A new financial literacy program designed to reach an estimated 1 million young people and expand economic and social opportunities for youth in Kenya has been launched.
UAP Old Mutual Foundation has partnered with Shujaaz Inc, the network of social ventures behind East Africa’s biggest youth brand ‘Shujaaz’, to launch the initiative which will connect young people with the skills and support they need to start businesses, create work opportunities for their peers, and take control of their financial futures.
Young people participating in the program will access peer-to-peer online training in key financial skills, including saving, investing, budgeting, and debt management, which are crucial for their financial success at a personal and entrepreneurship level.
Speaking during the partnership signing ceremony, Apollo Njoroge the Managing Director of Faulu Microfinance Bank said that the initiative’s main aim is to connect youth with the skills and support they need to start and scale their businesses and manage their financial lives.
“The goal of this partnership with Shujaaz Inc is to help break barriers that stand in the way of youth taking control of their financial future. Through this initiative, we hope to connect our youth to the skills they need so that they can make the right financial decisions to enhance their ability and capacity to venture into successful businesses,”
said Mr Njoroge, who is also a trustee of UAP Old Mutual Foundation
Rob Burnet, CEO of Shujaaz Inc, added that:
“Across Kenya, millions of young people are running their own businesses, adding Kshs 32bn to the economy every month, and creating work opportunities for young people in their communities. But too often, they go overlooked, or feel excluded from the formal financial sector. That’s why we’re so pleased to be launching this pilot project with one of Africa’s leading Financial Service Groups, to connect young people with the skills and the support they need to scale their businesses and navigate a fast-changing economy.”
Financial literacy was one of the areas identified by Shujaaz Inc research that would enable young people to improve their business skills. The partnership will address a significant challenge youth face; access to relevant financial skills training, a core component in making their dreams in life a reality.
Mr Njoroge also said that UAP Old Mutual Group was keen on promoting financial inclusion in Kenya, crucial to attaining the global Sustainable Development Goals.
“Financial inclusion is a long-term process. Empowering youth with financial skills is a critical step toward achieving financial inclusion as they (youth) form the majority of the population.”
Rob went on to explain that “The ripple effects of providing business and financial skills training to young-entrepreneurs can be huge. Shujaaz Inc research shows that young entrepreneurs who earn Kshs. 9,500 per month or more often create work opportunities for one or more people in their communities. Ask a young entrepreneur in Kenya what success looks like to them they often say
‘hiring an apprentice’ or ‘becoming a mentor’; this generation is committed to uplifting their communities. Investing in young entrepreneurs through pilot programmes like this one creates far-reaching social and economic benefits.”
UAP Old Mutual and Shujaaz Inc will collaborate to design the personal finance training programme, which will be tailored to the day-to-day reality of the lives of young people across Kenya. The blended learning programme will connect young people directly to peer-mentors through user-designed training videos and community-led online discussions and meet-ups, available through Shujaaz Inc platforms. The content will also feature financial experts from UAP Old Mutual Group, who will be involved in the program in line with the company policy of encouraging employees to give back to the community.
UAP Old Mutual Foundation is the corporate social responsibility arm of UAP Old Mutual Group, an integrated financial services firm with interests in insurance, savings, investment, and banking. Promoting financial literacy is one of the Foundation’s primary focus areas in addition to education, health and environmental causes.
Through the Foundation, UAP Old Mutual Group has supported initiatives that improve financial decision-making and create awareness on building economic resilience within our communities.
Statistics show that over one million young Kenyans enter the job market each year, yet less than ten per cent secure formal employment. This has pushed many to start businesses hence the need to provide financial decision-making tools to grow their ventures.
Yet, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), young adults have among the lowest levels of financial literacy in many countries, thus affecting their ability to plan their financial goals as they embark on their careers. This also hampers economic growth, especially in developing nations.