Girl’s Education Can Bring Financial Prosperity to Developing CountriesEnsuring fair and equal education for children globally has been a growing issue for a long time. Girls particularly can have an extremely difficult time trying to go to school and finish their education. This can be due to the social stigma. A significant obstacle to girl’s education is that their time is needed to work and help feed their families. Poverty in developing countries is also an obstacle to girl’s education. It has recently come to the attention of several different developing countries that keeping girls in school could potentially strengthen their economies and gross domestic product.

Importance of Girl’s Education

It is starting to become clear that poverty is not just hunger or financial strife, but rather directly correlates with poor education. A society cannot expect to move forward and progress if their government does not provide adequate and sufficient education for girls to obtain a successful life. Instead of having the option for education, many girls must stay home. In many cases, this can lead to sexual abuse and unplanned early pregnancies.

Interestingly, strong evidence suggests that there is a strong bias in children from wealthier families having access to better education opportunities than from poorer families. Nearly 33% of girls who are age 10 to 18 have never even stepped foot inside of a classroom. In a recent report by, the United Kingdom’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson heavily emphasized that people are ultimately unaware of the serious harm of girls not having access to education. Prime Minister Johnson has repeatedly reinforced the idea of planned out education for girls that would span 12 years.

COVID-19 Pandemic’s Effect on Girl’s Education

The spread of COVID-19 has been a catastrophe for international school systems all over the world. Within April 2020, a confirmed 194 different nations enforced mandatory school closures. While having the intention of preventing the spread of the disease, it unintentionally derailed over one billion children in their educational journeys. Families have to completely change their daily routines to practice safe distancing and provide a school for their kids. The time lost in the physical classroom is starting to become a noticeable issue. Girl’s education and its setbacks have undoubtedly had a much worse outcome for the young female population. Some are predicting that tens of millions of girls will not get a chance to return to school.

An Initiative to Help Girl’s Education and Developing Countries

A coalition of eight up and coming developing nations have come together in a new initiative. The goal is to ensure the incorporation of poverty-stricken girls completing their primary education. This initiative comes with an underlying advantage that foresees a significant increase in financial output for multiple different developing countries. It is estimated that each dollar used for a girl’s education could generate nearly $3.00 in order to add billions to a country’s total financial income. This approach would be a team effort to help the struggle of developing countries. It can also help warrant the completion of a girl’s primary education. This initiative would suggest that girl’s completion of education could be the real secret to sustainability for countries and the U.N.’s education plan.

Education is one of the most important foundations for any country to succeed. However, many countries overlook girl’s education compared to males. Keeping girls in school can provide financial gain for a country and is a potential outlet for positive change. Therefore, it is essential to ensure the success of all women globally will be carried on for generations to come.

Brandon Baham

Photo: Flickr

World Council of Credit Unions
The World Council of Credit Unions has a simple mission: to improve lives through credit unions.

Credit unions give people in developing communities the opportunity to expand their horizons through microfinance, smart money practices and local businesses. The World Council of Credit Unions works to increase the number of credit unions around the world to give everyone their best chance at a healthy, prosperous life.

A credit union is defined as a member-owned and not-for-profit financial institution. This institution provides financial services, such as savings and credit accounts, to their members, although their formal name changes based on their location and people they serve. Credit unions serve their members based on a common linkage, like religion or occupation. Increasing the population of credit unions worldwide can help end poverty epidemics while improving the economic situations of countries.

The World Council of Credit Unions is a nonprofit organization that has been spreading the importance of credit unions worldwide since 2006. The international credit union system has more than doubled since its inauguration and continues to serve more than 200 million members to this day. The organization has credit unions in 105 countries as of 2014, including nations in Latin America, Asia and Africa.

Financial inclusion programs assist credit unions and their members in areas affected by serious conflict, helping them during and after the conflict has struck a country. These programs focus on bringing innovative technology solutions and providing resources to those in need. In total, the World Council of Credit Unions has 275 long-term and short-term programs that assist credit unions in more than 70 countries.

In 2014, the organization put forth its efforts to the project Vision 2020. Vision 2020 is a global membership growth project initiated by the World Council of Credit Unions to expand credit union services to at least 50 million new people by the year 2020. It is expected to solve the issue of having more than two billion people remain without banking services, with the majority comprising of women, young adults and those in extreme poverty.

The organization hopes to eventually raise the number of credit union members from 208 million to 260 million worldwide.

Julia Hettiger

Sources: WOCCU 1, CUInsight , WOCCU 2
Photo: Google Images

Financial Inclusion Improves Globally

What is financial inclusion? Financial inclusion is when all members of society have access to financial services at affordable prices.

What does financial inclusion have to do with poverty? Some people may not be able to afford certain financial services. In addition, financial inclusion can help decrease global poverty. For example, when people have access to financial services, they can start and expand businesses, invest in higher education for their children and withstand financial hardships more easily. When other marginalized groups like women and disabled people have access to financial services, this can improve the economy of a country as the whole.

In 2011, 51% of adults,, or roughly 2.5 billion people, did not have a bank account. Now, 62% of the world’s adult population, or 2 billion, have an account.

China, India, Indonesia, Mexico and Tanzania have seen significant increases in account ownership. Account ownership in China increased from 64% to 79%, from 20% to 36% in Indonesia, from 35% to 53% in India, from 27% to 39% in Mexico, and from 17% to 40% in Tanzania.

Mobile money accounts have also helped increase financial inclusion. In Cote d’Ivoire, Somalia, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe, adults are more likely to have a mobile money account than an account at a financial institution. Mobile money accounts are the sole reason for the dramatic increase of account ownership in Tanzania.

In terms of the poor, account ownership increased disproportionately among adults in the poorest 40% of households. In 2011, only 29% of the poorest individuals had an account. Now, 46% of these individuals own an account. This is great news!

Overall, women are more likely to own an account than ever before. In 2011, 47% of women owned an account. Now, 58% of women own an account. Again, this is significant progress.

Account holders are using their accounts. About half of account owners in developing countries use their account to make or receive a payment. About a quarter of account owners in developing countries use their debit card to make direct payments. About 39% of account holders in developing countries use their accounts to save. This is secure and helps the economy grow.

Can we still make progress? The short answer is, of course we can. About half of the poorest individuals still do not have an account. Additionally, there is about a 7% gender gap in account ownership. The good news is that there are many ways that we can decrease this number.

Governments and businesses could drastically decrease the number of unbanked adults by digitizing wages and transfers. Additionally, many farmers are unbanked. About 23% of people in developing countries receive cash for agricultural sales. Countries could focus on banking these farmers. Additionally, mobile money accounts could be a way to expand account ownership significantly, especially among women and the poorest individuals.

Overall, financial inclusion is improving in developing countries. More adults than ever own an account. This will help improve both financial equality and financial prosperity.

– Ella Cady

Sources: Center for Financial Inclusion, Impatient Optimists, World Bank
Photo: Live Mint

Denmark is the birthplace of the classic fairytale, the Little Mermaid, but is also the home of an economic model that has given Denmark an edge over the vast majority of other Western economies, including the United States. According to Haekkerup, Denmark’s minister of trade and European affairs “…the American dream comes alive in Denmark.”

What’s Denmark’s secret, super-effective method of governing? According to Bloomberg Businessweek, the nation serves a potent recipe of high taxes, plentiful social aid and a well-organized public sector. For instance, the cost of health care is paid for by the Danish government rather than its citizenry. Additionally, employers are encouraged to provide training to strengthen the employee’s skillset.

For example, the Danish government focuses its spending on more socially-oriented services rather than, for example, disproportionately on the military. According to Haekkerup, the entirety of Denmark’s defense budget is the same amount that the Pentagon spends on air conditioning – an astonishing and baffling revelation regarding the pragmatics of national spending.

Due to Denmark’s combination of high taxes and high social aid, financial growth is projected to increase throughout 2014 along with a decline in the employment rate. This economic model contributes to an overall high standard of living in Denmark along with social safety nets for the less-fortunate citizenry.

Furthermore, according to NPR, the general price of goods in Denmark is staggeringly more expensive than the price of goods in the United States. However, the Danes also have more money and higher taxes. For example, according to contributor Carl Hughes, a bag of candy at a Danish grocery store may cost a pricy $5, however, a large bag of locally-grown vegetables may cost a more reasonable $2, thereby encouraging shoppers to purchase the healthy, environmentally-kind bag of vegetables.

In America, this trend appears to be reversed. Unhealthy foods, such as chips and candy cost far less than fresh fruits and vegetables. Through this combination of income and taxation, Denmark utilizes the tax system in order to socially breed a more socially-conscious population.

Phoebe Pradhan

 Sources: Bloomberg Businessweek, NPR, OECD
Photo: A Thoughtful Eye