Save the Children Youth Financial Services: Adolescent Girls Project
In Bangladesh, adolescents constitute about one fourth of the total population, of which rural girls are more vulnerable due to lack of/ less exposure to necessary information and education, early marriage, pregnancy and other social discriminations. This case study describes the Kishoree Kontha (Adolescent Girls’ Voices) Project implemented by Save the Children in 5 sub-districts of southern Bangladesh. The goal of this intervention is to link savings schemes with other non-financial services, such as health and education, to allow rural adolescent girls ages 10-19 to build human, social and economic assets. Save the Children uses tailored youth-inclusive market research tools to develop and effectively deliver appropriate financial and non-financial products and services. By using youth-friendly tools, games, and toys during focus groups, and separating out older and younger age cohorts, Save the Children staff was able to identify the key needs of adolescent girls. Using a group mechanism, girls were empowered to make their own decisions in terms of savings and were then given access to credit to transition to income-generation activity. By providing additional non-financial support through training conducted by other young women, girls are equipped with the skills and support needed to enter the workforce. One ongoing challenge is that adolescent girls are not decision-makers, and thus Save the Children engages the family and community in intense sensitization.