Global Money Week: Children and Youth Reshaping Finance

Child & Youth Finance International

This year, between March 15th – 21st, there will be a child who will walk into a bank for the very first time. Across the world, there will be another child who will be having a conversation about finance with the governor of the central bank. In a neighbouring country, a teenager will be preparing to talk to her peers about the enterprise she and her classmates had set up. Later during the week, all of these children will share their stories with one another through a web chat. Such is the power of the Global Money Week.

Coordinated globally by Child and Youth Finance International, Global Money Week is being celebrated by national organizations and governments in 80 countries this year. They are are ensuring that children and youth in their countries are engaged, inspired, and educated on the financial issues that matter most to them such as saving, spending, entrepreneurship, employment and leadership.

It is heartening to see the world rise up to the challenge of increasing financial inclusion and education for children and youth in this way. Child and Youth Finance International (CYFI) has been focusing its efforts in the past 18 months since its establishment to ensure that key actors all over the world start to recognize the importance of building the financial capabilities of children and youth.

CYFI put forward a very basic premise: Give children the skills they need to manage their resources, to increase their employment, to build their assets. Give them financial education so they can learn, and a bank account so that they could experience dealing with money. Make sure that this is on every country’s list of priorities. Do this and we will be able to reach the maximum number of children and the children will get themselves out of poverty. Not just that, but they will get others out of poverty, including their families, their friends, and eventually, their own children.

At the beginning, there was only a trickle of interest in this idea.  This trickle eventually became a wave during the first CYFI Summit in 2012.  346 senior level participants from 83 countries shared their ideas and what they have been doing to address this issue.  70 children from 40 countries told these participants what their vision was for a financial future. And policymakers saw, for the first time, how much potential there was to maximize their impact by combining their efforts and sharing their expertise. They decided that, together, they could reach 100 million children in 100 countries by 2015 as a first step.

And so this international movement began to expand. And the ecosystem around the finance for youngsters began to take shape. The participation of 80 countries in the Global Money week is a testimony to the global will to empower the next generation.  In many countries, Global Money Week is the first step toward a larger national collaboration that will see all sorts of stakeholders such as banks, ministries of finance and education, and NGOs among others, making a joint effort to bring real changes to their country.

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