Population Council released this scoping report to open up discussion on the way forward in promoting financial capabilities to ensure financial inclusion of the poor. The report includes a review of literature, curricula and programs, and a Bangladesh-based pilot on financial education to adolescents.
The main recommendations for financial education programming from the report are the following:
- It is important to target adolescents to ensure they learn skills for earning, spending, saving, and investing money when they are young. In Bangladesh, more than two-thirds of young people ages 20-24 are involved in some form of economic activity.
- It is important to target young impoverished women to ensure that the next generation of women is financially independent. Women are traditionally excluded from markets and asset ownership, and therefore lack the skills or knowledge to make informed financial decisions.
- It is important to incorporate a mentoring element into programming, as it is has been found to be an effective teaching method in life skills programming for adolescents.
Programs that have aimed to enhance financial skills and economic independence have been found to have a positive impact on sexual and reproductive health. For instance, a cash transfer program in Malawi for girls and a life skills program with a financial education component in South Africa were found to reduce risky sexual behavior among participants.