Expanding Safe Spaces, Financial Education, and Savings for Adolescent Girls in Kenya

Published: January 2011

This document provides background and findings from the Pop. Council program "Safe and Smart Savings Products for Vulnerable Adolescent Girls in Kenya and Uganda." Working with two financial institution partners in Kenya (K-Rep Bank and Faulu-Kenya) and two in Uganda (Finance Trust and FINCA-Uganda), the Council has successfully developed a savings account that provides girls with a financial service specifically suited to their needs within a program model that expands access to safe spaces, strengthens girls' social networks, and provides them with financial education and basic health education. Once girls open their account, they join a savings group that meets weekly in the community under the guidance of a mentor who facilitates training and group discussion. These mentors are young women from the community who are trained by the program, serve as critical role models for the girls, and contribute to building young female leadership at the community level. The financial institutions also hold periodic meetings with parents to gain parents' support and to provide information on financial services to the adults.

Key Findings

  • The three-part model of safe spaces, financial education, and savings has the potential, when properly implemented, to change the trajectory of vulnerable adolescent girls' lives.
  • One critical finding cited the need to engage community organizations to work in partnership with financial institutions to form and maintain the network of girls' groups; to hire, train, and compensate the mentors; and to be responsible for the quality of the health and financial education training for the girls.
  • Financial institutions are eager to roll the product out to many branches, as long as support for "non-financial services" is possible.
  • The Council plans to test the expansion of this pilot, working with financial institutions and community organizations to understand the full potential of working at scale. The expansion will include a cost analysis and evaluation of the impact of the different components of the model.

Populations Adolescent Girls

Complementary Outcomes Sexual And Reproductive Health, Women's Leadership

Publishers Population Council

Geographic Focus Africa (Eastern)-Kenya, Africa (Eastern)-Uganda

Funded by Nike Foundation, United Kingdom Department for International Development, Global Financial Education Program, LBC Foundation, Financial Education Fund