CYFI and NAFI publish joint report on Consumer protection and security of savings and payments for minors

Child & Youth Finance International (CYFI) and the NAFI Research Center have published the report on consumer protection and security of savings and payments for children and youth.

The world of financial services is changing. With the rapid development of the financial system, children and youth are becoming more involved in financial decision making at a very early age. The current legislation of many countries allows them to use various financial instruments for payments, transfers and savings. A trend towards creating special youth financial products and services can also be found in developing countries, as they aim to increase access to financial services and boost financial inclusion rates among its populations.

This early exposure to financial products helps children learn about money matters and managing their personal finances, but it also brings risks, as the increased role of digital finance entails new risks related to the quality of products and services offered to young clients, who are particularly vulnerable group when it comes to safety and security issues. Young people currently face more complex financial environments, instruments and products than previous generations, underlining the importance of building financial capabilities and ensuring the necessary consumer protection alongside the proliferation of new financial products and services.

The joint CYFI & NAFI report "Children and Finance: Consumer Protection and Security of Savings and Payments" addresses the important issue of how to protect young people in financial markets. This becomes increasingly difficult as technology advances. The report analyses the potential risks and mitigation strategies of various products for different age groups, based on their characteristics and current industry practices. It defines potential international guidelines and recommendations on appropriate financial consumer protection and outlines the crucial role financial literacy plays in protecting and empowering young people in a world of fast‑pace financial innovation and widespread digitalisation.

Protecting young people online, and teaching them necessary skills to appropriately and safely use the variety of financial services available to them is one of the big challenges of the next few years. This report represents an important and informative initiative to different stakeholders working on the regulation of financial services and data protection, as well as highlights various industry practices that are of particular relevance to the financial services providers across the globe.

This is the second publication in the series of "Children and Finance", initiated by NAFI in 2015. The research summary of the first report on financial awareness of Russian youth can be found here.

Speaking with regard to consumer protection for children and youth, Sue Lewis, Chair of UK Financial Services Consumer Panel said:

The world of financial services is changing rapidly. Children as young as six have access to apps that let them manage their pocket money online, and they can use a pre-paid card for spending. Nearly one in five 8-14 year olds in the UK has a credit card on their parents' account. Many also have bank accounts. Early exposure to financial products helps children learn about money matters, but it also brings risks, as young people are often under pressure to spend, and spending is easy with 'contactless' payments and cards. It doesn't seem like real money, until the bills come in.

The NAFI & CYFI report tackles the important issue of how to protect children and young people. This will become more difficult as technology advances. 'Big data' offers possibilities for firms to target children and young people. Three-quarters of 12-15 year olds have a social media profile. They may not realise their data can be 'scraped', and used to promote products or sold on. Protecting young people online – and teaching them how to help protect themselves – is one of the big challenges of the next few years. This will require co-operation between financial services and data protection regulators, and for them to take account of the particular needs of children and young people.

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Third Meeting of CYFI Regional Working Group for South-Eastern Europe held in Kosovo

The third meeting of the CYFI Regional Working Group for Youth Financial Education and Financial Inclusion for South-Eastern Europe took place on 5-6 October in Pristina, Kosovo. The 2017 meeting was hosted by the Central Bank of the Republic of Kosovo, in cooperation with Kosovo Bankers Association and the Development Facility of the European Fund for South-Eastern Europe.

The meeting brought together more than 25 international participants-members of the Working Group from across the region, including representatives of the central banks, other financial regulators, ministries and educational authorities, as well as more than 40 local stakeholders interested in advancing financial education and financial inclusion agenda in Kosovo.

Participants discussed trends and developments in advancing financial education and financial inclusion national agendas and policy, specific programmes and initiatives targeting children and youth in the countries of the region, plans for the future, and exchanged the experience and best practices in targeting the youth segment. 

The CYFI Secretariat as also presented the publications, work and regional research from the field, including the joint CYFI & EFSE DF publication on "Insights into Financial Behavior and Knowledge of Children and Youth in Selected Countries of South-Eastern Europe". The study was conducted in the second quarter of 2016 and included in-depth focus groups and interviews with children and youth between 10 and 24 years old, as well as wide quantitative study of more than 2,000 children and youth people across 7 countries of the region. The full report of the research is available here

Mastercard representatives participated as guest speakers to the Working Group meeting, and presented the recently launched by CYFI & Mastercard Guidelines on Safer Payment Products for Minors, as well as opened the discussion on the role of both private and public sectors in promoting youth financial literacy by facilitating the access to digital financial products in a safe and responsible way.

The meeting also saw the Launch and Inauguration of the National Financial Literacy and Training Center of the Central Bank of Kosovo, the new facility that was recently renovated and re-opened in the ancient city of Prizren, with the support of EFSE. The Working Group members also had a chance to visit and have a tour around the Center's facilities on October 6th.

The Central Bank of Kosovo (CBK) has also awarded a special recognition to Child & Youth Finance International for outstanding contribution in the advancement of financial education agenda in Kosovo. CBK's contribution to bringing the national stakeholders together and promoting financial education for children and youth was recognized by Ms. Shkendije Himaj, Coordinator for General Function in CBK, as well as an important role that the Working Group plays in promoting the best practices in the field across the countries of the region, and how they can learn from each other's experiences.


About the Working Group

The Regional Working Group for Youth Financial Education and Financial Inclusion serves as the place for sharing best practices, exchanging experiences, identifying technical assistance opportunities to support action plans development and implementation by CYFI Secretariat and its network. As of June 2017 more than 24 governmental institutions from 10 countries of the region (central banks, financial regulators, ministries of finance and education) are members of the Working Group. 

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The Rise of Mobile Money: Enabling Children and Youth’s Access to Financial Services

This blog post was written by Opelo Matsume, Network Advisory Services Intern.

As a follow-up to the previous post on the challenges and opportunities of FinTech, CYFI has recently taken stock of the latest trends and figures of the mobile money industry, highlighting the progress in the developing world and offering a set of recommended practices to help children and young people access mobile financial services easier and safer.

Mobile money and young people

We live in a digital age, where we constantly seek and consume information with just the click of a button or the tap of a screen. This digital revolution means that the production and use of cellular phones and other mobile devices is steadily sweeping its way across the globe. Herein lies a unique opportunity for people, especially young people, to use technologies such as smartphones to find and create solutions to challenges around access and use of appropriate financial products and services.

Mobile technology is particularly important when considering financial inclusion of children and young people. Two-thirds of the world's population has a mobile subscription; this fraction is projected to increase to three-quarters by 2020, with regional penetration rates ranging from 50% in Sub-Saharan Africa to 87% in Europe. Perhaps even more interesting is the fact that mobile phone penetration rates in developing countries are higher among youth (15-24yo) compared to rates among those who are 25 or older. This is why it is particularly important to engage this demographic and tailor FinTech and mobile banking solutions towards their specific needs.

The rise of global investment in FinTech suggests that the industry is expected to grow, thus has the potential to make a significant social impact. Furthermore, as smartphone usage and smartphone penetration increases, so does the opportunity to offer more complex FinTech solutions to the socio-economic challenges such as financial inclusion. This means that the market for mobile money and mobile banking technologies in the developing world is expanding, presenting a unique opportunity for financial service providers (FSPs) to develop youth friendly savings products and other financial services using mobile applications.

The future of mobile money

So, what about smartphones? Having a cellphone allows you to access basic mobile banking and mobile payment tools, tools that have previously been very successful in increasing access and use of banking products and services. However, smartphones open up a plethora of new opportunities, mainly the use of applications with multiple features and functions.

According to the Groupe Spéciale Mobile Association (GSMA), leaders in research in the mobile telecommunications industry, smartphones account for over half the world's mobile connections. In 2016, smartphone penetration was 65% in MEDC countries. By 2020, the developing world is expected to add 1.6 billion smartphone connections to the mobile eco-system, and smartphone adoption is expected to increase to 62%, with China, India and Indonesia leading the pack. In the next two years, Smartphone adoption in Latin America and MENA is expected to reach 70% and 62%, respectively. We see a similar upward trend in Sub-Saharan Africa, especially amongst young people. Currently, 41% of 18-34 year olds in Sub-Saharan Africa own a smart phone, with "Younger, Educated and English Speaking Africans" noted as most likely to own a smartphone. Furthermore, in a recent report, McKinsey Global Institute projects that smartphone penetration in Sub-Saharan Africa will reach 50% by 2020.[1] In South-East Asia, technology is already being used as a way to facilitate mobile banking activities with between 70% and 76% of millennials in Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia receiving some form of their pay via an app or functionality on their mobile phone.

Many have already been quick to catch onto this trend, with startups from Australia to London to Kenya creating smartphone applications that teach financial education and promote financial inclusion for children and youth. Other studies have shown that texted reminders increased savings in Bolivia, Peru, and the Philippines by up to 16 percent.

Making mobile services accessible

Even though a range of mobile financial services are available, practitioners and service providers canhelp young people to more easily meet the requirements for accessing financial services; ensure a client-centered needs-based design of the financial service; encourage consumer confidence in product usage through education; reduce physical safety risks for youth taking into account quality, accessibility and stability of services. Furthermore, using an already established network of mobile banking agents e.g. small kiosks, grocery stores, pharmacies and post offices can help increase young people's access to money and savings.


[1] McKinsey Global Institute. (2016) "Lions on the Move."

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OECD Financial Education Project in CIS countries – Conference and Project Workshops in Belarus

CYFI Senior Advisor Karina Avakyan participated in the first high-level conference of the new OECD/INFE project on Financial Education in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS)/Eurasia, co-hosted by the National Bank of the Republic of Belarus. 

The technical assistance project is supported by the Ministry of Finance of Russian Federation, and is aimed to provide dedicated guidance and technical support for the design, implementation and review of evidence-based financial education strategies and policies in six Eurasian economies – Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic and Tajikistan. The high-level conference saw the participation of country representatives from all 6 participating countries, Russian Federation, as well as INFE network members, experts and partners.

In a panel dedicated to youth financial education, alongside INFE members and country representatives from the Netherlands, Hong Kong, Armenia and Russia, CYFI representative shared an overview of best practices and examples of financial education being introduced in schools, as well as discussed the importance and pros and cons of various curriculum integration models. Addressing youth needs was determined as one of the priorities for the project, alongside financial literacy of migrants, data collection, and development, implementation and revision of the national financial education strategies.

The second day of the event included practical workshops aimed to support project countries and their national stakeholders on the road to achieve the project objectives, and were focused on the importance of data collection, monitoring and evaluation, and national strategies.

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It’s Time to Act: Children and Youth Can Shape The Sustainable Development Agenda

This week, the representatives of governments, civil society organisations and businesses will meet in New York for the 72nd United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) under the theme "Focusing on people: striving for peace and a decent life for all on a sustainable planet". The event presents a host of opportunities to connect, discuss and debate on social, humanitarian and cultural challenges facing the world. 

The UNGA follows the UN High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) held in July which aimed at creating a monitoring and review network for the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).


Working to achieve the SGDs

CYFI firmly believes that financial inclusion and Economic Citizenship Education (ECE) for children and youth is integral to the achievement of many of the SDGs, especially in SDG 1 (Poverty Reduction) and 5 (Gender Empowerment), which were among the focus SDGs of the 2017 HLPF. 

Together, financial inclusion and financial education help children and youth to accumulate savings and develop responsible financial behaviours, qualities that are useful to reducing the impact of economic shocks. Savings can be used at the microeconomic level, to provide a solid asset base for the household, and at the macroeconomic level, rendering more stability to the overall economy. Furthermore, with the skills acquired through social and livelihoods education, children and youth learn to diversify their income and draw on social networks, thus lowering the impact of fluctuations in household income. In addition, financial access and developing financial capabilities for young women and girls increases social and economic empowerment, allowing them to take advantage of greater economic opportunities alongside their male counterparts. In turn, empowering women to have greater control over their finances advances the goal of gender equality.

CYFI is constantly promoting economic citizenship for children and youth within the Sustainable Development Agenda, recognizing that young people are a decisive factor in achieving these ambitious goals. CYFI stands alongside other organizations, such as Restless Development, Save the Children and the Commonwealth Secretariat, arguing that children and youth deserve the opportunity to be involved in helping, guiding and monitoring the realization of the SDGs goals.

How UNGA representatives can commit to youth empowerment

Since the introduction of the SDGs in 2015, progress has been made by a number of countries to end all forms of poverty, reduce inequality and tackle climate change by 2030. There are many initiatives that have led to improvements in the various SDGs, but the commitment of governments must continue if the goals of the Sustainable Development Agenda are to be achieved by 2030. Governments have the responsibility to the next generation to provide greater quality education, entrepreneurial support and an environment conducive to Child and Youth Friendly Banking.

Moreover, CYFI calls on government authorities assembled at the UNGA to:

· Create or continue cooperation through national multi-stakeholder platforms (government, private, public and academic sector) that actively engages the voices of youth.

· Develop and implement national strategies that combine financial access, and financial, social, and livelihoods educational elements with a clear focus on the unique needs of children and youth.

· Identify legal and regulatory barriers that are preventing children and youth from accessing financial services and work on removing them.

· Invest significantly in school banking models that use the public school system to bring together Child and Youth Friendly banking products and ECE related programming, in partnership with financial service providers and qualified educators.

· Invest more in the design and delivery of ECE programs that are targeted for pre-school and primary school children, in line with research findings that emphasize the importance of developing positive financial behaviors at an early age.

· Monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of national financial inclusion and education initiatives, collecting data on key indicators on economic citizenship for children and youth.

The need to invest in specific policies and programmes targeting vulnerable children and youth is clear and CYFI remains committed to promoting Child and Youth Friendly Banking and quality ECE in all parts of the world. Government authorities, financial institutions, and civil society organizations are key players in the effort to advance the United Nations Sustainable Development Agenda and should consider the benefits of integrated financial inclusion and ECE to reach these important SDGs. The UNGA provides that opportunity to translate public commitments into tangible actions.

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Unleashing the Potential of Fintech: Scaling Up the Financial Inclusion of Children and Youth

This blog post was written by Avigail Kohn, Communications Intern, and Roberto Formicone, Thought Leadership and Consultancy Intern.

Since 2010, the rise of Financial Technology (otherwise known as Fintech) has irrevocably changed the landscape of finance. The term Fintech is used to describe the industry of companies who use technology (primarily internet and mobile phones) to make financial systems and their delivery more efficient. These companies tend to be start-ups that make it easier for people to invest, save and make payments.

Fintech has been lauded by many as the key to financial inclusion in least developed countries (LDCs), especially for youth. World Bank data from 2014 shows that 2 billion people in the world are unbanked: around half a million people less than in 2011. The reason is that online financial services have increased the accessibility and ease for people to engage with banking. ​ As such, digital financial services are seen as a crucial element in reducing poverty and banking the unbanked.

However, despite the benefits of Fintech, there are still many obstacles to achieving financial inclusion for young people. This blogpost will examine the opportunities and challenges that Fintech faces in appealing to this segment of the market, and assess its actual impact on child and youth finance.


Legal and regulatory barriers

Financial education and access are most beneficial at a young age, because it is much harder for older people to change ingrained financial habits. However, youth can face legal and regulatory barriers that impede their ability to engage with financial services. Many banks and telecoms have minimum age and ID requirements to open accounts or own mobile phones. This prevents children and youth from engaging in financial transactions and developing financially savvy behaviours.

However, some Fintechs are working to tackle these barriers. Certain companies accept school certification instead of formal ID, making it easier for children to set up accounts. Moreover, while some regulations limit Fintechs, they are only partially subject to the regulatory constraints applied to conventional banks, meaning they can be more flexible in their approach to youth.


Poor Infrastructure

Fintechs require fewer highly specialized staff and barely any physical infrastructure. This means that costs imposed by higher regulations will still account for less than the overall costs for regular banks, suggesting that Fintechs will be cheaper for youth in developing (and developed) countries. While Fintech itself may not require much infrastructure, the infrastructure of developing countries themselves poses an issue for youth. In many LDCs, it is hard to access internet or mobile financial solutions due to poor facilities such as faulty electricity, bad mobile network coverage and lack of mobile money agent penetration. Most youth find their electricity/mobile network service too unreliable to send basic texts - therefore, it is hard for them to trust mobile services with valuable goods such as money. Trust with Fintech in general is also an issue: youth feel less comfortable using Fintech because there is a lack of familiarity and security; they may prefer to transact in cash or face to face to limit financial fraud.

While some may regard mobile financial services with suspicion, for others it has created an opportunity to reduce the rate of money insecurity in their homes. In places where theft is rampant, keeping money stored as cash in houses is unsafe. Making financial services more accessible and wide-reaching through Fintech means that youth from low income areas can protect their income securely.


Limited access to mobiles

There is a steep upward trend towards using mobile phones for banking in developing nations. Research done by Pew Research Center in 2016 showed that smartphone ownership rates in emerging and developing nations have risen from 23% in 2013 to 37% in 2015. This means more youth can be exposed to the benefits of Fintech.

However, low income youth still face several limitations. Primarily, cost prevents youth from buying or using a phone. Furthermore, the apparent increase in youth mobile phone usage may be a result of many people sharing one phone (using different SIM cards). Youth may have access to a mobile device, but will have privacy and security complications when dealing with online financial services. Gender and age structures add another challenge: if a family has enough money to buy a phone, it is more likely adults will get monopoly over it. Young females especially have trouble accessing phones when they reach puberty, as conservative attitudes create the assumption that phones lead to 'inappropriate behaviour.'

As more people start seeing the benefits of mobile financial services, Fintechs can harness their influence to impact phone prices and provision, hopefully securing more attainable phone access for all.


Lack of data

Data collection is a critical aspect to many Fintech business models, whether it is retail or investment banking. Companies that are able to derive business insights from financial services data can identify and maximize new opportunities and reduce risk.

In order to create financial services that suit the needs of unbanked youth, Fintechs need a certain amount of information on this target demographic. However, the lack of data on youth mobile banking needs and usage presents a challenge to the creation of appropriate and sustainable products. In addition, the gathering of child and youth specific data becomes more difficult due to privacy issues. This is compounded by a limited digital footprint in developing countries due to poor mobile and broadband infrastructure. A solution to these problems could be the creation of apps which collect user data in developing countries. For example, existing apps such as SERV'D or UBER can be seen as successful examples of data collection tools.


Lack of youth protection

One of Fintech's major challenges is to create innovative financial solutions that improve the conditions of users throughout the world, while at the same time respecting consumer protection, especially for youth. There are many opportunities for companies to develop products that are both technologically advanced and safe for young people to use daily. One such example is nimbl, a simple, smart, and safe application that helps children aged 8 to 18 learn how to save, spend and budget their money responsibly. Thanks to the nimbl app, parents can receive alerts enabling them to track their child's spending in rela time .

Fintech should be able to offer solutions to increase cost efficiency, meet the complex needs of consumers and produce value for the economy. To achieve this, adequate policies on access to technology, standardization of data, security, personal data management and protection must be put into practice. Moreover, Fintech should be considered as an incubator for innovation that creates opportunity for those who do not have significant financial resources. As a result, people in developing countries, especially children and youth, have the potential to benefit greatly from advances in innovative financial technologies.


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CYFI facilitates Product Development Workshop in Madagascar

CYFI's Managing Director, Wessel Van Kampen, and Regional Coordinator for Africa, Anne Reynaud, recently visited Madagascar to meet with various key national stakeholders in Madagascar's capital Antananarivo.

As part of this, CYFI facilitated a product development workshop, co-organized and co-hosted with our local partners the Coordination Nationale de la Finance Inclusive.

More than 50 participants attended the Product Development Workshop, which focused on discussing the creation of a SchoolBank pilot and the adoption of the concept to align to the local circumstances. Participants shared their views and ideas on the best strategy to successfully implement a SchoolBank in Madagascar starting the new school year.

One of the goals of the workshop was to emphasize the importance of Financial Products adapted to Children and Youth. The workshop aimed at underlining the importance of having both Financial Education and Financial Inclusion. The workshop presentation pointed out the positive outcomes for a country population to have financial education and financial inclusion such as better academic achievement for example. The importance of a good consumer protection framework to develop financial inclusion and education was also stressed during the workshop presentation.

The workshop also highlighted the fact that the financial inclusion of children and youth represents a great opportunity for financial service providers. The goal of the workshop presentation was also to highlight that children and youth represent an opportunity for financial service because children are easy to reach and use low cost self-serve channels for example.

The main outcome of the workshop was the implementation of the SchoolBank program in Madagascar. SchoolBank aims to increase financial inclusion of children and young people through the school system. Through an innovative multi-stakeholder approach, the goal is to create systems change by providing children and youth with a Child & Youth Friendly bank account that they can use to save money, while at the same time imparting the appropriate education to teach them why and how to save and what their economic rights are.

The workshop in Madagascar brought together all national key stakeholders essential for a successful implementation of the SchoolBank program. All participants of the workshop expressed their willingness to collaborate to implement the program. All local financial service providers already have financial products adapted to children and youth. Next steps will build upon the various existing contacts between local banks and schools in the capital of Antananarivo, but will also expand to the more rural Southern part of the country.

The Coordination Nationale de la Finance Inclusive is also currently working on the draft of a National Strategy of Financial Inclusion with a strong emphasis on Children and Youth and are leading the organisation of GMW in Madagascar since 2016.

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National Bank of Georgia Hosts CYFI Child & Youth Friendly Product Development Workshop

The National Bank of Georgia (NBG) hosted Child and Youth- friendly Product Development Workshop in Tbilisi on 13 and 14 of July 2017. The workshop was facilitated by experts from Child & Youth Finance International (CYFI), and was part of the broader NBG-CYFI cooperation on promotion of financial education and savings culture for children and youth in Georgia.

Governor of the National Bank of Georgia Koba Gvenetadze opened the workshop and encouraged commercial banks to invest in developing financial capabilities of children and youth. During the workshop participants from 7 commercial banks in Georgia discussed the importance of the youth financial literacy and financial inclusion, product design, needs and wants of the young generation, as well as the business case for developing child and youth-friendly banking products. CYFI experts shared international experience and best practices in the field, while NBG specialists discussed the regulatory framework, consumer protection principles and NBG's planned activities in the direction of financial education for children and youth. CYFI partner, Savings Banks Foundation for International Cooperation (SBFIC) also shared with the participants the German experience in developing financial products for children and youth. The workshop was also attended by the representatives from the Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia, who stressed the importance of financial education at schools and perspectives on integration of financial education into the school curriculum, and discussed the Ministry's cooperation framework with NBG.

Children and youth are one of the main priority target groups within the frames of the National Strategy for Financial Education that Georgia adopted in 2016. As part of these efforts, NBG and CYFI have been working on implementing the SchoolBank project in Georgia since 2015. The project aims to provide school children with financial education classes, as well as the real opportunity to practice savings and easy transactions by providing them with safe banking products, such as depositing small savings on the bank account or paying for lunches with a debit card.

"In today's world, the young generations have to make important financial decisions at increasingly earlier stages of their lives. For this purpose, children and youth not only need theoretical financial knowledge, but also the ability to apply financial literacy to practical situations. Thus, it is crucial for the young generation to have access to appropriate financial products and services, in order to develop healthy financial attitudes, save money, set financial goals, and expand their opportunities. In this process, it is imperative to protect children's rights and interests. In a long-term perspective, these initiatives will help the youth become economically active and financially responsible citizens, reinforcing their financial well-being" - stated Koba Gvenetadze, Governor of the National Bank of Georgia during the opening ceremony of the event.

July 12th marked another milestone in the advancement of the SchoolBank project in Georgia. National Bank of Georgia and National Youth and Children Palace of Georgia (NYCP) signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on implementation of 15-hour SchoolBank educational programme as an extra-curriculum class for secondary school students in Tbilisi, that was developed by CYFI and Aflatoun, and further adapted by NBG in 2016. CYFI supported NYCP with its financial education programme since 2015, and supported teacher trainings of NBG, NYCP and Ministry of Education staff. NBG and CYFI signed an MoU covering these areas of cooperation earlier this year.

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CYFI holds Product Development Workshops in Chile and Peru

​ Child and Youth Finance International (CYFI) recently hosted two Product Development Workshops with Instituto de Estudios Peruanos (IEP) in Lima, Peru and Santiago, Chile. 

The purpose of the workshops was two-fold; CYFI and IEP intended to bring together the dominant organizations in the financial inclusion and education sectors in both countries to talk about the achievements in the field so far and look ahead at the progress still to be made. In addition to this, workshops focused on on the development of child and youth friendly banking products in both countries. 

As part of the worshops, multiple banks and other financial institutions looked at the opportunities and challenges to increase financial inclusion rates and financial capabilities of young people by discussing regulatory frameworks, financial education material, need and wants of children and youth, and marketing of banking products. These discussions were fueled by presentations from CYFI, IEP and various expert speakers from the Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI), Banco Caja Social from Colombia and ADOPEM from the Dominican Republic. 

One of the principle outcomes of both events is commitment to the dedicated effort of improving existing and developing new banking products for children and youth and the implementation of SchoolBank in Chile and Peru.

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Launching the Ye! Stream

The Ye! Stream is the newest addition to the Ye! Website!

Ever needed a business-related question answered immediately? Then the Ye! Stream is the place to go! No time to wait? No problem. Providing an interactive news feed and online forum, the Stream will be accessible to Ye! Community members—both coaches and entrepreneurs. The stream will allow members to dialogue directly amongst one another. 

Log onto the Ye! site, head to the stream page and post your questions directly to the community. Have a question on how to use a tool or about the legal structure in a certain country? Post it to the stream and have the community of young entrepreneurs respond with their personal experiences, insights, and advice. The stream will be available to members in both Arabic and English.

The Ye! Live Stream will also feature, "Ask a Coach" bi-weekly sessions. These live sessions will feature a coach or a business expert responding to community sourced questions in real-time. Coaches will be available for one hour at a scheduled date and time to answer all your most pressing entrepreneurship questions. Prior to the coach's appearance on the stream, a short bio explaining their experience and area of expertise will be posted to the Ye! Blog and subsequent social media channels. Questions, topics of interest, and the expert's follow-up advice will also be posted to the Ye! Blog following each session for anyone who missed out.

Join Ye! In launching the Ye! Stream and see what the global community of young entrepreneurs has to offer.

Are you an entrepreneur age 16-30? Apply to become a member of Ye! and join the global community of young entrepreneurs www.yecommunity.com/en/register



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Raising the Profile of Economic Citizenship in Education and Development Discourse

A significant part of CYFI's advocacy agenda has been to put economic citizenship for children and youth at the forefront of policy discourse and programming aimed at increasing financial capability and economic opportunities for young people.

Recently, CYFI published an article in the development education journal Policy & Practice entitled "The Role of Economic Citizenship Education in Advancing Global Citizenship". The article focuses on how to provide children and youth with the appropriate skills and capabilities required to create a more equal and sustainable world for future generations. It presents the concept of Economic Citizenship Education (ECE) and the importance of combining financial, social and livelihoods education for the empowerment of children and youth throughout the world. The article argues that the combination of financial inclusion and education is vital for successfully empowering children and youth. Throughout the article, this concept is linked to global citizenship, education for sustainable development, development education and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to show its importance to contemporary discourse on education and youth development. 

These themes build on CYFI's other publication specifically linking economic citizenship to the SDGs, particularly those focusing on poverty reduction, education, gender empowerment, economic growth and peaceful, sustainable societies.

There are currently 1.8 billion young people in the world, representing 25 per cent of the global population, with 87 per cent of this youth population residing in developing countries. These figures are projected to increase in the coming years with both challenges and opportunities for youth development. The challenges include the fact that, while children make up around a third of the global population, almost 47 per cent of those struggling to survive on less than $1.25 a day are 18 years old or younger. There are also 58 million children around the world that are not enrolled in school, which threatens their ability to sustain themselves in the future.

Within their economic and social environment, education plays a vital role in providing these young people with the financial, social and livelihood competences and opportunities needed to thrive and prosper. It is imperative that education delivers meaningful and useful skills to children and youth, and that it remains an integral part of their personal and professional development. If children acquire the skills and experiences of managing financial resources from an early age onward, it will enhance their awareness of financial risks, lower their economic vulnerability and allow them to make more responsible financial decisions. In addition, the inclusion of social and citizenship education ensures that young people develop financial capabilities that are rooted in socially responsible attitudes and behaviours.

The political and economic decisions of world leaders today and tomorrow not only dictate the future of world economies but also the future sustainability of societies and the environment. It is therefore extremely important that these decisions are made in a holistic and responsible manner, balancing financial, social and environmental considerations. ECE is critical to the development of global citizenship by creating an environment where children and youth are able to fully realise their social and economic potential and contribute to community development, without discrimination of any kind. These are the essential economic citizenship competencies that will provide the foundation for the next generation of political, business and social leaders.


Photo credit: Giacomo Pirozzi for Aflatoun International

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OECD PISA Results 2015: Outcomes and new insights support CYFI’s vision

Author: Wessel van Kampen, Managing Director CYFI​ 


The OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) recently released the results on financial literacy from 2015. CYFI attended the results launch event in Paris.

In addition to testing students' skills in mathematics, science and reading, the 2012 and 2015 editions of PISA also explored students' experience with, and knowledge about, money, providing an overall picture of 15-year-olds' ability to apply financial knowledge and skills to real-life situations. In 2015, around 48 000 students participated in the financial literacy test, representing about 12 million 15-year-olds in 15 participating OECD and non-OECD countries. 


Supporting CYFI's vision

CYFI has been advocating for an integrated approach of financial education and financial inclusion for the past five years, but until now little empirical evidence seamed to support such claims. The 2015 PISA results, alongside with other research and experiments recently led by the CYFI Secretariat (such as the implementation of SchoolBank projects around the world and the research led in seven East European countries on the attitude of youth towards the financial system) supports CYFI's claim and call for more attention to programs which integrate the two components.

The inclusion of a financial literacy assessment in PISA is the result of the unique collaboration between the Education Division and the International Network for Financial Education (INFE) of the OECD. It is based on the profound understanding of the fact that young people in both OECD and non-OECD countries are already involved in financial systems, are taking part in increasingly complex financial transactions, and are going to enter a financial work environment in their adulthood that is far more complex than that of their parents or teachers. Children are also already deeply engaged with money from a young age – more than 60 percent of 15-year-olds in participating OECD countries earn money from some type of work activity, 56 percent already have a bank account, and 19 percent have a prepaid debit card. At the same time, the results reveal that less than one in three students have the necessary skills to manage a bank account!

When compared to the results from 2012, only Russia and Italy have made any progress in increasing the financial literacy of students. This is of course a distressing result, considering the ever increasing engagement of youth with money, and the amount of work that has been done in the field over the past years. However, positive outcomes reveal that across all countries and economies, very few gender differences were detected in the levels of financial literacy among the 15-year olds surveyed. This finding is in contrast with the results of many adult financial literacy surveys, where women in most countries consistently score lower on financial literacy indicators than men. While the nature of this difference in financial literacy between adult males and females is not yet fully understood, it will be interesting to see whether this gender gap will continue when this next generation reaches adulthood or if we are on a path to closing the gender gap both in terms of financial inclusion and financial literacy.


Furthering youth financial literacy

The 2015 PISA results also confirmed that practical applications of financial knowledge and behaviours have a strong impact on financial literacy levels. Evidence shows that there is a positive relationship between performance in financial literacy and holding a bank account or receiving gifts of money. Moreover, students who are more financially literate are more motivated to use financial products, and perhaps more confident in doing so.

There is a growing perception in the field that students develop better financial understanding, skills and habits not only through talking to parents and observing their behaviour, or simply by receiving financial education lessons in class, but especially via personal experiences and learning by doing. This is also an essential element of the SchoolBanks implemented by CYFI and its network partners.

Another interesting result of PISA is linked to the socio-economic background of the student. Socio-economically advantaged students score 89 points higher than disadvantaged students, on average across the OECD, which is an equivalent to more than one PISA proficiency level. Even after looking at students with similar math and reading scores, disadvantaged students from poorer families are about twice as likely as advantaged students to be low performers in financial literacy. These findings support once again CYFI's focus to integrate financial education in the formal school curriculum across the board, in order to tackle those socio-economic differences early on.

The results of the 2015 PISA assessments could have implications on a series of initiatives to be led in the following years:

-The importance of impact evaluations of financial education initiatives in and outside of school
-The need of providing young people with safe opportunities to learn by experience and by using basic financial products;
-The need to target parents with financial education initiatives at the same time as young people;
-The necessity of addressing the needs of low-performing and economically disadvantaged students;
-The importance of providing equal opportunities for learning to boys and girls;
-And finally, the imperative of integrating financial education into the school curriculum and providing effective and scalable teacher training.

Detailed results, country overviews and more data can be found in PISA 2015 Results (Volume IV): Students' Financial Literacy.

We encourage our network partners from various sectors to look into these results, to learn from the experience of other countries as well in the design and implementation of financial education programs for children in their countries. CYFI can provide support and guidance in this effort. You can follow the conversation on Twitter: #OECDPISA, and INFE-OECD


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CYFI and EFSE DF publish joint study on financial behaviour and knowledge of youth in South-Eastern Europe

CYFI and the Development Facility of the European Fund for Southeast Europe (EFSE DF) have published the final report of the study about financial behaviour and knowledge of young people in 7 countries of South-Eastern Europe (Albania, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro and Serbia). 

Financed by EFSE DF, the study was conducted in the second quarter of 2016 and included in-depth focus groups and interviews with children and youth between 10 and 24 years old, as well as wide quantitative study of more than 2,000 children and youth people across 7 countries.

The study has showed that the level of financial literacy of youth is quite low, mainly related to a low understanding of traditional products, and the fact that the main sources of information and understanding of finances are derived from family and household experiences.

In the region as a whole, children and young people reported a positive saving behaviour. Having a piggy bank and using it as the primary source for saving money was the most popular way of saving across the region.

The study also revealed the experience of children and youth with various financial products, and some positive effects have been noticed in the results. Youth that have personal experience with owning and using their own bank account was found to be stronger with money management and saving habits, showed better perceptions of the importance of savings, and had deeper knowledge about financial products and formal financial education. The full report can be accessed here.

CYFI would like to thank the representatives of the Central Bank of Montenegro, Association of Serbian Banks, Ministry of Education and Science of Serbia, Institute of Educational Sciences of Moldova, Centre for Conflict Resolution – Macedonia for supporting the organization of data collection for the study. We would also like to thank Bank of Albania, National Bank of the Republic of Macedonia, Central Bank of Montenegro, Central Bank of the Republic of Kosovo, National Bank of Serbia and the National Bank of Moldova for their contributions and support.

For more information about the methodological setup of the study and for dissemination of the results, please contact CYFI Secretariat for further support.

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Child-friendly Product Development Workshop hosted in Malawi

​ CYFI, in cooperation with the hosting partner the Reserve Bank of Malawi, organized a Product Development Workshop for financial institutions in Malawi, that took place on 12th and 13th April in Blantyre, Malawi. 

The workshop had attendance and delegates from the major commercial banks, as well as the deposit-taking microfinance institution. In addition, the workshop was joined by officials from the Reserve Bank of Malawi who provided input and feedback from the viewpoint of the financial sector regulator. The workshop was moderated by CYFI experts, and covered topics such as the importance of financial inclusion for young people, needs and wants of youth, product design and marketing channels, and other aspects related to the development of savings and current accounts for children and youth in Malawi.

The workshop provided a platform to start discussions on the importance of financial education and financial inclusion of young people in Malawi, and to guide the local financial institutions in the process of developing child and youth-friendly banking products. The two-day workshop served as a space to exchange best practices and experiences, and present case studies that were achieved across the world, and especially within the Africa and SADC regions. 

At the end of the workshop, one of the participants stated "we recommend a shift on the legal perspective, and our institution can be one of the key drivers of the policy change", and another stated "if we can support and take youth seriously, the sky is the limit". The participants' evaluation of the workshop received the score of 4.5 and above on many topics, such as the presentation of topics, the usefulness of the presentations as future reference, and knowledgeability and responsiveness of the trainers.

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Financial Education + Life Skills = Girl Power

Adolescent girls are one of the world's most economically vulnerable groups. Compared to boys their age, they frequently have limited opportunities to gain the education, knowledge, resources, and skills that can lead to economic advancement.

Girls do not only need knowledge, skills, and a responsible attitude to manage money in a smart way; to be fully empowered, they also need to increase their self-confidence to support their ambitions. That is why CYFI partner, Aflatoun International, collaborates with Plan International and Credit Suisse's Financial Education Girls Program to improve the financial knowledge and life skills of approximately 100,000 girls in Brazil, China, India and Rwanda. CYFI contributes to and supports the research agenda of the program through the Credit Suisse Financial Education for Girls Advisory Group.

In addition to the program implementation, the partnership carries out research on the effectiveness of financial education for adolescent girls. The results of a recent literature review shows that the most promising financial education programs combine both social and financial elements. So in order to be most effective, financial education programs targeting adolescent girls should also include non-economic elements, such as life skills, interpersonal networking, communication, personality development as well as sexual and reproductive health education.

Research findings are increasingly available about the effectiveness of financial education. However, many questions remain. One of these questions is how to best involve communities in financial education programs. This is easier said than done. Financial education and life skills programs are recommended to encourage communities to engage in conversations about economic empowerment of girls, challenging harmful biases and replacing them with behaviours that foster inclusive and equitable education and labor markets for girls and boys. Ongoing research looks at the contextual factors – including social norms around gender - that financial education and life skills training programs need to understand and address. The program intends to publish the initial results of this country level research in the summer of 2017 so stay tuned!

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Interactive forum on independent teen bank accounts in Kenya on 8 March 2017

CARE Kenya is collaboration with Child & Youth Finance International (CYFI) organized a breakfast meeting around the issue of access of young Kenyans to independent bank accounts before the age of 18. The main focus of the meeting was to discuss the barriers, challenges, regulatory framework and recommendations that should be addressed to facilitate the development of adolescent friendly accounts by financial service providers in Kenya, and form a core group of stakeholders that will continue working on this issue.

CARE Kenya particularly advocates for more independency in opening and operating the bank accounts for adolescents between 15 and 18 years old. This particular age group was chosen due to the fact that Article 56 (2) of Kenya's Employment Act allows employment of children from the ages of 13-16 years for light work, and define those of 16-18 as employable. So while adolescents can be engaged in various forms of income generating activities, their possibility of owning an independent bank account is still quite limited according to the national regulation.

The forum brought together over 40 representatives of civil society, government, humanitarian agencies, financial service providers and umbrella organizations to discuss the issue. Representatives from CARE Kenya, CYFI, UNHCR, Child Savings Kenya and Postbank Kenya presented their findings and evidence about the importance of youth financial inclusion and access to formal savings, and participated in an interactive panel. The forum outlined several challenges and many opportunities in the area, and CARE Kenya will lead the follow up to continue consulting and engaging various stakeholders and policy makers on the topic.You can keep updated about the initiative by following the hashtag #TeenAccountKenya2017. 

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Leading The Way Towards Safer Payments for Children

​Child & Youth Finance International (CYFI) and Mastercard are launching a groundbreaking guide on banking and payment products for minors. Unique in its approach, the 'Safer Payment Products for Minors' guide identifies recommended practices on how Financial Service Providers (FSPs) can develop age-appropriate payment products for minors; promoting responsible spending and financial decision-making whilst incorporating functionalities that allow for parental guidance towards a minor's financial autonomy.

At a time when governments, the private sector and civil society are doubling down on their efforts to build a more inclusive society, these new guidelines ensure the needs and safety of the next generation are part of the process. Financial, digital and gender inclusion are crucial elements to build a stable world in which everyone gets the chance to fulfill its potential. Minors are the foundation of tomorrow's society and need to be brought into the financial mainstream in a responsible manner.

Developed for national and international financial institutions, the guide is intended to help decision makers and product owners understand the responsibilities, needs and risks associated with this market.

In addition to the goal of supporting the creation of safe and appropriate products for minors, the guide seeks to foster dialogue between parent and child. In this way both Financial Service Providers and parents can guide minors towards financial inclusion, autonomy and responsibility.

Walt Macnee, Vice Chairman Mastercard says: "Today's minors are the adults of tomorrow. As they grow up, we need to ensure that they are prepared to fully participate in the formal and increasingly digital economy. By ensuring that the tools and products that they are given are age-appropriate, we contribute to that preparation."

Recognizing that the varying functional and supervisory requirements of financial products for minors vary depending on the age and development of young people, the paper advocates for an end objective of empowering minors to fully manage their own payment products and money.

The guide was created by Mastercard, Child & Youth Finance International (CYFI), ParentPay, nimbl and Mirador Digital, with contributions from a range of organizations in the financial sector.

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CYFI and UNCDF launch the “Bank the Youth” Campaign in 7 African countries!

On March 27th, Child and Youth Finance International (CYFI), in partnership with the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), are officially launching the 'Bank the Youth' Campaign. The aim of this Campaign is to overcome the barriers to financial inclusion for young people and increase their exposure to Child and Youth Friendly banking products throughout the world. 

The Campaign launch consists of several events in seven African countries: Benin, Burkina Faso, DRC, Madagascar, Senegal, Tanzania and Uganda. Representatives from governments, UNCDF, Financial Services Providers (FSPs), Youth Serving Organizations (YSOs), as well as youth themselves, will actively participate in the launch of the Campaign throughout Global Money Week (March 27th – April 2nd). 


Global Money Week was selected as the optimal time to launch the Campaign, since this year's GMW slogan 'Learn, Save, Earn' is profoundly related to the objective of the 'Bank the Youth' Campaign. In fact, education, clever  savings habits and entrepreneurial training can all enhance the financial awareness and economic opportunities of children and youth in all parts of the world. 


Why do we need to 'Bank the Youth'?

The Campaign was initiated because young people, especially those in Least Developed Countries (LDCs), face many barriers in accessing Child and Youth Friendly financial services. Some of these barriers include legal and regulatory restrictions to opening an account in their name, inappropriate and inaccessible products and services to meet their financial needs and low financial capability amongst a burgeoning youth population. 

These barriers can prevent young people from realizing their full economic potential. 'Bank the Youth' is indeed an advocacy campaign that promotes smart policies for youth financial access while facilitating greater opportunities for economic empowerment and youth development. These aspects are at the core of CYFI's model of economic citizenship, whose objective is to achieve sustainable economic and financial well-being, a reduction in poverty and greater respect for rights of self and others for children and youth through the attainment of financial inclusion and Economic Citizenship Education.

Beginning in 2017 with nine pilot countries in Africa (Benin, Burkina Faso, DRC, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Senegal, Uganda, and Tanzania), 'Bank the Youth' will coordinate efforts among numerous stakeholders in country to advance best practices in financial inclusion and education for youth. All participants are encouraged to take part in GMW and World's Savings Day's celebrations. After the launch during GMW, more members will be recruited as Impact Champions for the Campaign. Topics will be discussed via webinars and social media on a monthly basis related to financial inclusion both at the country and the international level. The target is to recruit at least 200 Campaign members by the end of 2017. 

Stay up- to-date with the latest news regarding the Campaign through the various the UNCDF, CYFI and Global Money Week social media channels!

Follow @UNCDF, @ChildFinance, @GlobalMoneyWeek, and @UNCDFYouthStart on Twitter and check hashtags  #BankTheYouth, #BTYImpactChampions, #GMW2017 #financialinclusion, #financialinclusion4youth, #Youthfinance, #GlobalMoneyWeek, #LearnSaveEarn, #youthdevelopment.


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CYFI took part in FINFIN 2017 in Moscow in February 2017

Child & Youth Finance International (CYFI) took part in FINFIN 2017 Conference in Moscow, Russia on 16 February 2017. FINFIN is an annual international symposium, aiming to bring together financial institutions, governmental bodies, and expert community to exchange and share best practices and latest trends in the area of financial literacy and financial inclusion.

The Conference fosters an open dialog between market practitioners, government officials and researchers. It also provides an ideal environment to develop new initiatives that would ensure sustainable development of the industry, increase the availability and quality of financial services for the population, and promote financial literacy programs in order to improve the well-being of Russian citizens. 

The conference is traditionally organized by Russian Microfinance Centre and Citi Foundation, with the participation of representatives of the Bank of Russia and Ministry of Finance of Russian Federation, as well as international experts. The 2017 edition of FINFIN saw participation of many global stakeholders in the field, such as OECD, Central Bank of Portugal, UK Consumer Panel, CYFI and other representatives from CIS region and beyond. 

In 2017 CYFI contributed to the panel on the ways to improve financial literacy of Russian population, alongside the speakers from the Central Bank of Russia, Moscow State University, and various private sector initiatives. The wide consensus was reached that starting teaching children the basics of financial behaviour, such as saving, budgeting and spending, is essential from the first years of school. The role of the Ministry of Education in this process was defined as crucial by all participants of the panel. CYFI Regional Advisor Karina Avakyan shared the recent findings of financial education landscape for young people, emphasized the importance of active practicing of savings from the young age, and presented the recent publication by CYFI and World Savings Bank Institute (WSBI) on various Schoolbanking models.

On 15 February 2015 CYFI was also invited to take part in the informal roundtable, organized by the Russian Microfinance Centre (RMC) and Bank of Russia on the financial literacy programmes for SMMes and entrepreneurs, and their role in the overall financial literacy strategies and policies. CYFI representative shared some examples and best practices from CYFI network members and other countries in Europe.


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Queen Máxima joins Global Money Week celebration for youth

Child & Youth Finance International (CYFI) will collaborate with leading partners in the Netherlands on an event taking place on 30 March 2017 to highlight the importance of financial inclusion for youth.

The 6th edition of "Global Money Week", celebrated in 135 countries worldwide, takes place from 27 March - 2 April 2017. The Dutch Money Week, "Week van het geld", is organized during the same period. Both events provide an excellent opportunity to raise awareness of the importance of financial education and financial inclusion by connecting children and youth from around the world.

This special joint Global Money Week celebration is organized by CYFI in collaboration with the Money Wise Platform (platform Wijzer in geldzaken), Aflatoun International and partners. Her Majesty Queen Máxima of the Netherlands, honorary chair of the Money Wise Platform, will join the celebration.

Linking with the important issue of providing child and youth-friendly services, Queen Máxima will receive the pioneering document "Safer Payment Products for Minors – guiding minors towards financial autonomy," co-authored by CYFI and Mastercard in collaboration with partners. As the UN Secretary General's Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development and honorary patron of the G20's Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion, Queen Máxima is a leading global voice advancing universal access to affordable, effective and safe financial services in order to strengthen human development, especially among the poor. In The Netherlands she supports financial inclusion particularly in the areas of financial literacy and financial education.


Moderated by renowned Dutch TV presenter and global traveler Floortje Dessing, the event includes an interactive "Trip Around the World" connecting Dutch and international children and youth to share insights on what the Global Money Week theme "Learn. Save. Earn" means to young people in their country, and addressing the issue: does money make you happy? During various interactive workshops, school students will focus on key themes such as saving and borrowing, digital payments, tools for entrepreneurs, and social and financial education.

In the afternoon, international stakeholders will join a round table discussion on "Digital Finance and Consumer Protection Implications for Youth (digital natives)." Panelists will discuss opportunities, challenges, risks and solutions related to digital financial inclusion of the young generation.


Official press release from the Royal House of the Netherlands can be found (in Dutch) here.

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