Scale2Save partner drives financial literacy to impart entrepreneurial skills.
BRUSSELS, 12 August 2020 — David Rutere needed help as he navigated how to pay for a double-major in mathematics and economics from The University of Nairobi. “I faced financial constraints that greatly hindered realising my educational and investment goals. Although I was on campus, I struggled to pay for my fees and meet daily needs."
Image: David Rutere, one of the beneficiaries of the Postbank mentorship programme tends to his capsicums (peppers) at his greenhouse in Embu.
In 2016, he attended one of the financial literacy sessions on campus organised by Postbank, a Scale2Save partner and government-owned postal savings bank primarily engaged in the mobilisation of savings for national development.
“The PostBank-led sessions equipped me with life skills," he said, “and inculcated a saving culture within me. Many will say that savings without a source of revenue is impossible, however, I think that savings from miscellaneous expenses is possible to do and wonderful to achieve. Through the programme, I learned how to save, budget, set financial goals and how to invest."
The lessons learned paid off for David. In 2016, he opened a savings account and signed a three-year saving contract, where he committed to save KSh150 (US$ .50) a day. He saved 150 shillings every day consistently for three years and on maturity of the funds in 2019 he amassed in hand to invest KSh180,000, roughly equal to US$1,800.
“Immediately, I invested in horticultural farming where I began back in my rural home in Embu by constructing a greenhouse worth KSh200,000. A short while later, I started farming capsicum, a common type of pepper," he added.
Rutere views the venture as a way to realise food security in the country, thereby contributing to the UN sustainable development goals, namely SDG1 on eradicating poverty as well as SDG2 on ending hunger, achieving food security and promoting sustainable agriculture. Similarly, his efforts also contribute to the “big four" agenda of the Kenyan government on improving livelihoods by ensuring food security in the country.
He shared: “I am now a proud, self-employed student because of my simple savings. I have a monthly income of KSh40,000 ($USD400) that enables me to fully pay for my school fees at the university and cater to my daily upkeep."
Why Kenyan youth matter
According to the 2019 Kenya national census, three-fourths of its 47.6 million population are children and youth, with youth aged 18 to 34 years of age making up 29% of Kenya's populace. The youth age bracket offers a huge potential to be a force to build a positive economic future for the country, both collectively and as individual agents of progress and change. With youth unemployment in Kenya standing at a staggering 22 per cent according to 2018 ILO estimates, there is need to constantly equip youth with entrepreneurship and life skills to help them navigate through this challenge.
Postbank Kenya, financial literacy, and youth
Postbank Kenya has been on the forefront in running financial literacy programmes for both in-school and out-of-school youth. Students in universities and colleges become empowered through sessions on financial literacy, entrepreneurship skills and enhancing soft skills in the workplace. For those out of school, the programme equips youth with entrepreneurial skills to start and run small businesses in line with their interests and passions. Since the onset of these initiatives, youths have been able to set financial goals and work towards them. There has also been an attitude change in youth entering the job market and informal sector. Most of the youths involved in the PostkBank effort have been able to set up small businesses ranging from agri-business and online stores to boda boda operations, which provide bicycle and motorcycle taxis commonly found in East Africa. Similarly, the savings habits of the youth that have been involved in the programme have proven encouraging.
Postbank Kenya continues to visit sectors where youth are employed to impart financial literacy. A case in point is Kitui County, east of capital Nairobi, where youth like David Rutere have now started saving for their financial goals after such training.
Postbank Sales Coordinator Cyrus Mutisya talks to youth in the Kikotec textile factory in Kitui County.
Paying it forward
David advises youth on the need to gain entrepreneurship skills: “There was a time when all you needed to succeed was the ability to read and write English, and thereafter, a university degree, followed by a masters and Ph.D. That has now changed, however, as we are now in the era of skills and what matters is the skill set especially needed in the digital era."
On savings, David views saving at personal level as an obligation, not a privilege, of every responsible citizen with a clearly articulated vision and desire to invest.
“Set realistic goals and maximize the opportunities presented. Soon enough, you'll have a successful story to tell. Let's realign our priorities and discipline ourselves to savings that will help us realise our dreams."
David Rutere tends to his capsicum greenhouse in Embu County.
Scale2Save, partners celebrate International Youth DayInternational Youth Day on 12 August presents an opportunity for Scale2Save partners like PostBank in Kenya to showcase their stories. That includes how partners serve and empower youth and young people through their projects. Project partner share stories from real people who benefit from their efforts to raise awareness around the need to mobilise savings among – and strengthen the resilience of – low-income populations, which includes financially excluded youth and young people.
The campaign matters because interest exists within governments, NGOs and international bodies to learn more about how financial institutions address the needs of youth, young people and young adults. For example, financial inclusion features in eight of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals. This year's International Youth Day theme, “Youth Engagement for Global Action", seeks to highlight ways in which engagement of young people at local, national and global levels enriches national and multilateral institutions and processes, the UN says. It also draws lessons on how their representation and engagement in formal institutional politics can be boosted.
WSBI, Scale2Save and youth research
WSBI's Scale2Save programme conducts research on youth and young people in Africa. To learn more visit the Scale2Save website.
>> Learn more about Scale2Save | >> See UN International Youth Day 2020 site | >> See Scale2Save Youth research