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finance inclusion


Plan International and Mastercard Foundation worked together for 4.5 years and together increased economic opportunities for more than 89,000 poor youth in West Africa:

We all need financial services. We need insurance to manage emergency situations, we need to transfer funds and access loans to invest in education or housing, build assets, reduce vulnerability and manage cash flows among other services. However, most underprivileged populations don’t have access to these services. Since most of them haven’t been exposed to these services, they have little understanding of how they work and don’t feel confident approaching financial institutions or managing personal finances. Financial inclusion is where individuals and businesses have access to useful and affordable financial products and services that meet their needs that are delivered in a responsible and sustainable way. Financial exclusion has an impact on young people’s future ability to provide for themselves and their families.

Financial inclusion is a challenge as women and young people frequently have barriers accessing services that may exist. Banks usually require government-issued identification to open accounts and access services and may require collateral such as land or housing which is not available to access a loan, limiting access to services available to mean. They may not be near bank branches or have access to a mobile phone, may have language and literacy challenges accessing services, may be unable to afford minimum balance and service fees, or may have a deep distrust of the banking system. As part of a Financial Inclusion Strategy, Plan International works together with youth, families, communities, schools and financial institutions to ensure that children and young people develop the skills, knowledge, and confidence they need to face financial responsibilities and challenges, as they transition from youth to adulthood.

man working at savings group
  • 89,000 received financial literacy and skills training, access to financial services and linkage with local support networks.
  • 4,150 Youth Saving Groups were created,
  • 5,430 youth who met the linkage criteria were sensitized and trained on financial products
  • 1,453 youth linked, 1,393 as members of a YSL group and 60 as individuals (48.4% of project target)
  • 750,000 CFA ($1,670) saved by linked groups
  • Seven groups have taken loans, amounting to a total of 3,500,000 CFA ($7,796.08)

Financial literacy


Learning is crucial for development and is one of the most powerful tools in breaking the

In many of the communities where Plan International works, children are unable to engage in self-employment or start their own business as they are unable to understand record keeping, business planning or accounting. Plan provides children and youth with practical experience, whereby developing business ideas and implementing business plans, they can put into practice their financial and entrepreneurship skills, which sets them on a path for success later in life.

Plan International Canada and Scotiabank have been working together increasing the economic opportunities in Peru for the last five years.

As a result:

  • 150,000 children have received training on life skills, entrepreneurship, and financial literacy
  • 144 schools have received teaching materials, training, and have received seed capital to implement business plans designed by their students.
  • Equipped 6,560 teachers with the materials needed to teach their students financial literacy and entrepreneurship
  • Hosted exchange for more than 100 teachers in Peru to experience the program in action at other schools and bring ideas back to implement in their own classrooms.

Savings groups

Family standing around a table

As part of the Financial Inclusion strategy, Plan also promotes the implementation of Saving Groups, as the first step to financial inclusion for vulnerable communities as they provide a mechanism to save money while building financial knowledge and skills. Saving Groups become an opportunity to put into practice their financial skills and to build assets at a low risk.


Finance and Microfinance Institutions


Furthermore, Plan International works with Finance and Microfinance Institutions, to increase youth’s access to financial services and linkage with local support networks. We take the amount of time required to conduct a proper due diligence process with Finance and Microfinance Institutions, and the time it takes for youth to feel comfortable linking with them. We have also worked with these Institutions to develop youth-friendly financial products.

Young people, especially women, face high levels of unemployment, insecure work, exploitation, financial exclusion. They struggle to meet their most basic daily needs, leaving them extremely vulnerable to economic shocks or disasters. As a response, Plan International developed the Youth Economic Empowerment (YEE) Pathway.

The YEE pathway is an approach that prepares and supports young people, particularly the most vulnerable and marginalized to transition into the world of work. This strategy enables young women and men to access opportunities for decent work through waged or self-employment. Plan International Canada has supported more than 10,000 youth in Africa, Asia and the Americas with this approach since 2013. The YEE pathway embeds a gender approach in all actions related to youth employment and entrepreneurship programming. Taking into account the different constraints and needs faced by young girls and boys in the world of work. This strategy equips young people with relevant employability and soft skills that enables them to access opportunities through waged employment or entrepreneurship.