Youth Focused Village Savings and Loan Groups
Founded in 2013 by Plan International Egypt through the Rural Youth Economic Empowerment Programme (2013-2016) funded by IFAD and supported by Making Cents International
The Youth Focused Village Savings and Loans Groups are helping youngsters with financial and non-financial support so they buy assets to set up or improve their enterprises.
Financial services that are usually available are not youth-focused or gender-friendly. Young people in rural and remote areas cannot access commercial loans, because they are seen as a risk and would not be able to comply with the strict repayment schedules. Women experience more difficulties in getting access to financial services because of cultural restrictions. Even small loans and savings groups are designed for older, urban demographics, and not inclusive of the needs of rural youth. Furthermore, support to build viable businesses and self-employment opportunities for rural youngsters is lacking.
Solution and innovation
Plan International offers a combination of financial and non-financial support that is friendly to rural youth. Their financial instruments include savings and credit groups that enable shared savings, so people can buy assets for enterprises or consumption. Other instruments include individual credit to start a micro enterprise, and group credit to invest in joined business ventures. They also provide financial linkages including enterprise credit, to help an enterprise grow, and demand deposits to build long-term assets. As non-financial support, they offer the training Enterprise Your Life. This entrepreneurship and life skills training consists of 14 to 20 sessions over a period of 10 months. They have on-going coaching by a trained facilitator who provides advice on the utilization of training content. Finally, they provide technical and vocation training of 1 session per day, up to 10-15 sessions over the course of 3 months.
Over 10.000 young people joined the savings groups and used them to mobilize savings, develop enterprising life skills, and launch or expand income-generating activities. After the pilot projects in Egypt and Togo, they are currently rolling out the Enterprise Your Life curriculum in seven countries.
“Through the Savings and Enterprise Your Life I learned how to be neither a squanderer nor a miser. I learned how to invest my money instead of just putting it aside or spending it carelessly.” Safaa Mohamed