Final Evaluation of the YouthStart Program

Report on five years of outreach to youth with financial and non-financial services

YouthStart is a program implemented by UNCDF, aimed at fostering financial inclusion among young people (aged 12-24) in eight Sub- Saharan countries, namely Burkina Faso, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Malawi, Rwanda, Senegal, Togo, Uganda. The program ran from 2010 to 2015.

The final evaluation of the program was conducted by Microfinanza srl, partnering with Microfinanza Rating, engaging a team of seven experts from January to July 2015. The Consultant analyzed project documents, the interim evaluation report and other specific studies, and visited six out of eight countries (all but Senegal and Togo) and eight out of 10 financial service providers (FSPs), evaluating activities and results over the course of the program.

The program has been largely successful in its outreach, with 515,000 active clients as of 31 December 2014, which is more than double the overall target of 200,000. On top of increasing the outreach to young clients, the program proved that such a strategy can be sustainable for FSPs in the medium term. Youth products in two out of ten FSPs were financially sustainable at the end of their three-year pilot intervention, while for nine out of ten the investment in youth products has become a permanent strategy for the FSP, and will be financed with internal resources at the end of the project. FSPs therefore perceive, after the intervention, that targeting young people is a valuable investment.

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