Launched in 2012 by Jeroo Billimoria, the founder of Aflatoun and Child Helpline International, Child & Youth Finance International (CYFI) is proof that small NGOs can change the world by following their conviction, ideas, expertise, and genius. The word “genius” may sound a bit extreme, but it is a difficult word to avoid when looking at how much CYFI has accomplished in its short history. Through using its innovative collaborative systems change model, it has succeeded in creating and nurturing a worldwide movement to provide children and youth with financial education and economic citizenship. It took on the role of ‘honest broker’, advocating for the issue with governments and policymakers, disseminating expertise from within the movement, co-creating innovative programs which can scale, and convening all the different players to synchronize their efforts. This way of working has allowed it to stay small, and reach high impact at low cost.
Only someone with true nonprofit genius could pull this off.
Now, having played the part of catalyst in what has now become a blazing fire for economic citizenship for young people, CYFI has taken a step back and acknowledged that its role has been completed – a bold and unconventional thing for an NGO to declare. Thus, in 2018, CYFI has decided do what it does best – collaborative systems change – and apply it to the topic of youth entrepreneurship. Watch this space, because if the past seven years have taught us anything at all, it’s that CYFI has the know-how, login, and password to make global, impactful change in a short amount of time.