Pilot Evaluation Report: Sava - Safe Saving

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Abstract

The SaVa pilot partners Ecobank, Terre des Hommes (TdH), the African Movement of Working Children and Youth (AMWCY), and the University of Bath (UoB). Its primary aim has been to offer street-connected working and migrant children access to formal digital financial services, with the goal of helping them to save money and thus avoid the violence associated with theft at night. The pilot took place in Lomé, Togo, over a 12-month period. The key question: would it work?

Assessment shows it to have been enormously successful, outstripping all of its key targets. Over 200 accounts have been opened, more than 600,000 FCFA has been deposited, and the associated reduction in violence and theft have been remarkable. Further, SaVa has operated as a gateway for additional services, with almost 1,000 children engaged by at least one intervention or activity, 54 oriented to social or health services according to their needs, and 111 removed from the streets. Perhaps most inspiring, it has given hope to some of the most disenfranchised of children.

The challenges have been considerable. Technical issues relating to the digital banking platform, internet connection and SIM cards have all been important. Operational challenges around staffing, opening times, and post-reinsertion all remain. Likewise, there are issues to resolve around partnership management, bureaucratic procedures, and, most of all, what will happen now that TdH Togo is closing its doors and a new institutional arrangement needs to be worked out.

There are many recommendations for going forward. First and foremost, stakeholders must find a way to fill the void left by TdH’s departure. Former staff are incorporating as ‘Child First’ and TdH should do everything to support its successor, including through partnership and resource-mobilisation. Staffing arrangements should be simplified; a steady flow of paid interns is a must. Partner management and public communications should be strengthened significantly, while the resources of the state and wider Togolese child protection network have to be called upon.

Ultimately, the SaVa pilot is a proof of concept and what exists in terms of lessons learned can be refined for sharing far and wide. There are an estimated 100 million street-connected children in the world and almost none of them are connected to the rapidly expanding universe of digital banking. SaVa has pioneered a way to do this and in the process to support their protection. It is vital that its model be codified and spread to willing partners.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherTerre des Hommes Foundation
Number of pages19
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2020

Keywords

  • street children
  • microbanking
  • mobile banking
  • child participation
  • financial inclusion
  • action research

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