Access to education can make a huge difference in someone’s life. For a child, it provides the knowledge and skills needed succeed. For an adult, it can open doors to opportunities that were otherwise shut. However, many people living in poverty have limited access to formal and informal education.
Around the world, one-third of youth are not employed, not in school, and not in formal training for work. Typically this is because education is too hard to access or too expensive. FINCA is working to change this by investing in social enterprises that deliver education to children – and adults – who would be otherwise left behind.
Eneza Education is laser-focused on improving educational outcomes. Eneza provides a digital platform through which students can access a government-accredited curriculum and a Wikipedia search engine and can chat with teachers and peers. Support from FINCA is helping Eneza take their model to countries around sub-Saharan Africa.
Students can access Eneza’s platform with the basic cell phones that were ubiquitous in developed countries in the early 2000s and that now are commonplace in even the world’s poorest countries. And at a cost of just 10 cents per week, an Eneza subscription is affordable.
Eneza’s ed-tech is changing the game for young and older learners alike. Students who can’t afford to buy books, adults who previously dropped out of school, parents who want to help their children succeed in school and in life.
The primary mission of FINCA’s BrightLife program is to increase access to safe, affordable and clean energy. Energy and education may seem unrelated, but that is far from the case. In Uganda only 24 percent of households have access to electricity. As a result, most students must study before dark or under the dim light of expensive kerosene lamps. By making electric lighting affordable, BrightLife can have a direct impact on education outcomes.
BrightLife also runs several lamp “libraries.” Students and community members can “check out” solar lights the same way books are checked out in a traditional library. They take the lights home with them, have a chance to do their homework after nightfall, and bring them back the following day to recharge.
FINCA has ingrained access to education in everything that we do. In our microfinance programs, education takes the form of improving financial literacy. The trainings we deliver empower our clients to take control of their finances and build a foundation for a better life.
In Kosovo, FINCA offers a product called the Loan for Women Entrepreneurs in Business and Agribusiness. This product has financial literacy and business training component baked into the requirements of the loan. The goal is to bring more women into the financial fold through the expansion of access to finance and financial knowledge.
Stories of Resilience
There is a direct correlation between poverty and a lack of education. According to UNESCO, the global poverty rate could be more than halved if all adults completed secondary school. The following stories showcase how FINCA is working to expand access to education around the world.