Expanded and Sustained Access to Financial Services (ESAF) Program



FHI 360, formerly Academy for Educational Development (USAID)


West Bank and Gaza


Youth in the West Bank and Gaza lack the financial literacy and soft skills to be informed consumers and productive members of the workforce. Existing curricula in formal educational institutions do not address those skills.


Making Cents International built financial literacy and soft skills of high-school students in the West Bank, in collaboration with the Palestinian Monetary Authority and the Ministry of Education and Higher Education. 


We developed the Making Choices, Making Plans Companion Curriculum as a component of the Grade 11 Management and Economics course, integrating it into an already busy school day. We developed a series of two complementary lessons and ten supplemental activities on the topics of planning, decision making, information gathering, asking for help, savings, and credit. The lessons reflected a highly interactive methodology and the importance of “learning by doing”. 

We piloted the curriculum with teachers from every West Bank governorate and rolled it out in the 2011–12 school year. It initially reached more than 45,000 youth and is now offered to more than 48,000 high school students annually.

Making Cents also built the capacity of the local microfinance institution, Ryada, to develop and launch its first start-up business loan targeted especially at youth. We provided comprehensive technical assistance to support the entire product development cycle, including designing a market research plan for over 600 participants; training a local firm in youth-inclusive market research; conducting a workshop to create a product concept and action plan; testing the product concept with young people; and making adjustments prior to the pilot. Making Cents also developed a risk analysis tool and a case study with Ryada on lessons learned from the pilot program.