for distribution of financial literacy materials!

Today, children and teenagers are exposed to financial informational noise in disproportionately larger volumes compared to just a few decades ago. The world is asking them to think quicker, learn quicker, make effective decisions on the go. Development of financial literacy is one of the main keys to obtaining vital life skills.

As a team of experts in teaching children and teenagers the basics of financial literacy and entrepreneurship, in 2013 CYFI network partner the Ukrainian Association of New Economic Education created an educational product – a book for parents called “How to tell your kids about money” for development of financial literacy of children aged 2 to 16. In essence, it is an edutainment instruction manual containing 100 home games and activities for family learning. The founder of the Ukrainian Association of New Economic Education was also a coordinator of the national financial literacy program of the National Bank of Ukraine, and the Association is an active contributor to the Global Money Week activities in Ukraine since 2013.

In the two years since the release of the book in print and electronic form, it was ordered by parents from 11 countries. In addition to parents, it is also ideally suited as a guide for kindergarten teachers, school teachers, tutors at various courses dealing with financial education for children.

In the momentum of Global Money Week 2016 the Ukrainian Association of New Economic Education and School of Financial Literacy and Entrepreneurship ‘Detki-Monetki’ would like the book to gain maximum dissemination through translation to different languages. Thus, they are seeking for partnerships and cooperation opportunities to consider the possibility of joint distribution of these educational materials.

We encourage you to get acquainted with this partnership offer that contains the description of the book and the project, goals and objectives, and authors’ vision for the joint distribution of the book, as well as a profile of their experienced team. You can find the offer here in English and here in Russian language and for any questions please contact the authors Sergii Bidenko and Iryna Zolotarevychvia This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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Mobile Banking Is Calling for Youth!

Global Money Week allows us to shine a spotlight on the importance of financial inclusion for children and youth. The YouthSave consortium recently released a synthesis report on its large scale research experiment into formal savings among youth in the developing world. Youth take up an increasingly greater portion of the total population in the global South, but largely remain financially excluded. The report provides a much-needed evidence base to further the thinking on the benefits of providing youth with savings. However, many financial institutions will discover that setting up a savings product for youth in the developing world is extremely costly.

For reasons such as low or unstable account balances, frequent transactions, and an affordable and incentivizing fees and rewards scheme, operational expenses are high for youth savings accounts in developing countries. The uncertain nature of youth savings makes these deposits ill-suited for on-lending and therefore deprives financial institutions of a primary source of revenues. For youth savings to be viable, financial institutions must take different approaches to scaling up youth savings products in a sustainable manner.

The potential of mobile banking

Mobile technology has been heralded as the future for financial inclusion of the poor. Indeed, mobile banking can particularly offer microfinance institutions (MFIs) some significant cost reductions. Personnel and travel are important cost drivers for an MFI, due to its relatively strong client interaction. However, one example from a mobile banking MFI pilot by PlaNet Finance in South-East Asia shows how the MFI managed to reduce its travel costs for connecting with its savings clients by 79 per cent. Another MFI in Kenya has almost doubled its field staff caseload levels as customers do not need to be visited as often. Also education expenses may be reduced if mobile technology is used as a complementary channel for providing youth financial education.

The costs of setting up a mobile banking system are becoming increasingly within reach for MFIs. In a new research paper from Child and Youth Finance International (CYFI) we demonstrate how the design and implementation costs are approximately equal to the annual running costs of one single bank branch.

Continued challenges and developing solutions

However, mobile banking cannot be viewed as a magic solution for financial inclusion and the enhancement of financial capability. A mobile banking pilot evaluation by BRAC in Bangladesh illustrates some of the challenges ahead. Clients found mobile banking sometimes difficult to use and not in line with their financial needs. Others did not always have trust in the agent, system infrastructure or network coverage. Then there were those who simply did not feel comfortable with technology. What is the use of setting up a cost-reducing mobile banking system if people are reluctant to use it?

This is where youth savings products come into the picture. Mobile phone penetration rates in developing countries among youth aged 15-24 are generally higher than among the 25+. Youth are usually keen to test new innovations and are still receptive to - and quick to take up - substantial education in financial literacy and product usage. Youth fully familiarized with mobile banking can act as a gateway to educating and building trust among the less tech-savvy generations.

However, there are a few caveats that could limit a large-scale uptake among youth. Regulatory SIM registration requirements are in some countries increasingly limiting the scope for those below the age of majority to legally acquire a SIM card. This adds another layer to the often already stringent regulatory environments that exists concerning youth access to financial services.

Yet even under a favourable regulatory environment, the uptake of youth savings products cannot be guaranteed and will instead largely depend on their perceived relevance and how comfortable and satisfied youth are with using them. As new consumer financial protection concerns emerge, MFIs will need to gain great awareness of the distinct needs and vulnerabilities youth face depending on factors such as age, gender, socio-economic status, level of education, patterns of income and expenditure, financial and household responsibility and phone ownership. Particularly the poorest and most vulnerable youth may, for instance, share one phone with several relatives or friends, which raises important digital privacy issues. CYFI has defined general Child and Youth-Friendly Banking Principles to guide financial institutions in a youth-centered product design, including mobile services.

Providing youth savings through mobile phones will remain expensive. Previous business case analyses have argued that – through cross-selling other, profitable financial products to the family members and peers of youth clients – MFIs could somehow manage to keep youth savings products financially sustainable. However, the true value of youth clients may lie elsewhere. If properly executed, youth can become champions of a revolutionary mobile banking system. It would be a triple win for youth, MFIs and adult customers. Mobile banking starts with youth and Global Money Week provides an excellent opportunity to promote this cause.

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“Children & Finance” project in Russia

A research has been conducted in Russia to access the level of financial knowledge among the country’s children and youth. This research was initiated by National Agency for Financial Studies (NAFI), under the project called ‘Children and Finance’.

Next to financial knowledge, the factors that exert most influence on the financial behaviour of children and youth were also assessed, as well as throughout desk research of best international practices was conducted. The project was sponsored by MasterCard and further supported by the Association of Russian Banks, Non-profit Partnership for the Development of Financial Market RTS, and Child & Youth Finance International (CYFI). The research was carried out between February and May of 2015 and involved both quantitative and qualitative methods like focus group discussions with children, online surveys, and interviews with parents throughout the country.

The results were published at the end of 2015 and exposed a quite drastic situation concerning financial knowledge of children and youth. Starting with parents, only 8% of them appeared to be keeping detailed financial records of family’s income and expenses. As there is no coherent program for financial education throughout the country, it is the task of parents to teach their children the basics of financial system. However, 77% of parents do not keep financial records and 73% do not involve their children in financial decisions. Further, only 16% of parents are interested in the opinions of their children about financial matters.

The overall conclusion of the report is that children and youth are under risk of being financially illiterate. They depend on their parents for guidance in financial matters, who often themselves lack the necessary knowledge and experience in the area.

The report also includes a very interesting review of international, as well as Russian banking products for children and youth available on the market at the moment.

You can find the research summary report of the project in English here. The full publication in Russian is available here.

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Mapping the Regional Landscape of Youth Bank Accounts in Central and Eastern Europe

CYFI are pleased to release the final version of the report “The Regional Financial Inclusion Landscape of Youth Bank Accounts: Selected country cases from Central and Eastern Europe”, written by Karina Avakyan, Bianca Isaincu and Floor Knoote.

The report presents and analyses the findings of the study conducted by CYFI Secretariat and its network partners in 2014-2015 on the availability and features of banking products for children and youth in five selected countries of Central and Eastern Europe – Armenia, Belarus, Croatia, Czech Republic and Moldova. More than 60 financial service providers (FSPs) from these countries responded on a comprehensive survey on the existence, features, integration of financial education component and characteristics of current and savings accounts that they are offering for children and youth.

Findings indicate that more than 80% of FSPs do offer a bank account for young people, but a far less percentage of these products comply with Child and Youth Friendly Banking Principles, created by CYFI, Mastercard and CYFI network partners. The current report is the first attempt to collect and analyze this kind of data, and CYFI Secretariat aims to develop and deepen the analysis when replicating the study in other regions and countries in the future.

CYFI Network partners supported data collection from the banking institutions between September 2014 and May 2015 – Union of Banks of Armenia, the National Bank of the Republic of Belarus, Croatian National Bank, Ministry of Finance of Czech Republic and the National Bank of the Republic of Moldova. The report was also peer-reviewed by Ms. Olga Tomilova, Regional Representative for Europe and Central Asia of CGAP (the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor), who also provided valuable advice and guidance on the structure, format and data analysis of the project.

A special thank you goes out to CYFI interns - Veronika Shevchenko, Alexandra Nabilskaya and Stanley Nosten for their invaluable help in analysis and design of this publication.

Please read the full report here and the Russian summary of the report here.
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People's Postcode Lottery supports CYFI!

Child and Youth Finance Internatioal (CYFI) is delighted to announce that players of People’s Postcode Lottery have awarded an extra £1.425 million to long-term supported charities - CYFI is one of 57 charities that will receive the extra £25,000 award from players of the charity lottery.

CYFI received the news of the additional funding at the 2016 People’s Postcode Lottery Charity Gala. The event, which took place on Thursday 28 January at the Assembly Rooms in Edinburgh, was a celebration of the hard work achieved by charities supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

Support from the People's Postcode Lottery has helped CYFI to expand its Network and projects, and will continue to help the organisation go further in working to acheive financial inclusion for young people worldwide.

Clara Govier, Head of Charities at People’s Postcode Lottery, said: “As People’s Postcode Lottery continues to grow the amount that our players award to good causes continues to increase. We are very proud that our players can continue to support the development of these fantastic causes.”

This additional funding comes at a very exciting time for the charity lottery as they mark 10 years since the first ever draw. The last 10 years have created thousands of lucky winners but also have provided vital funding for numerous charities across Great Britain and internationally. A minimum of 27.5% is awarded to charities and good causes with over £99.6 million awarded to date.

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Launch of UpUp app – pocketing a pocket money solution!

Getting and managing pocket money from their parents can be a problem for many youngsters. One of CYFI network partners, the UpUp app, with the support of MasterCard, has produced an easy and fun solution for this problem.

Launched on March 1st, the UpUp app will be available in both App Store and Google Play as a free app that can help children ask their parents for pocket money with pictures and comments, discuss the purchases and financial affairs in the interactive chat and instantly make cashless transfers from parent’s card to the child’s card. The app is aimed for both children and parents with the vision to solve translaction issues and increase financial literacy of children, using “learning by doing” method.

The UpUp app, together with the Social Card of Muscovite, were awarded CYFI Banking product endorsement in 2015, that is given to banking products by institutions from CYFI network that comply with the necessary set of Child & Youth Friendly Banking Products Principles, applicable to current and savings banking products. The Social Card of Muscovite is a multifunctional card offered by Bank of Moscow and the Department of Information and Technologies of Moscow city in Russian Federation.

From 2016 the Social Card of Muscovite will also include the UpUp app as additional functionality. The Card targets pupils and students of public and private state-accredited institutions of primary vocational education, secondary, secondary specialized educational institutions and full-time students of higher educational establishments of the city of Moscow.

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CYFI Network Stars: Jhose Adolfo Quinsocala Condori

CYFI are very lucky to have an active Network, and one of our youngest members of the CYFI Youth Network, Jhose Adolofo Quisocala Condori, is a great example of the role young people play in bringing about change!

At just 10 years old, Jhose has been very active throughout previous GMW celebrations and was Awarded a special recognition for his work in promoting financial inclusion for youth in his native country of Peru.


What Jhose says about himself:

'Despite my young age, I am very happy to be a part of the CYFI Youth Network. I grew up with CYFI, my first participation as a finalist for the Financial Inclusion category of the CYFI Youth Awards competition in 2013, which instilled in me the interest in developing activities for children and youth. Having won the "Financial Youth Landscape" Youth Awards Prize in 2014 in NYC at the United Nations, I have committed myself to continue working for the development of Financial Inclusion of children and young people in Peru.

"Ser miembro del Comité de Jóvenes, es uno "Honor" para mi, y una gran responsabilidad para con los jóvenes de la región de las Américas y el Caribe. asumo este reto con mucha humildad y responsabilidad." (“It is an honor for me to be a member of the Youth Committee, and a great responsibility for the young people of the Americas and the Caribbean. I take on this role with humbleness and responsibility.")

Jhose's plans for GMW 2016

Jhose will be hosting a Youth Talk at 9:00am (Peruvian time) on Saturday 19th March, to discuss the following topics
  • Importance of financial education for children and youth
  • Importance of savings
  • The role of authorities in the development of children and youth
  • The education and experience of financial inclusion for children and youth in Peru

Officials from the SBS, La Caje Arequipa, as well as the Mayor of Arequipa will be joining Jhose in his talk. If you are interested to join, please contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Financial Literacy Working Group and Curriculum Integration in Bulgaria

Over 40 institutions and organizations from all sectors of the public life – government, business, NGO, media, academia – have joined a Financial Literacy Working Group organized in Bulgaria in 2015.

The establishment of the working group aims to facilitate dialogue, coordination and information exchange among different stakeholders in the area of financial literacy. One of the main objectives of the group is to develop proposals on how to address the main issues related to the further development of financial literacy policy in Bulgaria, and present them to the relevant authorities. The group includes representatives from Ministry of Finance, National Revenue Agency, National Social Insurance Institute, Economic Institute of Bulgarian Academy of Science, and number of other state institutions. It is coordinated by CYFI network partner Financial Literacy Initiative Foundation (FLI), the only Bulgarian NGO that exclusively focuses its activity on financial literacy.

The group has been created as part of the activities within the project “BG Financial Literacy Map” implemented by Financial Literacy Initiative Foundation (FLI) and funded under the Financial Mechanism of the European Economic Area. One of the main goals of the project is to map the financial literacy field in Bulgaria: the “players” and the “available financial education resources”. Youth was identified as the key target group for the Working Group. The findings of the mapping exercise show that only about 4% of financial businesses in the country are somehow involved in financial education activities.

Moreover, from the next school year Bulgarian students will be studying entrepreneurship as obligatory part of the school curriculum. The next school year a new subject– “Technology and Entrepreneurship” – will be introduced, staring with the first grade. The financial education is part of the new subject, and the students will learn the basics of personal finance management. This will be achieved mainly through practical activities in engaging and stimulating way. The new subject was included as an obligatory subject in the school curriculum due to the efforts of NGOs promoting entrepreneurship, financial literacy, and career development like Junior Achievement Bulgaria and Financial Literacy Initiative Foundation.

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People's Postocde Lottery supports CYFI!

Child and Youth Finance Internatioal (CYFI) is delighted to announce that players of People’s Postcode Lottery have awarded an extra £1.425 million to long-term supported charities - CYFI is one of 57 charities that will receive the extra £25,000 award from players of the charity lottery.

CYFI received the news of the additional funding at the 2016 People’s Postcode Lottery Charity Gala. The event, which took place on Thursday 28 January at the Assembly Rooms in Edinburgh, was a celebration of the hard work achieved by charities supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

Support from the People's Postcode Lottery has helped CYFI to expand its Network and projects, and will continue to help the organisation go further in working to acheive financial inclusion for young people worldwide.

Clara Govier, Head of Charities at People’s Postcode Lottery, said: “As People’s Postcode Lottery continues to grow the amount that our players award to good causes continues to increase. We are very proud that our players can continue to support the development of these fantastic causes.”

This additional funding comes at a very exciting time for the charity lottery as they mark 10 years since the first ever draw. The last 10 years have created thousands of lucky winners but also have provided vital funding for numerous charities across Great Britain and internationally. A minimum of 27.5% is awarded to charities and good causes with over £99.6 million awarded to date.

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Global Innovation Fund announces first investments of over £3million

On Tuesday 9th February, members of the CYFI Team joined the Global Innovation Fund in London for their launch event and announcement of its inaugural investees. At the launch, CYFI had the opportunity to view presentations and link with other organisations and institutions working to achieve social and financial inclusion for vulnerable communities, including children and youth, worldwide. The Fund has invested in a range of social enterprises: for-profit firms, non-profit organisations, researchers and government agencies working to improve the lives and opportunities of millions of people in the developing world.

The introduction of a range of new investees demonstrate the Fund’s bold mission and the broad range of social innovations they support across multiple sectors, including health, technology, energy and education. These include Educate, a skills-based educational programme in Uganda and Rwanda, and Segovia, a software technology platform that makes it faster, cheaper, and more secure to transfer funds directly to vulnerable populations.

On the announcement of its first investees, Global Innovation Fund CEO Alix Zwane said: “Through these inaugural investments, The Global Innovation Fund is demonstrating our audacious mission to back ambitious social innovations that scale to reach millions of the world’s poor. We look to support groundbreaking new ways to lift people out of poverty, improve the quality of their public services, and help them live healthy, productive lives. Our unique approach, supporting the best social innovators across all sectors and geographies, is responding to the demand for increased effectiveness and delivering impact right across the developing world.”

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The 18th Microcredit Summit in Abu Dhabi - leading discussions on financial services for youth

Over the past 30 years, microfinance has emerged as an important tool to economically empower low income families, allowing household members, especially women, to access necessary financial resources to develop and sustain various enterprise ventures.

Recently, increasing importance has been given by the microfinance industry, and the international donor community, on the provision of Child and Youth Friendly banking products linked with holistic educational services. CYFI has been at the forefront of this global Movement to advance integrated financial and educational services for young people, and sees microfinance institutions as integral to this effort.

The upcoming Microcredit Summit, being held March 15-17th in Abu Dhabi, is a leading forum for microfinance industry leaders to come together to review progress being made against the primary goals of the Microcredit Summit Campaign (MCS). CYFI is a member of the Leadership Council of the MCS and has joined forces with the Campaign to draw further attention to Child and Youth Friendly principles and practices in the design and delivery of youth financial services.

CYFI will be moderating a panel at the upcoming Summit on new frontiers in youth finance and will also lead a speaker’s corner to allow microfinance practitioners to share their commitments and ideas on their future service towards youth clients. This will be held within the frame of CYFI’s Global Money Week, allowing institutions to share the exciting programs they are running with integrated financial and educational services for youth and to demonstrate their commitment to expanding youth financial inclusion. CYFI is honoured to be a part of this illustrious event, which will feature Nobel laureate (and newly named UN SDG Advocate) Muhammad Yunus, Queen Sofia or Spain, Prince Talal of Saudi Arabia and H.E. Hussain J. Al Nowais, chairman of the Khalifa Fund.

CYFI encourages microfinance practitioners and other relevant stakeholders to register for this exciting event and consider applying for one of the Scholarships offered by MCS to bring microfinance representatives to the Summit.

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Advancing Entrepreneurship Education in Europe

In an effort to provide European youth with a better opportunity to secure a sustainable livelihood, policy makers and youth serving organizations are working together to ensure that education systems allow for the adequate development of entrepreneurship competencies for young people in the region.

The European Entrepreneurship Education Network (EE-HUB) provides a platform for government authorities, civil society organization, academics and private sector representatives to share good practices and work collectively to increase levels of entrepreneurship activity and entrepreneurial learning through all levels of schooling across Europe. CYFI takes an active role in the EE-Hub through our role in the Experts Network, working alongside the EE-Hub partners and Ambassadors from the European Parliament to develop good practice case studies, conduct roundtable discussions and webinars and put forward practical policy recommendations on Entrepreneurship Education to leading national and regional authorities in Europe.

CYFI took part in the Network’s Mid-Term Meeting in Brussels Jan 28-29th. The meeting allowed participants to further solidify the best practice case studies and success factors within the EE-Hub’s five thematic working groups on: National Policy, Teacher Training, Partnerships, Entrepreneurship Ecosystem and Impact Assessment. Case studies will be finalized by the end of the first quarter in 2016, at which point they will be promoted to relevant stakeholders throughout Europe to assist them in the design and implementation of programming related to entrepreneurship education. CYFI is primarily involved in the Entrepreneurship Ecosystem working group as it fits closely with our work in promoting collaborative systems change. Under CYFI’s Theory of Change, entrepreneurship education, alongside financial literacy, social education and financial inclusion, are the essential building blocks for sustainable livelihoods and economic citizenship for children and youth.

CYFI will continue to work with the other members of the EE-Hub in 2016 to promote these case studies and policy recommendations throughout 2016, with a number of webinars and roundtables to be scheduled in the latter half of the year. CYFI will aim to have these roundtables align with their own regional events in 2016, including national stakeholder meetings, product development workshops and Ye! Community Boost Camps.

Photo credit: EE-Hub

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