Microfinance Now: Shameran Abed
“In countries like Bangladesh and India right now we talk about what is called the demographic dividend,” says Shameran Abed, Microfinance Program Manager of BRAC. With roughly 82 million of its 165 million people below the age of 21, and therefore many young people coming into the workforce, “it’s extremely important that we train, educate and provide services so they become active citizens.”
If we miss that opportunity, Abed says in this short video intervew, there could be “large numbers of unemployed, possibly leading to other social unrests as we are seeing in other parts of the world… So for us the window of opportunity is now.”
As a large multi-faceted NGO, BRAC has focused on a holistic approach to development that includes interventions in health, education as well as financial services. By focusing on young people, particularly teenagers between the ages of 14 and 18, BRAC believes they can have a big impact on a range of social issues by getting children to stay longer in schools, marry later, become better parents. Youth savings is an important part of this work, Abed explains. In addition to providing loans for businesses, BRAC hopes to encourage the savings habit among young Bangladeshis so that saving becomes “something that might stay with them for life.”
Camera Peter Cairns. Produced by Jeanette Thomas.