KATHMANDU, Aug 27: YouthSave, a project initiated by Save the Children in Nepal, Ghana, Kenya, and Colombia, is designed to encourage low-income youths to save money.
In spite of the general idea that children from low-income group don’t save money or don’t have any means to save, the opposite is actually true. A majority of these children are conscious about the importance of saving, and many have actually started putting away money for a rainy day.
On August 23, Save the Children held a discussion on the topic “Youth & Their Money: Insights into the Financial Lives of Youth” at Hotel Radisson in Kathmandu.
Rani Deshpande, Project Director, YouthSave, Save the Children; Jaya Burathoki, Senior. Project Coordinator, YouthSave, Save the Children; Ajay Shrestha, Chief Executive Officer, Bank of Kathmandu; and Maha Prasad Adhikari, Deputy Governor, Nepal Rastra Bank discussed their findings on topics like the field of youth saving and understanding the demand and supply of youth savings in Nepal.
In June 2010, Save the Children Nepal embarked on a market research and preparation for a pilot study. After 14 months, the organization implemented a pilot savings account and financial education workshops from September to December 2011.
According to Jaya Burathoki, more than 2000 youths from Kailali, Surkhet and Bhaktapur districts participated in the financial education workshops.
Burathoki says, “During the research, we learnt that girls were a bit more conscious about saving their money. They accumulate money on festivals and they put some sum aside.”
She further added, “They seem to have three main reasons to save. They save from their basic daily expenses, thinking that their parents may not always have money when they need. So it’s their way of helping their parents. They think that their savings could also come in need in the time of emergencies, or a family member falling sick. Most of the older ones plan to start their own business, and hence, they save.”
For the financial education workshops, YouthSave has tied up with six partner organizations which visit various schools and children’s clubs.
Of these partners, Backward Society Education (BASE) will cover the Kailali District, UNESCO Banke Club will focus on Guleria in Bardiya District, Safer Society in schools in Surkhet, Gaja Youth Club will conduct workshops in Baglung, Nepal National Dalit Social Welfare Organization (NNDSWO) in Bhaktapur, and Happy Nepal will cover the eastern parts of Nepal.
The workshop is a three-hour interactive program where children will learn about the concept of saving, benefits of saving, and the importance of the same. Through the workshop, children can understand the value of setting goals while saving, and differentiating between needs and wants.
Also taking the pilot workshops into consideration, around 5,000 children have participated in these workshops till date.
From April 25 this year, Bank of Kathmandu (BoK) has also stepped into the project with its Chetansil Yuwa Bachat Yojana (CYBY) savings account scheme for youths aged 10 to 22 years.
Their website reads that the account “intends to increase financial access to lower income youth segment of age between 10 to 22 years and create awareness on savings. Under the corporate social responsibility notion, this product has been designed as a saving tool of the financial education package. The product will enable the segment to practice financial learning.”
Many facilities are attached to the Chetansil Yuwa Bachat Yojana savings account. The minimum balance at Rs 100 is good enough for an interested young saver.
Accountholders will be provided a Customer Identity card and withdrawal slip free of cost and while minors get piggy banks for free, older customers can choose between a free piggy bank and a free Visa debit card.
Sharmila Darshandhari from Bhaktapur, an accountholder, speaking during the discussion on August 23, said that her savings will be used to finance her studies as a nurse.
“With the saving account in the bank, there’s a cushion time for me to be logical before I withdraw my money. Because my father is the custodian to my account and whose signature is required for withdrawals, I have questions to answer before I can withdraw,” she said.
Burathoki states that approximately 1,500 accounts have been opened since the pilot study in September 2011.
The YouthSave project will conclude in 2014 but the BoK savings account will continue encouraging young savers.