Youth Champions for Digital Finance launches in rural India

Less than 10 percent of India’s 650,000 rural villages have a bank branch, and millions of the rural poor have yet to access formal financial services. To help bridge this gap, Youth Champions for Digital Finance will train people in poor, rural areas in digital financial literacy, increasing their knowledge, confidence and ability to successfully use financial services.

Grameen Foundation for Social Impact, a social business and subsidiary of Grameen Foundation India, has launched the digital education program, which aims to quickly reach 30,000 people, who will be trained by up to 300 youth volunteers.

Although a wave of disruptive technology changes in India is rapidly expanding bank account ownership, usage remains limited, and the changes threaten to leave many of the country’s most vulnerable people behind. This challenge is particularly acute in remote, rural communities where people are less likely to have the tools and information needed to use digital financial services.

Youth Champions for Digital Finance builds on the opportunity represented by India’s youth, who account for nearly 65 percent of the population and are a potent force for change because of their education, access to and greater engagement with new technology.

The program will be implemented in the Bhandara district of Maharashtra, a district with high rates of poverty and low socio-economic indicators. Volunteers will be recruited from local areas, with a particular focus on recruiting young women, and will be trained on financial education using G-LEAP, an e-learning app developed by Grameen Foundation.

Each youth champion will train groups of 20-25 people selected with the help of local partner organizations. Face-to-face training sessions will be complemented by Grameen Foundation’s Augmented Reality (AR) tool to enhance interactive learning.

The program is funded by Experian, and is part of Grameen Foundation’s work to deepen financial inclusion in India through digital technology. Effective use of financial services can help people overcome poverty and hunger by aiding investment in education, health, and livelihoods; smoothing consumption of food across the year; and enabling people to manage health emergencies. Digital financial services reduce dependence on distant bank branches and ATMS; save time and transportation costs; and improve personal safety. They are especially important for women, who may also gain more privacy and autonomy over their financial lives.

By training youth champions within communities, Grameen Foundation aims to build a sustainable resource of community knowledge that can benefit even more people.

About Grameen Foundation

Grameen Foundation is a global nonprofit whose mission is to enable the poor, especially women, to end poverty and hunger. It uses digital technology and local partner networks to create breakthrough solutions—spanning financial, agricultural and health services—that bring people the tools and opportunities they need to help themselves. Follow us on Twitter at @GrameenFdn

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