Promoting Inclusive Markets and Financial Systems
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.
Save the Children and Fondation Zakoura Microcredit (FZMC) are implementing the “Linking Youth with Knowledge and Opportunities in Microfinance,” or LYKOM (which means “for you” in Arabic), project with seed funding from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and cofinanced with private funding from Save the Children and FZMC.1 The program includes financial and business literacy training; savings promotion; and access to credit for youth businesses.
Lessons learned include:
- Entrepreneurial skills training is not appreciated by all youth;
- The notion of ‘small enterprises’ and of growing businesses gradually is not well understood;
- Current minimum savings levels at La Poste (post office) may be a barrier to youth savings;
- Parents’ influence is strong, and programs may need to change negative parental attitudes about entrepreneurial activity.