Congratulations! This Entry has been selected as a semifinalist.


Amsterdam, Netherlands
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
$500,000 - $1 million
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Schoolbank aims to reach the unreached children and young people by ensuring financial inclusion of children and youth via mobile banking technology.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

All over the world, children and youth are confronted with financial difficulties in a landscape marked by economic instability and financial uncertainty. Among the 2.2 billion children in the world, less than 1% have access to financial education and financial inclusion and 1 billion of them live in poverty. Global youth unemployment stands at 12.6%. The global financial crisis highlighted the need to develop the economic citizenship of individuals so that they save, spend and invest more wisely and responsibly. Thus, CYFI wants to ensure financial inclusion and financial education for all children and young people around the world.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Schoolbank will increase financial inclusion of marginalized children and youth globally by creating access to formal channels of savings with branchless banking or mobile money technology. The concept envisions schools (or community centers, non-formal education organizations, post offices) becoming facilitating points of financial access and financial education. Children and youth open savings account at schools and manage accounts with the help of teachers or volunteers. Schools become agents of telecom operators/financial institutions in handling deposit and withdrawal requests. In addition, schools also facilitate the implementation of financial education programs for children and youth. CYFI is the first organization in exploring this solution. The importance of issue of financial access of children and young people is recognized in the G20 Leaders Declaration 2012.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

The model of Schoolbank has three core components: 1) schools (community centers, non-formal education organizations, etc)becoming agents of financial institutions and/or telecom operators in facilitating the financial access for children and youth; 2) mobile banking technology (or other branchless banking technology) provided by telecom operators, financial institutions, or developers; 3) financial institutions that provide savings account for children and youth and facilitate the saving through a digital banking platform. In practice, for example, a child living in a developing country can save money in his/her account through the facilitation of the school via mobile banking technology. Money is deposited into a secured and formal savings account that ensure maximum benefits for the child. Applying mobile banking technology can significantly expand the outreach of financial access in areas where basic infrastructure of conventional banking services is lacking. With the savings account opened, the child learns how to manage his/her resources and is motivated to save money. Through the financial education program, he/she can learn the skills to start entrepreneurial projects. He/she can thus increase savings to invest in their own future and increase their employability.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

CYFI is a market leader that address financial inclusion of children and youth. It is the first organization bringing different stakeholders globally around the issue of financial inclusion of children and youth. Schoolbank is built on this and is an initiative lead by the technology working group of CYFI, which aims to reshape the future of finance through expanding access to formal channels of banking to children and youth. It is the first initiative of its kind seeking innovative solutions to financial exclusion of children and youth via technology. The success depends on the synergy effects of all players.

Founding Story

Jeroo Billimoria has long worked with children and youth, especially those living in the streets of India. One young girl who left a strong impact was Savitire, who was helping take care of her family. Jeroo and her team taught Savitrie about basic money and finance. Savitire passed on her learning to her mother and siblings. Today, all the family members have a bank account. Savitire realized that she did not need to marry at a young age and has decided to pass on what she has learnt to others. She is now training to be a teacher. Savitire’s story furthered the Jeroo’s commitment to ensure that EVERY child can have the same opportunities and break the cycles of poverty in which they live.
About You
Child and Youth Finance International
About You
First Name


Last Name


About Your Organization
Organization Name

Child and Youth Finance International

Organization Country

, NH, Amsterdam

Country where this project is creating social impact
How long has your organization been operating?

1‐5 years

Has the organization received awards or honors? Please tell us about them

The organization has not received awards or honors as it is a very young organization. However, the founder, Jeroo Billimoria, is a world leading social entrepreneur and an Ashoka fellow. In addition to her being a Ashoka fellow, she is also a Skoll and Schwab Fellow who has presented her work at the World Economic Forum in Davos, CGI and other international fora. In 2008, Jeroo is profiled as a leading social entrepreneur in “The Power of Unreasonable People” by Harvard Business Press. In 2001, She was conferred the Schwab Fellowship for Social Entrepreneurs. In 1999, she was conferred the Ashoka : Innovators for the Public fellowship. She was also featured in David Bornstein’s book “How to Change the World” and in Beverly Schwartz’ book “Rippling”

In the Netherlands, where she’s currently based, Jeroo has been recognized among the leading women in the Dutch charity sector by the Dutch magazine ‘Opzij’ (2010: ranked 2nd, 2011: ranked 9th), and among the Netherlands’ 50 most influential international residents by the Dutch magazine ‘the International Correspondent’ (2012: ranked 37th, ranked 2nd most influential Indian expat).

The organizations that she founded and run include
• Child and Youth Finance International (CYFI), 2011
• Aflatoun, Child Savings International, 2005
(Aflatoun has been recognized among the world’s top 50 NGOs)
• Child Helpline International, 2002
(The United Nations International Telecommunication Union adopted a Supplement recommending one number for all toll-free helplines in all Child Helpline countries, the only NGO to have achieved this.)
• CHILDLINE India Foundation
(The foundation has received many awards for its work)
• Mel Jol, 1991
(MelJol won the Emerging NGO Award in the Access to Finance Category at the ICICI & CNBCTV18 Inclusive India Awards 2012.)

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How long have you been in operation?

Still in idea phase, but looking to launch soon

Which of the following best describes the barrier(s) your innovation addresses? Choose up to two

Access, Cost, Transparency, Quality, Equity.

Social Impact
Please describe the goal of your initiative; outline what you are trying to achieve

The goal of Schoolbank is to ensure financial inclusion and financial education for all children and youth, especially those living in the developing world. The project is trying to achieve:

1) Easy access to safe, structured, low-cost, formal channels of saving for all children and youth;

2) Financial education that not only teach about financial skills, but also social skills and livelihood skills to all children and youth;

3) Connecting children and young people globally through telecommunication network;

4) Empower the next generation with the knowledge and skills to become responsible economic citizens and reshape the future of finance.

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,, Powerful incentives for financial service providers to move up-market, Other (Please describe below).

If you selected 'other' above, please specify which other barriers to financial inclusion you solution seeks to address:

The lack of awareness of the importance of financial inclusion and financial education for children and young people below 18.

For which underserved or excluded communities will your solution create access to valuable, affordable, secure and comprehensive financial services?

Schoolbank aims to reach the marginalized children and youth under the age of 18, especially those in the developing world. Schoolbank creates access to formal, secured, structured, and low-cost banking services for children and youth that cannot access formal channels of banking due to: 1) the lack of awareness of the value of financial inclusion and financial education of children and youth; 2) the basic physical banking infrastructure is not present at the local community; 3) the lack of suitable and affordable banking products tailored to the needs of children and youth; 4) financial service providers lack of the corporate interests to serve children and young people in underdeveloped market.

Could your solution work in other geographies or regions? If so, where?

Schoolbank is a concept at a pilot stage. Up to now the project has identified five pilot countries among which four will be ready to run the pilot by the end of 2012. The concept is created from a global perspective and can thus be applied to different countries across the world. In practice, the concept might need to be adapted to fit with the local context and capacities.

If your solution is dramatically successful, how will things be different in 10 years?

If the project is dramatically successful, in 10 years, all schools under the education system in each country will facilitate access to formal, secured, structured, and low-cost banking services for all children and youth below the age of 18. In addition, all children and youth will receive financial, social and livelihood education at schools and enhance their empathy and confidence. They will be empowered with the knowledge and skills to make informed decisions and become responsible economic citizens. The project will bring about system change by creating opportunities for children and youth to obtain sustainable livelihoods, enhance level of employability, and begin their ascent from poverty.

What will have had to have changed to make this happen?

1) Financial regulations that post substantial barriers for children and young people below the age of 18 to access formal banking access need to be changed by financial regulators.

2) Legislations need to be adapted to allow for flexibility of offering mobile banking services to children and young people.

3) Advancement in mobile technologies and the building of telecommunication and banking infrastructure.

4) Support from Ministries of Education is needed to achieve scale-up for of Schoolbank by encouraging schools to include financial education to their curriculum and participate in Schoolbank.

5) Awareness towards the issue of financial inclusion of children and youth needs to be enhanced at the global level. Change of mindsets is needed to ensure the real system change.

What has been the impact of your solution to date?

The project is at its pilot stage. However, the concept has gained support from important stakeholders in the field. CYFI is working with ITU in developing a financial education application on mobile phones and hopes to launch it globally in 2015. IFC is working with CYFI in identifying the business case of Schoolbank and will introduce successful practice to increasing financial inclusion in more developing countries. More importantly, CYFI is working with G20 and UN on global advocacy and policy of financial inclusion for children and young people. In addition, CYFI is going to introduce the solution of Schoolbank globally through the five regional meetings of CYFI in 2012 and get more players engaged in making a difference.

What is your projected impact over the next five years?

In the next five years, Schoolbank is anticipated to reach 4 million children and young people in approximately 15 countries across the world. These children and young people will have formal savings accounts and receive financial education. 1/3 of participating children and youth are expected to start their own social or financial entrepreneurial projects with the skills leanrt and start to generate income and invest their own future. More children and young people will remain in schools and be motivated to make a difference - not only in their own lives, but those of their family and community.

What barriers might hinder the success of your project? How do you plan to overcome them?

1) The Secretariat is in need of external funding to sustain the project. The Secretariat can cover part of the funding through the CYFI network membership fees. The majority needs to be covered by external funding.

2) Secretariat is identifying pilot partners globally, who are willing to commit financially, to prove the business case.

3) The project might be subject to regulatory constraints. Current financial laws might post barriers for children and young people to access formal banking serves. The global advocacy efforts of CYFI can potentially overcome these barriers.

Winning entries present a strong plan for how they will achieve and track growth. Identify your six-month milestone for growing your impact

10,000 children and young people in pilot countries open savings accounts and start saving, and receive financial education.

Identify three major tasks you will have to complete to reach your six-month milestone
Task 1

Identifying pilot countries and partners who are willing to contribute their own resources to developing the project.

Task 2

Developing country specific action plans with partners and setting up necessary technical infrastructure to support the project.

Task 3

Project roll-out and documentation of impacts and learning occurred during the pilots.

Now think bigger! Identify your 12-month impact milestone

100,000 children and youth in 10 countries open savings accounts and receive financial education.

Identify three major tasks you will have to complete to reach your 12-month milestone
Task 1

Summarizing learning from initial pilots and identifying more countries and partners to participate in the project.

Task 2

Developing plan to scale up the outreach of the project in each existing participating country.

Task 3

Global advocacy efforts of the CYFI Secretariat and linking the project to the national platform being built in each country.

Tell us about your partnerships

Despite its short history, CYFI has gained strong supports internationally. CYFI is working with UN, UNICEF, G20, World Bank around the issues of financial inclusion of children and youth. The initiative of Schoolbank is supported by ITU and GSMA. CYFI is currently in dialogue with financial regulatory authorities from over 80 countries for building a national financial inclusion platform. Over 100 financial institutions, NGOs, and individuals worldwide have joined the global network of CYFI.

Are you currently targeting other specific populations, locations, or markets for your innovation? If so, where and why?

The target group of Schoolbank is marginalized children and young people living in the developing countries where financial access is hindered due to various reasons. In addition, the project will reach children and youth living in developed economies through financial education. The project will be piloted in countries on different continents.

What type of operating environment and internal organizational factors make your innovation successful?

The strength of Schoolbanks comes through innovation, collaboration and flexibility. This is achieved through the partnerships and collaborations which will be created. It is imperative that there be strong central coordination by the CYFI Secretariat.

Please elaborate on any needs or offers you have mentioned above and/or suggest categories of support that aren't specified within the list