When children learn basic financial skills from an early age, they are significantly more likely to make wise financial decisions as adults. That’s why it is never too early to start learning about money management or develop a savings habit. This is especially critical in Sub-Saharan Africa where much of the population has neither access to secure savings nor a safety net when hard times hit.
In Uganda, we are working to deliver a two-part financial education programme in secondary schools. Students first learn about the importance of budgeting, setting clear financial goals and saving for the future. They can then choose to put what they have learned into practice by joining an extracurricular savings club that meets after school each week. The students also have an option to open a child savings account with the support of their parents. Upon turning 18, they can open their own bank account to ensure that their money is safe and protected. By developing a healthy habit of savings, students will leave school with the knowledge and skills to build a financially secure future as well as a nest egg to help as they get started. The savings clubs have been so successful that some teachers have joined and are leading by example.
Jane is just one of many students who is benefitting from this programme. She is a Year 6 student at Hope Junior School in Bukomansimbi District in Uganda and she loves maths. After attending financial literacy lessons, she set a savings target of 2,000 shillings (approximately 45 pence). Her goal? To buy a mathematical set to use in her favourite class. She saved little and often from her pocket money and is now the proud owner of her very own mathematical set.
Jane’s tenacity and passion will help her go far in life. Yet, she is only one of many young Ugandans who have been given an opportunity to shape their futures. There are currently 90 clubs running with 4,410 active savers and another 2,000 members who are just setting out on their journeys. We cannot wait to see how their stories unfold.
Jane and her mathematical set
This work is part of The Empowerment for Girl’s Education Challenge (EGE) and is supported by the Department for International Development (DFID). It is delivered in partnership with PEDN (Private Education Development Network) and Aflatoun.