Everyone has the right to education
As stated in article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, “Everyone has the right to education”, and as a right this should be protected and ensured by public and governmental entities in every corner of this planet.
It is true that many improvements have been made in this area in the recent years, particularly in basic or elementary education, but with the outbreak of the global pandemic, many of these improvements were compromised and access to education for many children was very difficult on a large scale.
But let us go one step further: there was a persistent problem already before these recent events as well in secondary and higher education. In Luxembourg, primary and secondary education is free and compulsory up to the age of 16, but what about Uganda? Kyrgyzstan? Haiti? The truth is that only 99 countries legally guarantee at least 12 years of free education (UNESCO).
About 258 million children and youth are out of school, according to UIS data for the school year ending in 2018. The total includes 59 million children of primary school age, 62 million of lower secondary school age and 138 million of upper secondary age (UNESCO).
It is thanks to entities such as UNICEF> or UNESCO, among others, that year after year the struggle to establish a path of improvement at public levels continues. LMDF does not have the capacity to solve the issues in these areas, but it can make a difference and have an impact on the lives of many children and youth today.
Through microfinance, social bases were organised and created to provide microcredit services to the population, contributing to job creation and income generation, enabling single mothers or heads of poor families, to have more possibilities to ensure the education of their children.
Education clearly is a good investment. It promotes the careers of those who receive it, but it also has repercussions on all areas of their lives, from health to childcare to empowerment. Those with an education can expect to go on and earn more than others in their community and have more success running their businesses. This in turn helps to alleviate poverty and the ripple effects can bring prosperity to whole communities.
A good education is the door to future success, and microfinance can contribute to this future.
Supporting parents with preparation for the new term
ACME is aware that many parents may dip into their business loans when the new term starts, to ensure their children have money ready to pay school fees, to obtain books and other equipment needed for the term. This loan helps parents to ensure that business does not come to a standstill at this time of year.
Photo: © International Disaster Volunteers
ACTB, Sierra Leone
Micro School Loans – Supply side financing
The Civil War in Sierra Leone took a large toll on the education system in the country, leaving over 1,000 primary schools destroyed. Today, the country still suffers from this heritage and schools remain woefully underequipped with shortages of textbooks and basic facilities hampering learning (Borgen Project). This loan helps schools to develop their infrastructure and provide a quality learning and teaching environment for pupils.
Photo: © Julien Harneis
Sinapi Aba, Ghana
Smart Kids Account – Supporting kids in times of financial difficulty
Children often suffer when their parents go through a period of financial hardship; during such periods, children remain at high risk of being taken out of school. This custodial account encourages parents and guardians to save for their children and acts as a cushion in times of financial mishaps, helping to ensure children do not get removed from school. The high interest rate on this savings account also means that it may be able to support staying in education for a longer period.
Photo: © Michael Pollak
Solar loans have a range of purposes, but BIMAS noted that they have a particular significance for children in rural communities. These children are often disadvantaged at schools because they are unable to complete their homework as they have no access to lights. Introducing solar panels increases the length of time when they can study and helps to prevent rural and poor children from being further marginalised.
Photo: © SolarAid