By Ashley Alman, New America Foundation
You probably brush your teeth every morning, a habit you started developing as soon as you were able to hold your own tooth brush. So, what if we applied the same logic to asset building – that as soon as you could grasp a handful of change, you started saving?
A third of the global population today is under the age of 19, with 90 percent of these young people living in developing countries and 45 percent living on less than $2 a day. More than ever, young people need the tools to manage their financial lives and, especially, accumulate savings -- opening up economic opportunities and impacting their attitudes and behaviors over the course of their lives.
Blog Post: Towards a New Model for International Research Collaboration: Reflections on the April YouthSave Research Advisory Council Convening and Symposium
By Julia Stevens and Li Zou, Center for Social Development
On April 17, 2012, a Symposium on International Research and Innovation at Washington University in St. Louis highlighted the experiences and insights of the international research partners in YouthSave. The event, which was hosted by the Center for Social Development at Washington University’s Brown School, drew an engaged audience of students, researchers, and program representatives with interests in international research and collaboration.
Blog Post: Evaluating School-Based Financial Education Programs: What Can We Learn from Field Evidence?
By Rodrigo Sermeno, New America Foundation
Recently, I attended “Conversations that Build and Strengthen Youth Economic Opportunities” hosted by Making Cents International. The event featured Hidde van der Veer of Aflatoun, a Dutch NGO providing social and financial education to children, and Aishwarya Lakshmi Ratan of Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA), an organization dedicated to discovering what works for the world’s poor. The speakers shared the preliminary results of their RCT evaluation of the efficacy of school-based financial education programs in Ghana, a country where YouthSave also operates. While their research measured only the short-term effects of these interventions, it nonetheless offers valuable insights into youth labor market participation, risk taking, and most importantly, savings behaviors and attitudes.
Co-sponsored by the New America Foundation and Innovations for Poverty Action
In their acclaimed new book, More than Good Intentions, Yale economist Dean Karlan and Jacob Appel show how small changes in development initiatives can drastically improve the well-being of the poor. As behavioral economists have shown, people are faced with psychological barriers that can lead to irrational choices and prevent certain positive behaviors from forming. In the literature on financial capability, the behavioral challenges to altering and establishing savings habits are too often understated or at times neglected altogether. On June 27th, the New America Foundation and Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) co-hosted an event to discuss financial capability, the book - More than Good Intentions, as well as release a new report by the Global Assets Project called "Accelerating Financial Capability Among Youth: Nudging New Thinking."
Are savings accounts a viable tool to spur development and financial inclusion for one of the world’s most vulnerable populations, low-income youth? In May 2010, Save the Children, the Center for Social Development (CSD) at Washington University in St Louis, the New America Foundation, and the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP) launched the YouthSave Project in order to explore this very question. One year later, on June 7th, 2011, Consortium members gathered at the New America Foundation to share their experiences from their first year of fieldwork, research and analysis.
By Payal Pathak, New America Foundation
This month, the YouthSave Consortium, Expert Advisory Board (EAB) and partnering Financial Institution (FI) representatives from Project countries came together in Bogota, Colombia for a two-day learning exchange. The objectives of this meeting were two-fold: 1) to share YouthSave project progress and updates with our partners and EAB members and 2) to exchange lessons and engage our stakeholders on topics that can improve YouthSave’s efforts in developing, delivering and testing youth savings products targeted at low-income youth.
The Youth Development and Financial Inclusion Nexus?
Of the 3 billion people today that are under the age of twenty-five, half a billion live on less than $2 a day and less than 10% have access to financial services. Low income youth - one of the world's largest and most vulnerable populations - need new and effective tools to achieve social and economic development. This half-day forum – hosted by the YouthSave Consortium with the support of The MasterCard Foundation– explored whether savings accounts for low-income youth might be one such tool. YouthSave also released its new report, “Youth Savings in Developing Countries: Trends in Practice, Gaps in Knowledge,” at the event.
By Julia Stevens & Li Zou, Center for Social Development
YouthSave hosts its first Research Advisory Council (RAC) Meeting! Earlier this month, the RAC – comprised of experts from the fields of social sciences, international development, economics, microfinance, and social policy – convened at the Center for Social Development at Washington University to advise on YouthSave’s learning agenda. Led by CSD, the goals of the agenda are to document the uptake, savings process, savings outcomes, and impacts of Youth Savings Accounts (YSAs) on clients and financial institutions (FIs).