Please describe the goal of your initiative; outline what you are trying to achieve
Through its youth savings program, Jeune Prépare Ton Avenir, FINCA DR Congo seeks to increase the number of youth in formal banking services by providing affordable savings products on flexible terms which are delivered through alternative branchless banking channels and paired with a financial education intervention. It is important for youth to receive proper training and experience at an early age in order to ensure the rising generation is financially literate and responsible. Early access to financial services will open a wider range of economic opportunities for impoverished Congolese youth.
Which barrier(s) to financial inclusion does your solution seek to address? (select all applicable)
Physical and other accessibility obstacles that prevent communities from reaching financial services, The lack of affordable financial products tailored to the needs of underserved and excluded communities,.
If you selected 'other' above, please specify which other barriers to financial inclusion you solution seeks to address:
For which underserved or excluded communities will your solution create access to valuable, affordable, secure and comprehensive financial services?
FINCA’s Jeune Prépare Ton Avenir savings program will target youth from low-income families in the DR Congo. Due to a lack of collateral, poor financial literacy, and prohibitive account terms, youth are largely excluded from the formal financial sector in this country. This project will provide education and savings products which will introduce youth to proper banking practices and allow them to accumulate assets. These youth will then go on to start families and create businesses, becoming active members of the banking sector.
Could your solution work in other geographies or regions? If so, where?
FINCA is conducting a similar pilot in Uganda. This pilot is achieving its initial outreach targets, suggesting the potential for scale-up in other countries in the region. FINCA has more than two decades of experience modifying financial products developed in one country for deployment in the other countries in which it operates. FINCA believes that the methodologies developed in this pilot can be revised to fit the needs of its 21 other subsidiaries across the globe and implemented throughout its network.
If your solution is dramatically successful, how will things be different in 10 years?
Thousands of those reached by FINCA’s Jeune Prépare Ton Avenir program will continue to reap the benefits of utilizing formal financial services, using the security gained by these practices to achieve a better quality of life. Other MFI’s will accommodate FINCA’s methodologies, spreading youth savings throughout the country, region, and world, significantly increasing financial inclusion.
What will have had to have changed to make this happen?
In order to achieve the previously mentioned level of success, an increased level of collaboration and cooperation is necessary. FINCA must generate partnerships with schools and NGOs which have the capacity to administer youth financial education. MFIs must communicate and collaborate in order to establish best practices in youth savings. Most of all, FINCA’s youth savings products must prove to be convenient, safe and effective in order to encourage the trust necessary to see full-scale financial inclusion.
What has been the impact of your solution to date?
As of the end of June 2012, more than 3,000 youth had access to financial services from FINCA DRC as part of its youth savings initiative. In addition, FINCA enrolled more than 1,700 youth in its financial education courses since April 2012. Session topics included savings, budgeting, finance and financial services along with lessons on reproductive health, relationships, HIV/AIDS, among others. These students are building their financial literacy and comfort with banking practices. They have saved a modest amount of money (on average $50) that they can apply toward school related expenses. Students taking part in the program also have established peer groups that encourage a culture of saving.
What is your projected impact over the next five years?
FINCA’s Jeune Prépare Ton Avenir initiative expects to reach 18,000 youth with financial education and youth appropriate savings products by the end of 2014. A generation of young Congolese will gain the skills and habits to become a base of bankable and financially empowered adults who can pass their skills, social capital and assets to the next generation. A successful pilot and roll-out will be considered for implementation in other subsidiaries in FINCA’s network, greatly expanding its youth outreach and financial inclusion.
What barriers might hinder the success of your project? How do you plan to overcome them?
Many of the barriers to financial inclusion are psychological. Previous financial setbacks due to poor decisions or cases of fraud which create mistrust cause mental burdens which result in many low-income individuals shying away from the formal financial sector. Children largely have yet to face these mental burdens, and early intervention can prevent them from making the same mistakes as their parents. Physical barriers such as long distances to service outlets will be remedied through the use of branchless banking methodologies. Other barriers include policy issues such as the legal age to enter contracts and the need for photo identification.
Winning entries present a strong plan for how they will achieve and track growth. Identify your six-month milestone for growing your impact
After six months, 8,000 youth will have opened savings accounts and 7,000 will have received financial education training.
Now think bigger! Identify your 12-month impact milestone
After 12 months, 9,400 youth will have opened savings accounts and 12,500 will have received financial education training.