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Young Cooperators Saving for the Future: Invest Youth Savings Program

May 16 2019
Savings accounts are not just a good way to have money to fall back in case of emergency, there are in fact a gateway to financial health. Acquiring a savings account at an early age is key, as data shows that Children
 
who do not have an account by age 18 are likely not to get one. Regulation, access to financial services and information, misconceptions about savings are some of the challenges facing young people to have a savings account. Financial inclusion which means providing access to an adequate range of safe, convenient and affordable financial services to disadvantaged and other vulnerable groups who have been underserved and excluded from the formal sector is MUSCCO’s agenda in Malawi.
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It is on rare occasions you hear of young people in primary schools between the ages of 10 to16 in standards 5 to 8 meeting in a group with the aim of saving money. Under the Invest Coop project in 14 government primary schools in rural communities of Lilongwe, Mchinji and Dowa districts reaching out, MUSCCO in Partnership with Cooperative Development Foundation of Canada is implementing this financial inclusion initiative so far reaching out to 3238 learners. 
 
These groups popularly known as Youth Savings Clubs are self-forming and the young minds meet and regularly save according to their financial capacity. Through the project the groups are trained in Savings concept, group dynamics, and leadership and SACCO concept to help them facilitate their meetings. The first savings allow them to open a group savings account with a SACCO; becoming cooperators. They save in a group’s savings box and the SACCO collects this money at the school. To encourage savings there are no charges made to these accounts. A learner can save as little as MK20 per meeting and by the end of the academic year they would have saved a lot more. From the trainings they are taught to have a financial goal to save towards. With that in mind they learn to appreciate the value of savings seeing what they are able to achieve from the regular savings. Saving is learnt and this program will instill a habit of savings and provide access to financial services to young people in Malawi. It will also enhance the SACCO movement as these youths will grow up learning and accessing financial services from the movement. The Bible says “teach children while they are still young and they will not depart from it” 
 
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