CYFI Partners on European Youth Event

CYFI is very excited to be a partner for the YO! Fest at the European Youth Event 2016!

This year marks the 7th edition of YO!Fest, the political youth festival organised by the European Youth Forum in cooperation with the European Parliament. Unleashing young people’s creativity by combining politics, culture, education and fun in a multicultural festival atmosphere, YO!Fest aims once again at mobilising young people and youth organisations across Europe.

Following the great success of the 2014 edition, the YO!Fest will be once again organised in the framework of the 2nd edition of the European Youth Event – EYE2016 at the European Parliament in Strasbourg. On 20th – 21st of May, 7000 young people will gather from all over Europe to meet with their peers, policy-makers and high- level speakers to exchange ideas on youth-related issues and debate under the motto “Together we can make a change”.

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CYFI Network Stars: Prakash Koirala

Although CYFI's global Network has over 1000 members across 125 countries, many of the individual efforts make a huge difference to the children and youth within each of the countries which we work.

Prakash Koirala is a great example of how youth can spark change in and contribute to the financial empowerment of youth in their communities. Prakash was one of our winners at the 2015 CYFI Awards Ceremony in London, and below he discusses his efforts around financial education in Nepal and his work with CYFI Youth. Keep up the great work, Prakesh!

'My projects provides youth with a technique to start up their own local businesses in their community. I have also made recommendations towards creating a national platform for empowered decision makers in order to encourage, support and facilitate the delivery of financial education in the country. In Bajhang, a very remote place of Nepal, the project conducts financial literacy drama, art and oratory competitions reaching more than 1000 youths. Furthermore, in September, Prakash distributed more than 120 Piggy Banks (Khutruke) for students to save excess money.I have also set short term, medium and long term goals for follow-up that can be prioritized by the needs of young people My main focus is to build the confidence of young people and ensuring that their role in decision-making processes gets full attention.

Growing up, I was taught that money management is the key aspect of life, not only in Nepal but also in many other countries. Yet, I also remember thinking that money was something for very smart and very wealthy people. My surrounding, however, continually told me that if I would be taught early in school about good saving habit in home, I would have saved money for college or would have helped for basic needs. These scenarios made me think a lot about money management. This resulted in some different strong commitment inside me to be aware of money management. I got a vision to aware my community about money management to cultivate their desire to live without financial burden.

The thoughts persistently occupied my mind with different ideas on money management which made me join this organization in 2014. Since then I have been working as a committee member to Nepal. Even though I was a youth activist in my nation, I was awarded an opportunity of collecting children and youth and teaching them about financial education and economic citizenship right.

I had no idea being CYFI Youth Committee Member could ever become a change agent for financially illiterate society. The resources I gained from CYFI, OECD, World Bank Blog, Master Card Foundation, and UNICEF made me capable to deliver Financial Literacy movement to almost 6000 child and youth. And those resources awarded me this achievement and opened doors that I did not even know existed.

Many of the children and youth I teach today are up against some of the very same challenges that I faced as a child. That's why I work hard every day to make a difference in their lives. I know their struggles. This inspires me to teach with enthusiasm and a desire to help others to achieve their dreams of financial well-being. I am eager to become a part of a national and international organization that is making the dream of financial literacy education available to everyone.

I welcome you to join me in igniting a passion of learning financial education within child and youth. I am in this path to eradicate financial illiteracy because, in small corners of the world, we each make a difference along with Child and Youth Finance International, You People and Your organization. '

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2016 Global Youth Economic Opportunities Summit

Save the date! Making Cents International’s 10th Global Youth Economic Opportunities Summit is designed to increase the impact, scale, and sustainability of youth economic opportunity programming around the world.

Join 450+ leaders from 50 countries at this “go to” event. The program is designed for donors, implementers, researchers, youth leaders, and others to develop new partnerships, deepen technical capacity, and expand awareness of best in class approaches in Workforce Development, Enterprise Development, Financial Inclusion, Monitoring & Evaluation, and Gender.

Learn more at about the Summit at www.YouthEOSummit.org

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Promoting financial inclusion through financial literacy

CYFI Regional Advisor for Eastern Europe & Central Asia participated as one of key international speakers at the international conference on promoting financial inclusion through financial literacy that took place in Minsk, Belarus on December 10, 2015.

The conference was organized by CYFI partner National Bank of the Republic of Belarus and Republican Microfinance Center, with the support of USAID. The conference featured presentation of the best practices in advancing financial inclusion and financial education from many countries in Central and Eastern Europe, discussions of recent studies and the role of data in policy-making, and the role of microfinance networks in fostering financial literacy and entrepreneurship.

CYFI presented its research on available youth banking savings products in the region, as well as on its flagship programs and initiated campaigns like Global Money Week and SchoolBank.

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BCGE helps Ye! to support young entrepreneurs!

Helping to pave the way for the next generation of young entrepreneurs, The Swiss Bank of Geneva (Banque Cantonale de Genève - BCGE) has offered to provide valuable pro-bono services to Ye! Community, to support youth in finding their feet in the business world.

Ye! Community is an initiative of Child and Youth Finance International (CYFI), to provide young entrepreneurs with the help they need the most. With a growing community of over 4500 young entrepreneurs from 70 countries, the Ye! Team supports young entrepreneurs so they can continue to address key global issues through their innovation and smart solutions.

A universal bank since 1816, the BCGE provides diversified and high-quality banking services to private and institutional customers: everyday banking facilities, private banking and asset management, pension planning, mortgages, lending to the private and public sectors, trading, financial engineering, corporate finance and global commodity finance services.

The BCGE Group operates a number of its services in Switzerland (Lausanne, Zurich) and representative offices abroad (Dubaï, Hong Kong). Its subsidiary, Banque Cantonale de Genève (France) SA, offers company finance and property services to companies and individuals, in addition to wealth management for private clients. With its headquarters in Lyon, BCGE (France) SA also has branches in Paris and Annecy.

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CYFI South-Eastern European Regional Working Group for Youth Financial Education and Financial Inclusion

First meeting of the SEE Working Group will take place in Sinaia, Romania, 2nd & 3rd of November 2015, kindly hosted by the National Bank of Romania!

South-Eastern European Regional Working Group for Youth Financial Education and Financial Inclusion will serve as the place for sharing best practices, exchanging experiences, identifying technical assistance opportunities to support action plans development and implementation by Child & Youth Finance International Secretariat and CYFI network members, and coordinate the regional initiatives and plans in the field of financial education and financial inclusion for children and youth.

The initial discussion on the formation of this Working Group on child and youth finance issues took place in October 2014 in Skopje during the Third CYFI Regional Meeting for Europe & Central Asia, organized by the National Bank of the Republic of Macedonia, where representatives of the financial regulatory authorities and relevant ministries expressed a strong motivation for them to form a working committee to build a collaborative dynamic between institutions in the region.

The first meeting of the SEE Working Group will take place at the Training Center of the National Bank of Romania in Sinaia. The meeting will have the following objectives:

  • Defining the final structure of the Working Group;
  • Sharing experiences and best practices of countries and institutions of the region;
  • Identifying and discussing potential twinning arrangements between countries in the region;
  • Presenting CYFI tools and programmes to support financial education and inclusion initiatives in the countries;
  • Discussing challenges and opportunities in drafting and implementing a national strategy for financial education;
  • Identifying the annual work plan of the Working Group.

The meeting will feature representatives of financial regulatory authorities, ministries of education and ministries of finance from 7 countries of the region and external experts on national financial education and inclusion policies.

Member institutions of the Working Group are:

Albania

  • Ministry of Education and Sports of Albania

Croatia

Macedonia

  • The Regulatory Body for Financial Education for Macedonia

Moldova

Montenegro

Romania

Serbia

Slovenia

  • National Education Institute of the Republic of Slovenia
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Product Development Workshop great success for Nigerian banks

Together with the Central Bank of Nigeria and LYNX, Child & Youth Finance International (CYFI) successfully organized a Product Development and Capacity Building Workshop for Financial Institutions in Nigeria.

In an interactive setting, Nigerian banks, international guest speakers and CYFI experts worked together on determining how and why banks should invest in child friendly banking products and financial education. One of the participating banks stated that “Children and youth are a serious opportunity, and we need to make sure that we combine access with education”.

Another unique feature of the workshop was the involvement of the Central Bank of Nigeria, providing insights into the regulatory framework, whilst also facilitating discussion with the Nigerian financial institutions, to see how they can reach the youth segment and therefore improve the economic future of the country.

One bank summarized the enthusiasm participants felt during the workshop, “Investing in children is not just important for them, but also for the financial institution, the financial system and the nation”. For CYFI it was a great opportunity to meet with financial institutions in Nigeria, share examples of best practice, and to support financial institutions in their mission to financial include Nigerian youth.

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CYFI’s founder recognized as Top Influential Woman

Child & Youth Finance International are delighted to announce that their founder and Managing Director, Jeroo Billimoria, has ranked 3rd in the charity and non-profit category of Opzij’s Top 100 Influential Women!

Working to support children and youth where they need it most, Jeroo has founded 3 pioneering NGOs; Child Helpline International, Aflatoun, and Child & Youth Finance International (CYFI). Within her role as Managing Director of CYFI, Jeroo and her Team lead the Child and Youth Finance Movement – a global network dedicated to promoting the financial education and inclusion of children and youth, and creating the systemic change necessary to achieve the economic empowerment of young people worldwide.

Influencing the Economic Empowerment of Youth

Jeroo's work in devising long-term solutions to poverty and her commitment to ensuring financial literacy amongst children and youth has cemented her reputation as an innovative social entrepreneur, both in the Netherlands and internationally.

CYFI’s partner organizations were also represented on this year’s list from Opzij - Sigrid van Aker, Chairman of the Board for the Goede Doelen Loterijen and board member for Novamedia, and APG’s Angelien Kemna, one of CYFI’s Supervisory Board members.

Opzij’s inclusion of several stakeholders from the Child and Youth Finance Movement on their Top 100 list presents an exciting moment for the economic empowerment of young people, and the opportunity to create systemic change to break enduring cycles of poverty for good.

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CYFI Partner launches 'Borrow Wisely Campaign 2015'

CYFI partner, Microfinance Centre, is teaming up with 24 financial institutions to launch the second annual international Borrow Wisely Campaign. Over the next 30 days, field staff across 15 countries in Europe and Central Asia will educate thousands of existing and potential microfinance clients on how take on safe and responsible levels of debt. Why is the Campaign important?

In many countries, the microfinance sector has earned a negative reputation, caused by broader industry crises or the irresponsible behavior of a few market players. Now more than ever, we need to demonstrate that the industry is able to lend responsibly, transparently and protect against client over-indebtedness in line with international standards. But it’s not just institutional responsibility that matters: the other important half of the “client protection equation” is responsible borrowing – that is, making sure that clients know how to use debt safely.

Last year’s Campaign proved to be a great tool for reaching massive numbers of clients with targeted financial education messages – in fact it exceeded our outreach targets. Given this popular interest, we’ve decided to build on our success and make the Borrow Wisely Campaign an annual event.

How we are going to do it?

Field staff in partner institutions will directly engage with clients around key messages to help them understand how to borrow responsibly. Staff will head out into the field equipped with posters, leaflets and brochures that provide the answers to five critical questions:

  • How can I figure out much can I afford to borrow?
  • Do I know how much I will pay?
  • Do I fully understand the contract?
  • What should I do if I am not satisfied with my bank?
  • How can I control my debt levels?

This year, several campaign partners also want to educate their clients about the potential risk of borrowing in a foreign currency. To support this, the MFC teamed up with the European Fund for Southeast Europe (EFSE), which allowed Campaign partners to use their materials free of charge, and in some cases provided financial support for dissemination.

Who is involved?

This Campaign brings together leaders in client protection from across the region, including: Farm Credit, Nor Horizon, ECLOF, and Kamurj (Armenia); AzerCredit and Viator (Azerbaijan), EKI, Lider, MiBospo, and Partner (Bosnia and Herzegovina); SIS Credit (Bulgaria); Crystal (Georgia); AFK (Kosovo); Baitushum (Kyrgyzstan), Horizonti (Macedonia); Microinvest (Moldova); Xac Bank (Mongolia); AgroInvest (Serbia and Montenegro); Vitas (Romania); MDF, and Opportunity Bank (Serbia); Bank Eskhata and Imon (Tajikistan); and Hope (Ukraine).

Want to find out more?

Visit the Microfinance Centre website for more information about the campaign!

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People's Postcode Lottery helps CYFI to economically empower children & youth!

CYFI is delighted to confirm that players of People’s Postcode Lottery have awarded an extra £1.575 million to long-term supported charities. Charity Name is one of 63 charities that will receive the extra £25,000 award from players of the charity lottery.

This £25,000 ‘Impact Award’ has been awarded to encourage the supported charities to improve the practice of impact assessment. This valuable tool will enable charities to grow, to develop and assess their own impact on society.

Clara Govier, Head of Charities at People’s Postcode Lottery, said: “It is fantastic news that players are able to support these wonderful charities with an extra £25,000 each, with an amazing £1.575 million being awarded overall. 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 from numerous charities across Great Britain and internationally. With 27.5% awarded to charities from every £2 ticket, its players have raised more than £82 million.

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CYFI Youth's Views on SDGs

The United Nations Sustainable Development Summit 2015 to officially adopt the Sustainable Development Goals for the next 15 years is taking place at this very moment in New York City. CYFI continues to strongly advocate for an emphasis to be places on children and youth as a specific target group to monitor and evaluate the progress of these goals, along with their associated targets and indicators.

To bring attention to the importance of these global goals, a few of our CYFI interns came together to take part in the #LightTheWay campaign. They took this opportunity to emphasize the impact that the global goals will have on youth, and to encourage global leaders at the Summit to #LightTheWay for a better financial future for children and youth!

interns

Here is a look at what they had to say:

GOAL 1: Ending poverty

Raluca – CYFI Intern – Romania

In the small villages of Transylvania (yes, yes, there, in Dracula’s country), the streets are dirtier, there are more social problems, the towns are more dramatic, the children are ill and thin but friendly. Romania is known for being poor. But there, in small villages, poverty is even worse. I love my country but, whenever I go back to Romania I see again sad faces, overwhelmed by their daily problems. I accept again the fact that Romanians need help. Somehow, the world leaders should look at poverty and somebody should #LightTheWay for Eastern Europe and Romania.

Global goal #1, ending poverty, can make a change for the poor Romanian children: they can wake up in the morning, put some clean clothes on and go somewhere to play, not preparing for street-begging like they now do.

GOAL 4: Education for all

Diana – CYFI Intern – Romania

I have always believed that education is one of the most important parts in one’s life. We self-educate and we are educated starting from a tender age, when the wish to learn and to understand the environment manifests itself.

Starting with children and youth, regardless of sex, race, or other variables that might be seen as an impediment, and continuing in adult life, education is an on-going process; education for all should be a long-term goal, until it becomes a matter of fact, and not an issue on the agenda. It should be achievable all around the Globe. We all want a better future, so let’s work together and help give everyone the opportunity to shape their future through education. Because education is indeed for all! I encourage world leaders to #LightTheWay and to allow all children to receive the education they deserve. It is important to keep in mind that educated children and youth means an educated nation!

GOAL 5: Gender equality

Veronika & Angela – CYFI Interns – Ukraine & Romania

The issue of Gender Equality is not about different deeds, behavior, positions in social, political life of males and females, but about the difference in access to services, labor or any social privileges. Men and women should have the same opportunities and rights. In my opinion, historically, women have been portrayed as the more delicate, gentle and vulnerable of the two sexes, and as a result, society had assigned a secondary role for women. This has also resulted in the infringement of their rights. It is unfair to perpetuate this view, men and women should decide by themselves what to do and how to behave, and have the same opportunities and rights.

A little over half of the entire population is represented by women. Gender equality means access in the same manner for both women and men to all the sectors of public and private life. The juridical status of women has been improved, but gender equality is far from being a reality. Indeed, there has been visible and huge progress: access to education and the labor market, and political representation. However, the gender differences are a fact in many countries have underlined by continuing to put the men in the traditional roles. Gender inequality in the health and education sector has decreased even in the less developed countries. The more women have access to education, the less gender inequality will exist in the process of getting a job and this will involve more women in the labor market.

We encourage global leaders to #LightTheWay for gender equality!

GOAL 8: Sustainable economic growth

Merijn – CYFI Intern – Netherlands

Finding a job in the labor market is often particularly challenging for youth. Many may not have had a proper education – because it was not available or they did not have the financial means – and many may also lack relevant work experience. Simultaneously, there may be a mismatch in the labor market between jobs available and expertise required. Or, jobs may simply not be available at all. Long term youth unemployment risks are creating a lost generation of people: no relevant work experience yet having to compete with recent graduates whose knowledge is still fresh.

I hope that global leaders will #LightTheWay and commit to their ambition of boosting job creation for youth. Youth-friendly entrepreneurial support systems – including youth oriented financial inclusion – may lead the way.

GOAL 16: Peaceful and inclusive societies

Veronica – CYFI Intern – Argentina

Goal 16 refers to the necessity of decreasing violence, abuse, trafficking, bribery and overall calls for more transparent institutions and international cooperation. Considering the meaning of this goal, I believe that it will only be when goal 16 of the SGDs is carried out successfully that all other goals will be possible to be achieved as well. The reasoning for me to claim this is simple: if a state is internally distraught and is unable to maintain a nonviolent and collected society, it will also not have the necessary benchmark to work on the more complex social issues that the other SGDs refer to. If a state is in chaos and unable or unwilling to follow the rule of law, they will not be in the position of promoting a peaceful and inclusive society and even less in the position to call for a reduction of poverty, gender equality, etc.

To summarize, I believe that it is extremely important for leaders of the world to #LightTheWay for peaceful and inclusive societies for children and youth to grow in, so that all countries around the world will be strong enough to tackle with less difficulty the other Sustainable Development Goals.

Child and Youth Finance International encourages world leaders to #LightTheWay for the success of each of the goals!

This post is part of our series of summer blog articles related to the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals and are authored by youth interns at Child and Youth Finance International. Join the discussion on social media by following @ChildFinance and using the hashtag #cyfiyouth.

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Can Agriculture be the solution to meet SDG Number 1 - Ending poverty?

Author: Purity Kendi Muthomi (21) from Kenya

Poverty varies considerably depending on the situation. Having lived in Kenya for 18 years, and then three years in Costa Rica, has made me realize that poverty varies depending on the situation. When I compare what is said to be poor in Costa Rica, to me I see that almost as an average lifestyle in Kenya. And when I imagine feeling poor in Canada, I see this as very different from living in poverty in Costa Rica. It is important to note that poverty is not just about lack of money - there is much more to it than we think:

Poverty is hunger. Poverty is lack of shelter. Poverty is being sick and not being able to see a doctor. Poverty is not having access to school and not knowing how to read. Poverty is not having a job, is fear for the future, living one day at a time. Poverty is losing a child to illness brought about by unclean water. Poverty is powerlessness, lack of representation and freedom. - World Bank

Amongst the proposed SDGs, is Goal 1: ending poverty in all its forms everywhere.

Poverty is hunger.

If we have 8 billion mouths to feed in this world, a solution must be found. According to the World Food Programme, some 795 million people in the world do not have enough food to lead a healthy active life and poor nutrition causes nearly half (45%) of deaths in children under five - 3.1 million children each year. I believe agriculture is the strongest tool to end poverty if we have to ensure the 3.1 million children receive the nourishment that they need.

Povety is not having a job.

Unemployment has caused many youth in Kenya to stagnate in poverty since they have no way to make ends meet. Most of today’s young people are expected to work to fund for their education in the Tertiary colleges, to support their families, to pay school fees for their siblings and to acquire the essential basic needs for survival.

So how to fight both hunger and unemployment?

In my experience, ensuring that agricultural extension or private services are available to train farmers in best agricultural practices and help provide access to inputs, credit to facilitate harvest loans and appropriate technologies at the time of planting is what the governments should be busy working on. Let the small scale farmers be taught how to maximize their production, how to ensure there are less, or no, post-harvest losses, how to fight what pests, insects and what weeds are robbing humanity when it comes to agriculture. Let us educate our farmers to grow crops - healthy eating – healthy spending – and healthy saving!

Through savings, I was able to start a poultry business that I had zero knowledge about and no experience at all working with poultry. I started Gespak Poultry Farm, an integrated poultry venture encompassing all sustainable techniques and whose initial idea was to ensure I come up with a circular economy that the entire world can embrace to help solve the current global issues of food security, unemployment, hunger, waste management, water treatment, climatic change and above all poverty. The company has a poultry house (pen) that has almost 1,400 chickens at the moment and out of it I have been able to generate income; I can support my family and help them meet all their needs. I sell eggs and chicken meat to fast food and hotel operators, day-old chicks to farmers and I too bag the poultry droppings and sell them to the crop farmers as manure.

The results are not only a sustainable business, but one that encourages other youth to take part in the poultry business. I believe that youth can create their own employment regardless of their level of education or experience. Out of the business, I have employed four other young people to help in the feeding, cleaning and all other activities needed in the farm and this has not only improved their lifestyle but also provided them with more knowledge and skills to even start their own businesses on the same or any entrepreneurial venture in farming.

Again, let us educate our farmers to grow crops - healthy eating – healthy spending – and healthy saving! This will help us to work together to achieve Goal 1, and to help provide young people with the knowledge, skills, and experience to take part in today’s economy.

About the author: Purity is an undergraduate student at EARTH University in Costa Rica, pursuing Agricultural sciences and Natural resources management. She is passionate about inspiring and changing the lives of young people and the vulnerable in the society. Being part of CYFI has coached her, taught her and molded her to be an Agri-preneur where she was able to start her own business.

This post is part of our series of summer blog articles related to the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals. Join the discussion on social media by following @ChildFinance and using the hashtag #cyfiyouth.

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Gender Equality: Insights on Financial Literacy and Economic Empowerment

Author: Sana Afouaiz - Youth Advocate for Governance and Accountability at Restless Development Organization.

In their actions the Youth Governance and Accountability Task Team (The Youth Governance and Accountability Task Team is an initiative spearheaded by Restless Development, the British Youth Council, ActionAid and Plan UK) advocate for the inclusion of a stand-alone goal on governance, and the participation of young people in governance and accountability. The Governance team has also called for integration of gender equality concerns, and inclusion of young women in decision-making, this through global and national advocacy and campaigning actions in different countries. They highlighted youth priorities, with a special focus on governance & accountability, in the post-2015 development agenda by taking part and speaking at different high level meetings and global discussions in the United Nations among other international bodies.

Gender equality in the Sustainable Development Goals

The draft outcome document “Transforming Our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”, will be officially adopted by world leaders at the United Nations Summit for the adoption of the post-2015 development agenda, which will be held in New York from 25-27 September 2015.

This is the first development agenda that has been negotiated and agreed by all Member States and which is applicable to all for the next 15 years.

The new sustainable development goals aim to complete what the MDGS did not achieve, through addressing the root causes of poverty and inequality and the sustainable development that works for all. The new agenda addresses an action plan for people, planet, prosperity, peace and partnership. It highlights the necessity of fostering peaceful, inclusive societies and calls for the participation of all countries, stakeholders and youth. The determined agenda pursues to end poverty by 2030 and endorse shared economic prosperity, social development and environmental protection. This new agenda that is founded on 17 goals, including a goal on gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls as well as gender sensitive targets in other goals.

Assuring and protecting economic empowerment on an equal basis for both men and women has been acknowledged as a human right and as a concern for policymakers. Along with the strap line of United Nations in order to achieve the Millennium Development goals, women’s empowerment is seen as a prerequisite.

The importance of economic empowerment for women and girls

A number of studies and researches over the past years have highlighted that gender equality is a smart economic tool. It has been determined that the unexploited potential of women is a lost opportunity for economic progress and development. Women’s economic participation promotes agricultural productivity, enterprise expansion at the micro and macro, small and medium enterprise levels, in addition to improving business management and returns on investments.

Yet, awareness of gender differences in financial literacy and of their significant implications has endured quite low albeit policy makers now perceive financial literacy as an essential for sustainable development, and financial education has become a vital policy priority.

According to the OECD/INFE financial literacy survey, women have lower financial knowledge than men in a great number of developed and developing countries. Women tend to be less-educated and possess low-income and most of them lack financial knowledge. The survey shows that women are less confident than men in their financial skills, they are less over-confident in financial matters, and are more averse to financial risk.

When it comes to financial behavior, women seem to be better than men at keeping trail of their finances, but they face more struggles in making ends meet and choosing financial products fittingly.

Regardless of its importance, recent initiatives to measure “financial literacy” recommend that levels of financial literacy understanding are low. This typical situation limits the objective understanding of financial issues and leads to subjective interpretation.

Due the external environment challenges, it becomes a necessity for individuals to enhance their financial understanding, to make appropriate financial decisions so to reach positive outcomes. Such challenges include the decline of public welfare policies, increased life expectation and health care costs; the development of complex financial markets; and effects of the global financial crisis. Whereas the need for financial literacy is largely acknowledged as vital, though the importance of equal gender dimension stays a subject for debate. Such gender differences represent fundamental problems for social equity, with several consequences on sustainable development of countries.

Countries tend to display loss of economic potential when one half of their population is disoriented, particularly in societies where a great percentage of production takes place in informal enterprises run by women. Low levels of female financial literacy and confidence have a negative impact on their participation in the economy.

The conceptual framework that individuals face may differ according to inherent characteristics among populations of women and men that affect their chances to obtain financial literacy. These characteristics may be different: (age; personality traits; environmental constraints). Women and men experience different cultural norms, which limit where, when and how they best learn about personal finance. Studying these factors is important as they may have impact on founding relevant policy responses: effective financial education interventions necessitate addressing different root causes.

Understanding the gender causes of financial literacy in countries requires effective policy design policy, analytical and comparative reports and research highlighting good practices and detailed case studies on financial education and literacy across national and regional levels. Policy makers need to emphasize standards, principles and guidelines as well practical tools to enable and improve strategic financial education.

Investing in women promotes financial literacy and economic growth

Besides boosting economic growth, I believe investing in women has multiplier effects; women plow a large portion of their income in their families and communities. They play crucial role in creating peaceful and stable societies which are important factors for economic growth. Regrettably, even these benefits have been universally recognized and have therefore not translated into women’s full economic participation in different countries, especially in developing countries, where women still face obstacles when establishing new businesses or even increasing existing ones. Among the biggest obstacles are discriminatory laws, regulations and business conditions, with women’s lack of access to property rights, finance, training, technology, markets, mentors, and networks. According to “Women Finance Hub”: 71 countries prevent women from working in some industries. 16 countries don’t let married women get jobs without their husband’s permission, 44% countries don’t let women work at night. We can only imagine one of the reasons behind the lack of economic development of the world when half of the population is discriminated from full participation in the economic level.

Although there has been current focus on developing women’s entrepreneurship in developing countries, this spotlight has been on growth-oriented women’s businesses. Women’s entrepreneurship in micro and small business that are often measured as informal, regardless of these concentrated efforts of poverty reduction initiatives through increased access to skills training and micro-credit, still have not been able to reach the growth potential among women.

I have been working with women in different countries in Africa and Middle East, and I have noticed that the role of women in national economies is more emphasized in recent years by ensuring gender equality and women empowerment among individuals. But the fact is that women have less access to resources, education and health facilities in most of the developing countries, where women are half the workforce. Greater participation of women in economic activities is the major concern of most of the countries, which is considered as one of the best tools to achieve and attain a sustain development.

Governments need to show more financial aid to support efforts to increase women’s access to quality financial services; there is an urge need to highlight women’s crucial role in advancing agricultural development and food security, and encourage policy and programmatic support for female farmers and agricultural businesses owned by women, and reform the policy to facilitating the processes for women in this field.

More support to NGOs, industry associations, and corporations advocating for policy and programmatic solutions that would enable women’s economic participation, also enhance more technology access and providing access to mobile phones, internet, and other vital technologies along with addressing cultural, financial, educational barriers.

Provide capacity building, trainings, and mentoring programs to women and girls and equip them with market information, entrepreneurship opportunities, and the necessary skills to attain economic independence; and encourage best practices to increase women’s leadership in the sector of business and entrepreneurship.

Government states especially in developing countries need to find a solution to one of the biggest obstacles which is data collection; endorse the collection and configuration of gender data in the economic sector to create evidence-based policy and programs aimed at increasing women’s economic participation across all sectors. Governments need to provide their youth with space to hold their leaders accountable and that’s by ensuring youth participation in data collection and arrange for youth to express their innovative analyses that form the basis for recommendations to policymakers, help them make decisions and promote policies best suited to ending global economic inequalities and to generating people-centered sustainable development.

About the author:

Sana Afouaiz is an advocate in the areas of women and youth empowerment. She is the Founder of “African Youth Advocate Platform”, created this initiative after her intensive 3 years work in advocating and lobbying for youth and women issues, her striving goal to empower young people drove her to travel to more than 20 countries where she spoke and promoted for youth voices in high-level discussion meetings. Sana also assists African development by promoting the economic integration of African youth in Diaspora for “Verein Afrikanischer Studentinnen Und Studenten”.

This post is part of our series of summer blog articles related to the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals. Join the discussion on social media by following @ChildFinance and using the hashtag #cyfiyouth.

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Say “Yes” to financial education: An economic perspective on Education For All

Author: Diana Udriste and Angela Izvercian, Communications Interns at Child and Youth Finance International

Do you think you are obtaining the information you need to understand money matters in the future? Do you feel equipped to make financial decisions later in life? Do you ever feel confused by financial products and economic terms?

In many cases, adults of today did not receive economic education during schooling and many have difficulty with knowledge of financial terms and money management – for example, a recent survey found that, consumer debt has increased in Korea, while between 3% and 10% of the population in the OECD are without a bank account. And the problem does not just relate to older generations – “National surveys show that young adults have amongst the lowest levels of financial literacy”. The current economic situation highlights the negative effect a lack of financial education can have; debt and unemployment can ultimately lead to social and financial exclusion. Including economic citizenship education as part of the post-2015 push for inclusive and equitable quality education for all is increasingly important for economic and social well-being.

The need for inclusive and equitable quality education for children and youth

A lack of education can have negative effects on individuals, their families and communities, and nations as a whole – it is estimated that an absence of quality education is “preventing millions of people from escaping the cycle of extreme poverty around the world”. Without the necessary knowledge and skills, 759 million people worldwide currently do not have the literacy skills or ability to improve their situation and break the cycle of poverty.

Receiving quality education impacts the ability of youth to get jobs which will provide a reliable income, or helps them to set up enterprises and create their own livelihood. McKinsey notes that “globally, 75 million young people are unemployed, but businesses can't find enough skilled workers to fill job vacancies”, which illustrates the clear link between education and employment. Alongside ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education as a universal right for all, children and youth must be given financial, social and livelihoods education and the opportunity to develop employment skills – something which is increasingly recognized by the international community and national governments worldwide.

For this reason, CYFI puts the financial education and financial inclusion of children and youth at the core of its mission. In order to prevent a lack of financial knowledge and experience amongst adults, CYFI believes that such a trend can be changed through financial educational programs targeted specifically at children and young people. By implementing financial education programs and curricula at an early age, children and young people will be given the financial knowledge and skills they need as they develop in the financial world. However, CYFI does not see financial education as a single component. Rather, Economic Citizenship Education, the combination of financial, social and livelihoods education from an early age is what will mostly strongly prepare young people as economic citizens.

As the official adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals is just weeks away, CYFI is pleased to see that Goal 4 of the SDGs focuses specifically on education opportunities:

While Goal 4 does not focus specifically on financial, social or livelihoods education, CYFI is hopeful that the related indicators will incorporate economic citizenship education aspects in order to pave the way for today’s youngest generation to understand their position within the financial landscape. CYFI has proposed the following suggested indicators to complement the targets associated with Goal 4:

  • Goal 4 – Target 4: Number of children and youth receiving compulsory Economic Citizenship Education (which includes a combination of financial, social and livelihoods education) for employment, decent jobs and entrepreneurship
  • Goal 4 – Target 4: Number of jobs created for young people through skills training programs.
  • Goal 4 – Target 4: Number of enterprises supported through education, training and resources for young entrepreneurs
  • Goal 4 – Target 5: % of girls and % of boys receiving Economic Citizenship Education (which includes a combination of financial, social and livelihoods education)
  • Goal 4 – Target 7: Number of children and youth receiving compulsory Economic Citizenship Education (which includes a combination of financial, social and livelihoods education) in both primary and secondary schools.
  • Goal 4 – Target 7: Number of children and youth receiving Economic Citizenship Education (which includes a combination of financial, social and livelihoods education) through non-formal education channels.

The benefits of economic citizenship education for youth

CYFI are advocating for these indicators presented above to be included as part of the targets for Goal 4. There is proof that equipping youth with economic citizenship education works, as evidenced by countries which have already included financial education in their national curricula. In the UK, financial education has been taught in secondary schools since September 2014, in order to help students become financially independent and tackle money issues they come across in later life. New Zealand and Czech Republic also present better financial awareness amongst youth than many other countries, and are examples of where the ministry of education has a responsibility for financial literacy and where a concrete national strategy is in place.

CYFI encourages all countries to adopt economic citizenship education components as part of their curricula. While great progress has been made in terms of national governments implementing financial education curricula, more is needed on a global scale to truly make a systemic change and improve the lives and futures of young people worldwide. The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals have the potential to make a global impact, and to strengthen today’s youth as leaders of tomorrow. Children and youth must be allowed access to quality education which incorporates financial, social and livelihoods education – creating the independent and empowered economic citizens of tomorrow.

How is CYFI promoting Economic Citizenship Opportunities for youth?

Our annual Youth Awards competition is happening right now! This year, the Awards Ceremony will take place in London at the House of Lords, on 10th of December, 2015. Applications are open until 15th of September and CYFI encourages all young people between the ages of 8 – 25 to apply!

Also, Global Money Week (GMW), Ye! Community, CYFI Youth, and SchoolBank are four of our main initiatives to promote financial education and inclusion for children and youth globally!

This post is part of our series of summer blog articles related to the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals and are authored by youth interns at Child and Youth Finance International. Join the discussion on social media by following @ChildFinance and using the hashtag #cyfiyouth.

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Child & Youth Finance International explica el estado actual de la regulación y las políticas para mejorar la inclusión financiera de la juventud

Los adolescentes en América Latina (10 - 19 años) representa en promedio 21% de la población. En algunos países, este mismo grupo representa una porción importante de la población económicamente activa, sin embargo, poco se habla de su participación en la economía de la región en términos de su inclusión en los sistemas financieros formales.

Este problema refuerza la importancia que CYFI pone en la conexión entre la inclusión financiera de los jóvenes y los Objetivos de Desarrollo Sostenible. En particular los objetivos, uno, cinco y ocho:

  • Objectivo 1 - Poner fin a la pobreza en todas sus formas en todo el mundo
  • Objectivo 5 - Lograr la igualdad entre los géneros y el empoderamiento de todas las mujeres y niñas
  • Objectivo 8 - Promover el crecimiento económico sostenido, inclusivo y sostenible, el empleo pleno y productivo y el trabajo decente para todos
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El tema de la inclusión financiera de niños, niñas y jóvenes hasta ahora ha ocupado principalmente a cientos de organizaciones no gubernamentales que trabajan en el empoderamiento económico de este segmento de la población. La organización Aflatoun, en su empeño por demostrar la capacidad financiera de niños, niñas y jóvenes en todo el mundo, estima que, a través de sus aliados y programas dedicados a este segmento, se han ahorrado cerca de EUR 2,76 millones en 2014 (unos US$ 3,03 millones). Sin embargo, este número proviene en cierta medida de iniciativas de ahorro no formales, que si bien sirven como extraordinarios ejemplo de lo que es posible, no permiten la creación de un modelo que conlleve la inclusión de niños, niñas y jóvenes a los sistemas financieros formales, de forma segura y teniendo a su disposición regulación y productos especialmente diseñados con este fin.

Las barreras de acceso para este segmento de la población son diversas en la región, entre ellas se encuentran: (1) regulación desfavorable, en la que menores de edad no poseen ninguna capacidad legal, o que limita el tipo de transacciones de las que niños, niñas y jóvenes pueden participar; (2) productos financieros inapropiados o inaccesibles para poblaciones vulnerables, con altas tasas de apertura o cuotas de mantenimiento; (3) poco entendimiento de cómo funciona el sistema financiero, y/o productos a sus disposición por parte de los potenciales clientes; y finalmente (4) barreras culturales o de género, las cuales impiden que ciertos grupos de niños, niñas y jóvenes posean autonomía en el manejo de sus recursos financieros.

A pesar de esto, existe un creciente interés de parte de instituciones de gobierno por permitir que niños, niñas y jóvenes puedan ser participes de los sistemas financieros formales de la región.

Por ejemplo, en 2010 el Congreso de la República Oriental del Uruguay, modificó la carta constitutiva del Banco de la Republica Oriental del Uruguay (BROU), permitiendo a niños y niñas de más de 14 años de edad abrir y operar cuentas de ahorro de forma completamente autónoma. Perú, también ha hecho considerables avances en el tema. Desde el año 2014, se encuentra en discusión en el Congreso de esta nación una ley con el fin de permitir la apertura de cuentas de ahorro a menores de edad, parte sin duda, de los avances que hace este país en materia de inclusión financiera.

Para poder iniciar el debate en cuanto a los cambios de regulación necesarios para hacer de la inclusión financiera de niños, niñas y jóvenes una realidad, es necesario tener un panorama claro de en qué estado se encuentra la regulación que afecta la participación de menores de edad en los sistemas financieros de la región.

Para contribuir a este campo de la investigación en marzo de 2014 Child and Youth Finance International de la mano del Banco de la República de Colombia y con la colaboración del Centro de Estudios Monetarios de Latino América y la Asociación de Supervisores Bancarios de las Américas (ASBA), difundió entre los principales organismos reguladores de la región una encuesta, para recopilar información sobre las políticas en materia de inclusión financiera de niños, niñas y jóvenes en 14 países: Argentina, Belice, Bolivia, Brasil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, México, Paraguay, Perú y el territorio de ultramar británico de las Islas Vírgenes participaron del estudio.

El mismo presenta las principales conclusiones de la encuesta y explora el estado actual de la regulación y las políticas que pueden mejorar la inclusión financiera de niños, niñas y jóvenes en la región, dando recomendaciones en la creación de políticas públicas, que se derivan de un análisis cruzado de la regulación existente en estos países.

El documento resultante también ofrece, una descripción del contexto y los antecedentes de los países analizados; ideas sobre la importancia de incrementar la inclusión financiera de los menores en la región; principales tendencias encontradas en cuanto a regulación en la materia; y un pequeño compendio de las mejores prácticas.

CYFI está muy contento de ver que diferentes medidas están siendo tomadas en América Latina para mejorar la inclusión financiera de los niños, niñas y jóvenes. Como la adopción oficial de las Naciones Unidas de los Objetivos de Desarrollo Sostenible se acerca rápidamente, CYFI tiene la esperanza que por lo menos un indicador para medir el número de niños y jóvenes que reciben productos y servicios financieros adecuados se incorporarán a los objetivos 1, 5 y 8 para promover la inclusión financiera de los niños y jóvenes no solo en América Latina, sino también en todo el mundo.

Sofía Ortega Tineo es Asesora Regional Senior para América Latina y el Caribe de Child and Youth Finance International.

This blog is the eleventh in a series of summer blog articles related to the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals and are authored by youth interns at Child and Youth Finance International. Join the discussion on social media by following @ChildFinance and using the hashtag #cyfiyouth.

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CYFI supporting young entrepreneurs and the 8th Sustainable Development Goal

Author: Jie Xue, Innovations Coordinator

On August 8th, Startup Summit, a joint event by Ye! and Young Entrepreneurs Society (YES), took place in Manila, Philippines. The event announced the 10 winners of the Ye! Boost Camp Scholarships and the Top 5 startups that will represent the Philippines in other startup competitions.

This event is one of the many ways in which CYFI is supporting Goal #8 of the Sustainable Development Goals: to promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all. Attended by over 500 participants, the event brought together top startups, successful entrepreneurs, investors, and other key players of the entrepreneurship ecosystem of the country.

The one-day event kicked off insightful talks with speakers such as Jay Fajardo - serial tech entrepreneur and one of the pioneers of the Philippines’ tech startup scene; Frederic Levy - Founder & CEO of CashCash Pinoy, the country’s No. 1 product flash sale website; and Subir Lohani - Managing Director of Carmudi Philippines, the fastest growing car classifies platform in emerging markets.

The afternoon saw fierce pitching competition of the top 20 startups, which were selected among the 50 startups invited to participate in the Ye! Boost Video Competition. These 20 startups represent a variety of sectors like technology, agriculture, education, fashion, and clean energy. Each startup pitched their venture for a maximum of 5 minutes, followed by a Q&A with a panel of judges.

Winners of the Ye! Boost Camp Scholarships were announced, including the winner of the Ye! Boost Video Competition (for the aged under 30 group), Apollo, which received 3492 votes in the competition. These 10 entrepreneurs will attend the Ye! Boost Camp this October in Amsterdam, an acceleration and training event for entrepreneurs in Kenya, Ghana and the Philippines. With youth unemployment at a record high, 12.6 per cent in 2011 according to the International Labor Organization, this calls to question not only the number of youth who are unemployed, but also the number of young people who are “NEET”: neither in employment nor in education or training. In 2012, data for 24 developing economies showed an average NEET rate of 12.4 per cent for young men and 28.1 per cent for young women. With training programs such as through the Ye! Boost Camp, CYFI is determined to see Target 8.6, to substantially reduce the proportion of youth not in employment, education or training by 2020, succeed for young people around the world, and particularly for young women.

As stated in Target 8.5 of Goal 8, to achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all women and men, including for young people and persons with disabilities, and equal pay for work of equal value by 2030, CYFI hopes that with more events such as the Ye! Boost camp, and a global push for young people to develop the skills and knowledge that they need in order to thrive in their own entrepreneurship adventures, the world will see the potential of young people to boost not only local economies, but the power of young people to change the financial landscape at large. CYFI is thrilled to see the efforts of the United Nations through the Sustainable Development Goals to develop and operationalize a global strategy for youth employment by 2020, as described in Target 8b of the SDGs, and will continue to work towards contributing to and reaching this goal.

The 10 Ye! Boost Camp Scholarship Winners are (click to view their videos)

Winners of Ye! Boost Video Competition

Aged 16~30 Group

Aged 30+ Group

Winners that will compete in further competitions

  • Raket.ph – to compete in Get in the Ring
  • iHarvest – to compete in Future Agro Challenge
  • Qwikwire - to compete in The Pitch event

This blog is the tenth 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.

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Accessible Business Incubators – Hubs for SDG Realization!

Author: Mateja Olujic - Former CYFI Entrepreneurship Intern
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International Youth Day 2015: CYFI's Statement on the Importance of Economic Citizenship for Youth

Economic citizenship is crucial for empowering youth to take control over their financial futures and break the crippling cycles of extreme poverty, debt, and social and financial exclusion. By linking financial access with financial, social and livelihoods education, it is possible for children and youth to become empowered, responsible and engaged economic citizens.

The theme for International Youth Day 2015 is Youth Civic Engagement. The United Nations System-Wide Action Plan on Youth prioritises Youth Civic Engagement as a main goal, and seeks to promote inclusive civic engagement at all levels in order to empower youth, to benefit society, and to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. During his message on World Skills Day in July, United Nations Secretary-General Ban-Ki Moon noted that “With the right skills, young people are exactly the force we need to drive progress across the global agenda and build more inclusive and vibrant societies”.

Child and Youth Finance International (CYFI), and members of the Child and Youth Finance Movement, fully support this statement and are dedicated to placing youth at the forefront of inclusive societies. CYFI is committed to improving the economic citizenship of youth worldwide, to ensure the reduction of poverty, improve economic and social engagement, promote the rights of youth, and help them to build a brighter future for themselves, their families, and communities.

For Managing Director and Founder of CYFI, Jeroo Billimoria, economic citizenship is key to ensuring the social and economic inclusion of youth; “Everyone needs a livelihood - we must prepare young people to be empowered citizens. Access to a bank account and education on social and financial matters are vital because they are the foundation stones for the future”.

In order to create engaged and empowered citizens, CYFI promotes comprehensive policies and practices around the themes of human rights, financial inclusion and financial behaviour change for children and youth. CYFI encourages the development of financial literacy and capabilities, enabling young people to make wise personal finance decisions suited to their social and economic needs, which fosters their personal and civic wellbeing and financial protection later in life.

This International Youth Day, CYFI is advocating for the greater Civic Engagement of Youth. We believe that the creation of a generation of empowered economic citizens around the world will break the destructive cycles of poverty and exclusion for good.

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Youth, Stand up for Economic Citizenship!

Author - Eva Lestant, Economic & Finance student and former CYFI Intern.
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Children and the Financial Regulatory Landscape in Latin America

We are pleased to release the final version of the report on “Children and the Financial Regulatory Landscape in Latin America”, by Nohora Forero Ramírez, Floor Knoote & Sofía Ortega, of the Central Bank of Colombia and Child and Youth Finance International (resp.).

This document presents and analyses the findings of a survey released by CYFI in the first semester of 2014, which was disseminated among the regulatory authorities in the region of Latin America. It gathers information on countries in the region, on financial inclusion policies and financial and consumer protection regulation targeted towards children and youth. Results suggest that there is a great diversity in approaches to financial service regulation the lower age segments in the region and young people are rarely seen as independent economic actors. This study is a collaboration between CYFI, Association of Supervisors of Banks of the Americas and Banco de la República (Central Bank of Colombia). CYFI aims to replicate this study in the other regions in order to present a global analysis.

You can view the full publication here.
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