Plan International has been supporting a youth-focused (ages 15-25) VSLA program in 3 West African countries: Niger, Senegal and Sierra Leone since 2010. It is a financial services "plus" program, which in addition to providing opportunities for saving and borrowing through the VSLAs, the youth also receive training on financial education and life skills, with gender equality as a mainstreamed thematic focus.
As part of an effort to promote knowledge management and sharing, Plan is hosting a regional conference titled: Investing in African Youth: Making Financial Services and Training Work. The 2-day conference will be held on May 21 – 22, 2012 in Dakar, Senegal. It will be a forum for analyzing some of our program's early results, listening to other practitioners who are engaged in youth and microfinance initiatives, looking at some of the unique challenges of working with this demographic, and also inviting youth representatives to tell their own stories (there are a limited number of scholarships to subsidize youth participation at the conference).
I would encourage anyone who is interested in this topic to attend. We are also seeking workshop presenters. The attached e-brochures (in English and French) have all the details. The conference website will be launched in early March and I will send another quick update to this group once it’s up. In the meantime, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. You can either respond to this thread if you have any questions, or directly email: cconference@plan- international. org