Junior Achievement Swaziland is introducing for the first time a youth cooperative program called “In School Youth Cooperative Program” in partnership with the Swaziland Ministry of Industry, Trade and Commerce.
With the lack of financial education in schools across the country, there is a need to equip students on personal finance management, savings and investments in order to cultivate and promote a savings culture amongst youth, especially school going age. The savings and credit cooperatives will be used to provide practical means for implementing the savings culture in all participating schools. Hence this program seeks to implement financial education in all JA program participating schools. For proper implementation of this program, the following is required; sensitization of relevant stakeholders, training of facilitators, training of participating students and program monitoring and support.
The Financial Education and Savings Cooperatives program will be implemented in 40 schools in 2018 of which 63% of the schools will be from rural settings while the remaining 37% will be from urban settings. Schools that will participate in the program will be recruited in all four regions in the following proportions; Hhohho 31%, Manzini 27%, Lubombo 22% and Shiselweni 20% respectively.
Students will be exposed to an extensive training on how to establish and mange a savings and credit cooperatives using the standards and guidelines provided by the Cooperatives Unit. In this regard students will learn how to develop a constitution and learn how to implement the principles of a savings and credit co-operative through the assistance of the Cooperatives Unit.
Every participating student will be issued a consent form that must be signed by parents and students as a requirement to participate in this program. The schools savings and credit cooperatives will be under the supervision of JA Swaziland and the Cooperatives unit. The students will elect the schools cooperative management amongst themselves, which will then be assisted to open and manage the schools cooperative account using the JA financial handling principles used in the JA company Program.
Additionally, under this program students will be trained and encouraged to use latest technology platforms and applications such as mobile money and cell phone banking (where possible) for the ease of transactions and record keeping. Each school Cooperative will have a minimum of 15 student members with each member having their unique registration identity that will be used they for saving and transaction purposes.
Lubane savings and credit co-operative society has joined in on the in school youth cooperatives with their over 40 years of running a successful cooperative to assist JA Swaziland successfully implement the program in schools. Lubane will be responsible for managing the in-school cooperatives account on behalf of JA Swaziland. Lubane will also invest the savings from the students ensuring that it accrues interest that will benefit the learners.