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CARE, Plan and Barclays: Banking on Change

Barclays, CARE International and Plan International have joined together in an initiative to improve the quality of life for poor people by extending and developing access to basic financial services.

Today, more than 2.5 billion people in the developing world are considered “financially excluded”. This means they do not have access to basic financial services, such as savings, bank accounts, or credit.

Access to even the most basic financial services can help households increase and manage their incomes, helping to lift people out of poverty and providing them with access to the financial infrastructure they both want and deserve.

Banking on Change brings together the independent expertise of Barclays, CARE and Plan to improve the quality of life for poor people by extending and developing access to basic financial services.

Having successfully extended basic financial access to over 513,000 people in its first three years, the partnership now aims to sustainably expand access for young people, as they are particularly vulnerable to financial barriers. The programme will run in seven countries: Egypt, Ghana, India, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.

To bring this solution to scale, many organisations will need to work together. That's why Banking on Change has created the Linking for Change Savings Charter which sets out international principles for effectively and responsibly linking informal groups of savers to formal banking products and services.

The Charter builds on the experiences of, and lessons learned through Banking on Change over the past five years. We're calling on other banks, companies, NGOs and governments to sign the charter, and join an alliance of organisations who will support the principles or commit to developing products and services for the poorest communities in the developing world that help enable a savings culture.

To find out more about the Charter, visit

When President Bill Clinton visited Banking on Change in Tanzania he said

I have been involved in programmes like this for over 30 years, long before I became President and I am very impressed by this one. What you are doing takes far longer to build a fund than if you are given money from outside the group, but this is much better, because it is your fund, that you own because you generate the increase in savings. 

To find out more about Banking On Change please read our Breaking the Barriers to Financial Inclusion report.

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The next phase

Between 2013 and 2015, Banking on Change aims to focus on the additional barriers faced by young people. At a time when financial exclusion and youth unemployment are two major issues for the developing world, this generation deserves the opportunity to develop the skills they need to manage their own resources, with products and services that meet their needs. We are working to develop a youth savings group model as a foundation for increased financial inclusion and as a contributor to youth economic empowerment. We will be using our own experience from the programme, as well as consulting with the wider sector over the next year to build a rigorous model that will serve as a policy and practitioner framework, reflecting knowledge and expertise from across the sector. To view the consultation paper please click here.

Big Tick 2013 - Business in the CommunityBig Tick 2013 - Business in the CommunityDemonstrating new models of partnership

Banking on Change demonstrates the new model of partnership between the public, private and non-profit sectors that is needed to meet the huge development challenges facing the world. It aims to deliver both powerful social benefits, as well as business benefits by linking with formal banking services and engaging the skills of Barclays staff.

As a result it has been awarded a Big Tick by Business in the Community and has been recognised by the Business Call to Action network. It has also won 'Best Overseas Project' at the Business Charity Awards 2012 and 'Most Effective Long-term Philanthropic Scheme' at the Corporate Engagement Awards 2012, and highly commended at the 2014 Ethical Corporation Responsible Business Awards for best business/NGO partnership.

Ethical Corporation AwardEthical Corporation Award 

For more information


It has empowered us to do business - Sarah Mutanda, 23, Ugandan farmer

Sarah Mutanda, a 23 year old farmer from Uganda

Photo: © Jon Spaull / CARE

“It has empowered us, especially the ladies, to do business. I am able to earn a living. I can provide for my family, and my husband no longer has to provide everything.”

Life was difficult for Sarah before she joined her local savings group. She had no regular income. All that has changed. Sarah used her loan to buy her first cow, now one of many. She makes a living selling milk and manure.

Sarah also received training in financial literacy. Her group is now linked to a bank, meaning their savings can be kept in a secure place without fear of the money being stolen, lost or damaged.

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