The Bayelsa State Government located in the delta region of Nigeria awarded Columbia University and the New America Foundation's Global Assets Project a grant to design and launch a child development account (CDA) pilot, which will test the impact of matched savings accounts for children in low-income households. This marks not only the first government-supported anti-poverty intervention in the Niger Delta region, but the first state-wide CDA policy pilot in the developing world.
The pilot, which will be implemented over a period of three years, will introduce CDAs for at least 1000 schoolchildren throughout the 24 constituencies of the 8 districts of the Bayelsa State. The goal of the pilot program is to provide children/youth with a means and incentive to stay in school, save for and invest in their futures, and begin to change their attitudes and behaviors toward themselves and their opportunities.
CDAs evaluated around the world have shown significant impacts on children, including a more optimistic future outlook and orientation, improved anticipatory planning skills, and refusal of risky behavior. Additionally, sustained education and/or skills training provide additional opportunities for children and youth to build social and emotional resilience.
"The World Bank has been actively supporting Child Development Accounts in Nigeria, especially in the Niger Delta, and believes they can make a very valuable contribution to improving living standards and combating poverty. CDAs will allow children to build financial assets and help them make their life dreams, such as becoming an entrepreneur or getting a higher education, a reality. The World Bank commends Bayelsa State Government for espousing this initiative," says Volker Treichel, Lead Economist for the World Bank in Nigeria.
Despite being the most resource-rich region of Nigeria, the Bayelsa State in the Niger Delta faces extreme social and economic challenges, including high poverty and militancy rates. Youth, who lack access to adequate skills training or employment opportunities, have become disenfranchised and unsettled, with little optimism about their future. This policy pilot, intended to address these challenges, will be the first anti-poverty intervention of its kind in the conflict-prone region. Moreover, as the first state-wide CDA policy pilot in the developing world, the Bayelsa State government demonstrates its pioneering commitment to poverty reduction and reform.
"I still have the savings account my father opened for me as a child, so I know the impact it can have on a child's attitude toward life. The Bayelsa State Government is investing in this CDA pilot because we want our children to have more confidence in themselves and their government. By investing in our children, we hope to give them optimism that their potential and talents will be rewarded," says Governor Timipre Sylva of the Bayelsa State.
Jamie Zimmerman, Deputy Director of New America Foundation's Global Assets Project and Fred Ssewamala, Associate Professor at Columbia University and Senior Research Fellow for the Global Assets Project are available for interviews.
Please contact Kate Brown with media requests at 202-596-3365 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Global Assets Project is a joint venture between the Center for Social Development at Washington University in St Louis and the Asset Building Program at the New America Foundation.
About the New America Foundation
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