Inspired by their mothers’ community savings group, 25 young people aged 9–12 years old formed their own children’s savings group in the Philippines, with technical support from Plan International staff and funding from J.P. Morgan Chase.
Their savings goals are to invest in their education and help their families. Each week they save by purchasing 1–5 shares valued at 1 peso each, which are carefully recorded in their savings passbooks. They get money to save from their allowances, from their parents, by making treats to sell, or by fetching water for neighbors.
Since they are children, they do not issue loans, but they have found a clever way to invest their savings and make them grow. The children’s savings group has a representative who is also a member of the adult savings group, and he or she purchases five shares each week on behalf of the children’s savings group. The adult savings group uses the accumulated savings to issue loans and charges service fees on these loans. By investing their savings in the adult savings group, the children can share the substantial return on savings during the “share out” in nine months (about 20 percent return on savings).
Plan International Philippines intends to start more children’s savings groups in other communities that will time their share outs for just before the start of school, when school fees are due and school supplies need to be purchased.