8.4 Child and Youth Finance International (CYFI)

Child and Youth Finance International (CYFI) (http://childfinanceinternational.org) is an international network of government representatives, financial services providers, NGOs, private sector companies, academics, and educators who are committed to advancing the common goals and objectives of the global Child and Youth Finance Movement. While there are many initiatives which already exist doing great work in the different areas of financial access and education for young people, CYFI believes there needs to be an effort to coordinate this work through a holistic approach from the local to the global level.

While the CYFI Secretariat is based in the Netherlands, the CYFI network includes hundreds of partners from countries all over the world. The CYFI network aims to ensure that 100 million children and youth will have access to appropriate and low-cost financial products and quality financial, social and livelihoods education by 2015. These ambitious targets require members of the Child and Youth Finance Movement to collaborate openly on the sharing of learning resources, research initiatives, impact assessment tools, best practices in program and product design, and efforts to promote policy and systems changes that better meet the financial and educational needs of children and youth.

Members of the CYFI Inclusion Working Group have used interactive forums to set the minimum standards and process requirements for the Child and Youth Friendly Banking Certification. Members of the CYFI Education Working Group have collaborated extensively on the content of the Child and Youth Finance Learning Framework and accompanying Education Kit for NGOs interested in designing financial, social, or livelihoods educational programming for children and youth. Members of the CYFI Academics Working Group are collaborating on the setting of impact indicators for the Child &Youth Finance Movement, along with a report on the state of financial literacy and inclusion programs for children and youth worldwide.

CYFI also works with government representatives to support the development of national platforms for financial inclusion and educational programming for children and youth. CYFI members have the opportunity to collaborate openly through these national platforms as the execution of this framework will involve a coordinated effort to engage representatives from relevant government ministries, private sector corporations, financial service providers/regulators/associations, civil society organizations, teachers associations, and academic institutions.

The coordination of nationwide Child and Youth Finance Day/Week events, linked with Regional Meetings and the Annual International Summit, provide tangible examples of how these stakeholders can work together to promote financial inclusion and skills development for children and youth at the local, national, and global levels.

The first annual Child and Youth Finance Summit was held in April 2012 in Amsterdam, the Netherlands and attended by 346 participants from 83 countries. All shared innovations, ideas, and commitments for expanding the global Child and Youth Finance Movement. One of the Summit’s key outcomes was the creation of regional platforms and regional meetings for undertaking child and youth finance activities at the national and international levels. Consequently, from October to December 2012, a regional meeting was held in each of the five regions where CYFI works. In total, over 800 senior-level participants from 105 countries participated. The meetings took place in Mexico, Belgium, Nigeria, Lebanon, and the Philippines.

This year, the CYFI Summit will be held on May 7-9, 2013 in Istanbul, Turkey. Parallel to the summit, CYFI will be holding its Global Youth Meeting. Given its primary focus on children and youth, CYFI has developed the Finance&Me project (http://financeandme.org/), which engages schools, community centers, and young people in the movement by challenging them to develop their own projects and take action to reshape the future of finance.  The CYFI Global Youth awards fall within three categories – School Champion Awards, Youth Champion Awards, and CYFI Day/Week Champion Awards. The best projects will then selected and presented at the CYFI global awards ceremony.