Youth and Financial Services Working Group
The MasterCard Foundation
The MasterCard Foundation advances microfinance and youth learning to promote financial inclusion and prosperity. Through collaboration with committed partners in 48 countries, The MasterCard Foundation is helping people living in poverty to access opportunities to learn and prosper. An independent, private foundation based in Toronto, Canada, it was established through the generosity of MasterCard Worldwide at the time of the company’s initial public offering in 2006.
About the Youth and Financial Services Working Group
The 2007 World Development Report notes, “Youth is a period of intense learning, when people can acquire the human capital they need to move themselves and their families out of poverty.” Youth is also an excellent time to learn responsible financial habits and attitudes around saving, borrowing, spending, the use of insurance, and investing. Appropriate financial and non-financial services (such as education and training), tailored to the unique needs and capabilities of youth, can help youth to better manage their finances to support themselves and their families.
This Youth and Financial Services Working Group seeks to bring together a diverse group of industry leaders currently working in the field of youth financial services, as well as those who are interested in expanding their current catalogue of services. This working group facilitates lively discussion and produces innovative learning products that benefit not only the members of the working group but practitioners working in youth financial services and economic strengthening worldwide.
The overall goal of the working group is to improve the ability of microenterprise practitioners to provide high quality and effective financial and non-financial services to youth worldwide. One of its key activities is to create learning products, providing practitioners with comprehensive yet accessible tools to aid them in their youth and financial service activities.
Ultimately, the working group will directly benefit practitioners already working with youth (or those wishing to move into the arena of youth financial services) with comprehensive learning materials and networking opportunities generated by the group. Youth clients worldwide will be indirect beneficiaries of this initiative since the learning generated by this working group will enable organizations to provide higher quality and innovative financial services to their current and future youth clients.
 Source: World Development Report 2007, pp. 27-28.
 The working group defines financial services as those products or services that aim to assist individuals to manage their financial resources. These services include, but are not necessarily limited to, savings, credit and insurance, primarily at the micro level. The group will incorporate both formal and informal financial services, but will focus primarily on formal financial services.
 Although the working group’s focus will be on youth financial services, it will also necessarily include appropriate discussions of non-financial services such as financial education and training, since they are directly related to increasing access to, and effectiveness of, financial services offered to youth.