Empowering children in the streets to escape poverty

Ecobank is partnering with a leading international children rights NGO to offer digital financial services to some vulnerable children in Togo.

The Safe Savings (SaVa) Project provides children in the streets with a new, secure means to collect and bank their hard-earned income. Ecobank and Terre des Hommes launched the one-year pilot project during an event at Ecobank’s headquarters in Lomé in early February.

One of the greatest fears of children living and working on the streets is being robbed. Currently, these children use a variety of unsafe and unreliable informal savings techniques – such as leaving their earnings with trusted adults, burying their money, or trying to spend it as quickly as possible. Through the SaVa Project Ecobank is adapting its digital offerings, setting up a very simple but effective micro-savings system.

The children simply deposit their daily savings in the Terre des Hommes microbank using the mobile phones provided and their Ecobank Xpress account. The NGO acts as the custodian of the children as minors are not yet eligible to open accounts.

“Street children are often subject to abuse, neglect, exploitation, and need our protection. By offering them a reliable and secure saving mechanism we hope we can help them protect their livelihoods and build a better future,” says Ecobank’s Group CEO Ade Ayeyemi.

The SaVa Project hopes to reach a minimum of 150 children over the next 12 months.