- The three-year ‘Empowering Generational Change through Education’ program will help educate 530,000 children in 10 countries across Latin America, Africa and Asia
Opportunity International, the premier global financial services organization for the poor, announced Credit Suisse will help support a new education initiative to improve the quality, availability and affordability of education in impoverished areas of Latin America, Africa and Asia.
“Investing in education is one of the most decisive ways to help people work their way out of poverty,” said Vicki Escarra, Global CEO of Opportunity International. “Research has shown that education raises a student’s future economic status and can even extend life expectancy. We look forward to continuing our important partnership with Credit Suisse to expand educational opportunities for thousands of youth through access to financial services.”
Building on a successful six-year partnership with Credit Suisse, this new three-year program will launch education finance initiatives in Colombia and Tanzania and expand existing programs in the Dominican Republic, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, Uganda, India and the Philippines to help more than 530,000 children and youth through a combination of innovative savings, lending, insurance and financial education products and services. Specifically, the initiative will provide school improvement loans to help build and expand schools, hire and train teachers, provide lunches and help pay for other activities to increase the number of students in school and improve the quality of education they receive. The initiative will also provide school fee loans to help parents pay tuition and buy books and other school supplies to ensure their children stay in school regardless of family income fluctuations.
“More than 67 million children worldwide are not enrolled in schools, often because their family simply cannot afford the costs of school fees, tuition or supplies, or because quality education isn’t available where they live,” said Manuel Rybach, Global Head Corporate Citizenship and Foundations for Credit Suisse. “Credit Suisse and Opportunity International understand that investing in education is an investment in the future. That’s why we’ve partnered— to ensure that children around the world have opportunities to learn and grow.”
An estimated 7.1 million people have already benefited from the partnership between Opportunity International and Credit Suisse’s Microfinance Capacity Building Initiative through support of electronic-banking transactions, training for microfinance staff and financial services for people in impoverished areas. The new “Empowering Generational Change through Education” initiative aims to achieve the following goals:
- Provide 2,200 school improvement loans to private school proprietors, impacting the access and quality of education for approximately 484,000 students.
- Provide 52,000 school-fee loans to parents and students to help parents to pay tuition and fees, impacting the education of approximately 161,000 students.
- Pilot and expand additional educational services to provide young people with a formal education and the skills they need to get a job. Services provided will include child savings accounts and youth financial education in Africa; and the EduSave program—an innovative, free insurance program to cover a child’s school costs in the event of a parent or guardian’s death or permanent disability.
- Provide education finance bank staff with training and development opportunities to help them service Opportunity’s growing educational programs.