About Bayelsa CDA STARS
As the first child savings policy pilot in a developing country, CDA Stars will open bank accounts for 1,000 junior secondary students from public schools spanning eight local government areas in the Bayelsa State in Nigeria. The Bayelsa State Government will encourage and incentivize savings among students and their parents by offering financial education, seeding the savings accounts as well as matching deposits every quarter. The project was designed by Columbia University and the Global Assets Project at the New America Foundation with technical support from the World Bank.
Asset effects suggests that the ownership and building of assets, specifically savings, can lead to positive social, economic, psychological, and behavioral impacts on an individual and household, including those with low-incomes. Moreover, emerging evidence from developing countries has begun to show links between youth-owned savings accounts and positive changes in the attitudes and behaviors among low-income and/or socially disadvantaged youth.
In Nigeria, the Bayelsa State faces many short and long term social and economic challenges among youth. Along with a weak education system, once outside of the system, youth do not have access to adequate skills training or employment opportunities. This has caused disenfranchised, unsettled youth, with little optimism about their future. Beyond education, access to resources for self-empowerment, such as financial services, is extremely low. Only 10.3% of Bayelsans currently have access to financial services (including credit), and only in three of the eight Bayelsan districts is there any financial institution present.
The goal of the pilot program is to provide children/youth with a means and incentive to stay in school, save for and invest in their futures, and begin to change their attitudes and behaviors toward themselves and their opportunities. Primarily, the account structure encourages children to stay in school and to continue their education beyond Junior Secondary school, either by 1) providing them with the funds to invest in skills acquisition, such as vocational, technical or entrepreneurship training; 2) continuing on to senior secondary school with the intention of using the funds for post-secondary education in whatever form; and/or 3) eventual use of funds for self-employment through a small business development.
To learn more about the Bayelsa CDA STARS pilot, visit: www.bayelsacdastars.com.ng. Click here to learn more about the project launch.