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> Posted by Monique Cohen, Ph.D., Founding-President, Microfinance Opportunities
The following post was originally published on the Child and Youth Finance International Blog.
“I am not good at managing my money. I need some extra training so that I can know how to manage myself. Because you know money is like trouble. You get big money and it’s like big trouble, you know,” (A young man living in Nairobi, 2011).
Walk down any street in Nairobi, Dar es Salam, or Cairo, or in a small African town and it seems everyone, including teenagers, has a phone to their ear. Indeed, for those 18 and under, few have known a world without mobiles. Not surprisingly, school-age boys and girls (5-14), teens (14-18), and young people entering the labor force or tertiary education (over 18) are seen as a potential new market for the provision of financial services. While recent experimentation in this space has focused on savings, there is growing consensus that young people should be able to access a full range of financial services, with the priorities changing as they advance in their life cycle (see YouthSave, YouthStart, and Child and Youth Finance International). Not only are youth savings and youth financial education hot topics in the financial services space, but there is also a growing recognition that young people have money, and technology-based financial services offer a gateway for their financial inclusion. Read the rest of this entry »
> Posted by Jeffrey Riecke, Communications Assistant, CFI
We talk a lot on this blog about financial inclusion as it relates to specific population segments. But one group we never expected to cover is professional athletes. That is, until now…
ESPN recently aired a documentary aptly titled Broke. The film investigates why professional athletes in the United States – namely football and basketball players – have such a hard time managing their money. “By the time they have been retired for two years, 78 percent of former NFL players have gone bankrupt or are under financial stress; within five years of retirement, an estimated 60 percent of former NBA players are broke,” the film begins.
Now, if you’ve been exposed to professional sports in the United States, you’ve probably noticed that the celebrity culture surrounding top athletes includes extreme purchasing. Lots of clothes, jewelry, cars, houses. But there’s more to athletes’ financial mismanagement than big buying.
The Financial Inclusion 2020 campaign at the Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion is building a movement toward full financial inclusion by 2020. Accordingly, this blog series will spotlight financial inclusion efforts around the globe, share insights coming out of the creation of a roadmap to full financial inclusion, and highlight findings from research on the “invisible market.”
A who’s who of the global financial education community came together this month at the ninth annual Citi-FT Financial Education Summit in Manila. I was excited to attend this signature event, organized by the Citi Foundation, the Pearson Foundation, and the Financial Times, and I took home a number of important insights. Most importantly, it is clear that we need much more information and evidence about what works in regards to building financial capability.
Heather Clark is an independent consultant who, among her appointments, previously managed CFI’s now-completed Beyond Codes project. Robyn Robertson is currently Director of Financial Education at Opportunity International. Of course, more comments are always welcome.
Recently someone asked me “who do you consider a hero?”
I thought about this for a long time. For me a hero has to have vision, determination, and the wherewithal to make the vision something important, valuable to society, and lasting. It’s much better if the vision battles the current wisdom, as there is nothing like challenging the way the world works.
Implementing Monique’s vision was not easy in the early days. No one wanted to hear about clients, when the focus was on organizational sustainability. Monique battled the early days of impact assessment and continued, amazingly undaunted. She found the vision — “it’s about understanding clients,” she said.
Perhaps it sounds so simple now. But without Monique, without Microfinance Opportunities, we would never have had such a clear path for the future.
> Posted by Ignacio Mas, Independent Consultant
In his reminiscences of youth, Alan Moorehead said this of women, but it could equally apply to many people’s attitude to banks. People’s concerns about banks are phrased in surprisingly similar terms wherever you go in the developing world. (See this clip for a typical example.)
This got me thinking: how much of people’s fear and mistrust of banks is due to a lack of understanding? Let’s explore three typical articulations of the distance between banks and ordinary people.
“Banks are for rich people; what do they want from me?”
The understanding gap here is in the motivations and intentions of banks when they approach the base of the pyramid. It’s a very human reaction: if someone who has never shown any interest in me suddenly starts cozying up, I get on guard. Banks venturing down-market need to explain where they see the opportunity, otherwise people will not believe there is a commitment or, worse, will interpret ulterior motives. This requires articulating a joint vision of success for the bank and the new client segments, and consistently demonstrating behaviors that gives credence to the claim. Equity Bank in Kenya has been particularly effective in conveying the idea that its success is intertwined with the success of ordinary Kenyans; its positioning is credible.
Starting a family is an exciting time. Though amidst the new joys, it’s important to decide how your family will function. In the following post, Top 10 Online Universities blog, a wide-spanning resource for navigating young adulthood, offers financial advice for young families embarking on the terrain of joint credit card accounts.
This is an example of financial education messaging for young adults in the United States. In what ways do you think it is relevant (or not) for people at the bottom of the pyramid in developing countries?
The post begins:
Sharing a credit card with your partner is a very big deal. What was once all yours to spend is now also theirs. But unlike co-signing a lease or sharing a cell phone family plan, credit card debt is undefined. Before you and your significant other apply for a joint credit card, please check out the following tips for managing a shared credit card.
> Posted by Chris Dunford, Senior Research Fellow, Freedom from Hunger
Chris Dunford of Freedom from Hunger responds to a question we posed at the end of the recent post regarding Avanza: How does such new technology affect the client/loan officer relationship that is so central to the operations of many MFIs? The post begins:
Although less celebrated than solidarity group and loan contract innovations, another unique feature of microfinance is the regular face time between clients and agents of organizations from outside the isolated world of a poor person. Agents variously known as loan officers, credit officers, field agents, promoters, or animators can accompany and guide poor clients on their journeys toward mainstream society and economy and can be social intermediaries between the poor and whatever services and opportunities are available in the larger world outside their communities. The importance of such facilitation increases in proportion to the isolation of the poor, which is especially severe for women and those in very poor, rural communities.
Microfinance Transparency recently released an interactive video designed to share information about flat and declining interest rates in an engaging new way. It tells the story of “Chantal” and “Auntie-Need-a-Loan.” Auntie doesn’t read the terms and conditions of her loan. Unfortunately, her carelessness leads her to get tricked by loan predators, pay high fees, miscalculate her interest, and miss her loan payments. The concept was created to help industry stakeholders to convey important pricing transparency and consumer protection messages.
In addition to this animation, “Auntie-Need-a-Loan” will be featured in radio public service announcements, training materials and other print materials throughout Rwanda and Malawi.
Check out the full animation here!
Image credit: 17triggers.com
Have you read?
> Posted by Susy Cheston
This post is part of the Center for Financial Inclusion’s Expert Exchange: Building A Movement Toward Financial Inclusion by 2020, cultivating conversation around the goal of reaching full financial inclusion by 2020. For further questions about this series, write to Sonja E. Kelly, Fellow, Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion.
Are we “rushing inclusion perhaps to its early death,” as a recent post from the Kenya Financial Education Centre asks? In the post, John Gitau’s concern is that in our rush to access, we are getting ahead of clients’ capacity to use services wisely and well. It’s a good concern to raise, and it is especially legitimate when posed by someone who sees the fall-out up close and personal.
And yet the Center for Financial Inclusion is spearheading a Financial Inclusion 2020 project that is breathtaking in its audacity: building a movement to full financial inclusion for all, using the year 2020 as a focal point to clarify thinking and galvanize action. The argument of the Center is that working backwards from 2020—near enough that we can track our progress, far enough away that change is possible—results in a different kind of thinking than incremental strategies to add a few million clients here and there. To this end we are working with a wide range of partners to build a road map to full inclusion, pushing to accelerate what we believe to be critical access to financial services for those who are excluded. We are casting our net wide—engaging any and all who want to be involved in this effort.*