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Promoting Inclusive Markets and Financial Systems

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Resource Watch: Best practices in youth-focused microfinance

New research coming soon!

With the support of USAID and the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the Accelerating Strategies for Practical Innovation & Research in Economic Strengthening (ASPIRES) project seeks to strengthen economic stability and health outcomes by serving the distinct needs of vulnerable children and other highly at-risk populations at the household level. This multi-year project will bring together current evidence and promote state-of-the-art practices by carrying out research and implementation science to expand the evidence base and promote innovation. Part of their work includes a series of literature reviews on various topics – from understanding vulnerability assessments to technical guidance in microfinance practice.

Of particular interest to the Children, Youth, and Economic Strengthening (CYES) working group, four desk reviews on best practices in microfinance for targeting youth and vulnerable children are going to be completed this fall, with technical reports delivered first followed by a series of other user-friendly outputs. Keep an eye out for papers, briefs, webinars, etc. on these four topics. All resources will be shared on the CYES website as it becomes available.

  1.  Technical guidance on best practices in community-based savings-led microfinance for youth/vulnerable children: carried out by the International Rescue Committee (IRC), the desk research will assemble the evidence available on community-based savings-led programs for vulnerable youth and children around the world. The paper will provide guidance materials for implementing programming targeting these populations in optimal ways.
  2. Technical guidance on best practices in institutional savings-led microfinance for youth/vulnerable children: carried out by the SEEP Network, this desk review will gather the evidence available on institutional savings-led programs for youth and children around the world and produce materials to guide projects in implementing programming for these populations.
  3. Technical guidance on “savings groups plus”: will explore different approaches that have been adopted to integrate savings groups (SGs) with other developmental interventions. The paper will explore evidence backing-up the effects of savings groups plus, fleshing out their key advantages and the areas where they failed.
  4. Assessing the state of microinsurance: carried out by the Economic Policy Research Institute (EPRI), this desk review will assemble the evidence on microinsurance as a social protection intervention. The paper will tease out the positive impacts that have been observed among current or recent programs regarding health microinsurance and vulnerable children.
The desk reviews will initiate important discussions around youth and OVC targeted microfinance and will tackle a number of questions that have sparked recent debate, such as:


  • How to determine when it is relevant to implement an institutional or community savings-led microfinance approach to target youth and OVC?
  • When can or should youth/vulnerable children be engaged directly in community-based microfinance?
  • What were the reasons and programmatic results behind the shifting donor focus away from microinsurance? And what are the ways forward and major pitfalls of microinsurance implementation?


CYES will be continuing the conversation around these issues and providing opportunities to engage in several upcoming webinars. Watch for details to be posted on the website soon.  We also invite you to connect with CYES and ensure you receive all the latest news.

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