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 Charitable Number: 11887 5517 RR0001 

CCA is a not-for-profit 
co-operative that establishes and strengthens  
co-operatives, credit unions, and community-based organizations to reduce poverty, build sustainable livelihoods, and improve civil society in less developed countries.  


To achieve this mission, CCA works closely with Canadian co-operatives and credit unions to channel their knowledge and experience to partner organizations and co-operatives in Africa, Asia, the Americas, Eastern Europe and Caribbean.


Volume 8 Number 09, July 31, 2014
Students invest in their future
Malawi Youth Savings Club Meeting
Students attend a youth savings club meeting in Karonga, northern Malawi.
Too often we hear laments regarding the lack of teaching about money, or better yet, how to manage money while in school.  We are taught many things but not practical life skills like how to be financially literate.  Challenging this are the youth savings clubs that have been a staple of Ghanaian schooling for many years and are now being introduced in other countries.
CCA has sent many interns to Ghana to work with this program and even made a video about this great initiative. Youth savings clubs promote the importance of financial literacy, co-op awareness and the habit of savings for youth. The Ghana program has been so successful that the youth savings club program has been introduced in Malawi and Uganda - a great example of learning and sharing between CCA projects, and of course to co-operative principle #6
(co-operation amongst co-operatives!) 

CCA has been working with MUSCCO (Malawi Union of Savings and Credit Co-operatives) since 2002 and the current sustainable livelihoods project focuses on increasing Malawi SACCO membership numbers (with a focus on women and youth), assisting with the computerization of SACCO's (to improve financial management and reporting) and supporting MUSCCO's ability to perform audits.

The Tikwere SACCO in Karonga, northern Malawi has been the first to introduce a youth savings club and their general manager also just happens to be an alumnae of the CCA Women's Mentorship Program.  

To date there are 10 clubs with 750 members at various primary and high schools in the Karonga district.  Students 10 years and older are eligible to join (with parental consent) and after six months the club is able to share 80% and save 20% of total savings. Students are encouraged to have a goal for their savings with many identifying education, buying clothes and helping parents, and the older high school students recognize their savings as capital for business opportunities.
Abba Smith, founder of the youth savings club program in Ghana
Abba Smith (center left) founder of the youth savings programs in Ghana, poses with some young co-operators.
The trial in Malawi has been so successful that lessons learned will be shared back to Ghana and Uganda so improvements can be implemented to their youth savings club programs.   The shared learnings come from the monitoring and evaluation of the program which recognizes the involvement of parents as crucial to success as they are often the only source of a child's income and their understanding of the program is a huge benefit.  Parents often comment that they see this program as a privilege and opportunity that they missed out on as youth so are keen to show their support. 

As more and more Malawian youth discover the power of saving for their future, the importance of ongoing monitoring of the program is recognized, to ensure regular savings and meetings occur and record keeping is up-to-date. 
Incidentally, Tikwere means "to move up" in the local language and that is exactly what the 750 (and growing) members of these youth savings clubs are aiming to do,
by investing in their future today.
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