Breaking the barriers to financial inclusion with Barclays

A meeting of the Kawete savings group in Uganda

CARE and Barclays have been working together since 2008 to break barriers to financial inclusion and improve the quality of life in the poorest communities, by giving people the skills to earn, save and manage their money effectively.

Banking on Change – giving communities the skills to save

Today, more than 2 billion people are unbanked. This financial exclusion severely limits their ability to save, invest and plan for the future. Having access to basic financial services can transform the lives of vulnerable individuals, especially women and young people, and give them the opportunities to fulfil their potential. It means they can manage their savings – helping them to plan for the future – and increase their incomes, enabling them to lift themselves out of poverty.

Between 2009-2015, Barclays, CARE and Plan UK worked together through the Banking on Change partnership. This collaboration supported over 750,000 people, who typically live on less than $2 a day, to form 35,000 Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLAs) across 11 countries. We co-created numerous financial products for this market, and through Banking on Change over 5,000 savings groups have opened savings accounts, including at branches of Barclays.  

This led Barclays Uganda to make VSLAs part of their target customer market, and we have continued to work together through Project Link to co-create and pilot two mobile apps for savings groups and an overdraft product to give groups access to credit.   

Through Banking on Change we developed the Linking for Change Savings Charter to share our principles to responsibly bank savings groups. The Charter was launched at the World Economic Forum, Davos 2014 and has been signed by companies including Visa, Mastercard Foundation and Airtel.

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Banking on Change Partnership

Breaking down the barriers facing young people

Youth unemployment is a major issue for developing countries – but financial literacy, and access to financial services, is a key factor in enabling young people to improve their economic opportunities or to succeed as entrepreneurs. Through Banking on Change we worked with Barclays and Plan to develop a youth savings group model as a foundation for increased financial inclusion and as a contributor to youth economic empowerment.

Through the Barclays Youth Employability Initiative, we are supporting 5,000 young people in Kenya to develop their employability skills and help them to find meaningful work.

Growing local economies

Through our partnership with Barclays we have been supporting people, especially women, to develop their entrepreneurial skills to increase their income. Through Banking on Change we delivered demand-driven enterprise skills training to over 200,000 people, leading to over 116,000 small businesses being set up.  

In Zambia CARE and Barclays, in collaboration with GSK, have been working together to develop a health focused social enterprise, Live Well, which has trained and supported over 400 entrepreneurs to raise healthcare awareness and sell consumer health products in poor communities. Live Well addresses a real need at household level as well as offering livelihood opportunities.

A model for private sector partnerships

Banking on Change was been awarded the Best Community Banking Initiative at the 2015 bba Financial Innovations Awards, a Big Tick by Business in the Community and was highly commended at the 2014 Ethical Corporation Responsible Business Awards for best business/NGO partnership.