Focus Themes Education


Education drives economic empowerment and social mobility. Our Global Education Initiative, alongside our local and regional education activities, support programs that improve the quality of educational opportunities for young people.

Global Education Initiative

Launched in 2008, the first phase of the Global Education Initiative targeted school-aged children in selected countries throughout Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Latin America and the Asia-Pacific region. Between 2008-2014, the Initiative developed strong partnerships whose programs reached over 100,000 students in over 400 schools in 38 countries. More than 15,000 teachers were trained in subjects ranging from Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) and IT to child-friendly teaching methodologies.

Based on this success, in 2014 Credit Suisse launched a Signature Program within the initiative focusing on Financial Education for Girls. The program is being implemented by the global organizations Plan International and Aflatoun International. Aligned with both the Microfinance Capacity Building Initiative and the core business of Credit Suisse, the program combines Plan International's expertise in gender sensitive education and promotion of access to quality education with Aflatoun International's expertise in social and financial skills curricula and teaching methodologies. The program aims to improve the financial education and life skills of approximately 100,000 adolescent girls in Brazil, China, India and Rwanda and to encourage them to transition through secondary school.

As of 2017, another long term partner in the Initiative, Room to Read, will join the Financial Education for Girls program extending the geographic scope to Sri Lanka and Tanzania.

We are also continuing to support our long standing Global Education Initiative partner Teach For All whose global network of partners are strengthening the provision of quality education through promotion of excellence in teaching.

To see the work accomplished with our six partners (2008-2014), see the Global Education Initiative 5 year anniversary section.

In 2014 we transitioned to a new signature program, 'Financial Education for Girls' in Brazil, China, India and Rwanda. This program aims to provide relevant and timely financial education to girls and young women at key points in their lives, as part of a program to support girls with the necessary knowledge, skills and attitudes to tackle decisions along their life's journey, whether this is personal, professional or in continuing education.

Access to financial and social assets is essential to helping youth make their own economic decisions and escape poverty.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon

As a global financial institution, we see first-hand how important financial skills are to enable people to actively participate in the economy and society. Many young people aged 14–25 in developing countries are already economically active but without any basic education in the key tenets of finance. They are therefore not only less likely to maximize the benefits from their economic activity, but also risk making decisions that may result in debt and further poverty over time and into adulthood.

Given that girls in developing countries still struggle to overcome many barriers to education compared to their male counterparts, focusing on financial education for girls in particular can mean transformed futures. Empowered girls can manage their own savings, spending, and make decisions about their future endeavours in life.

By increasing both the financial capability of girls as well as awareness of their social and economic rights, they can better fulfill their potential and take advantage of economic opportunities as they transition into adulthood. Furthermore, financial education for girls also mitigates their vulnerabilities such as sexual and domestic violence, school dropout, illiteracy, early marriage, and pregnancy.

Our not-for-profit partners in the Financial Education for Girls program 2014-16 are Plan International and Aflatoun International implementing the program in selected regions of Brazil, China, India and Rwanda.


schools have benefited from our support


teachers have been trained


students have benefited from financial education and life skills classes

In the next phase of the Global Education Initiative's Financial Education for Girls work we will continue to work with Plan International and Aflatoun International and also include our long standing partner, Room to Read thereby increasing the geographic scope of the program.

  1. Proposed Countries: Brazil, China, Tanzania and Sri Lanka
  2. Target by end of 2017: to reach over 190,000 children including more than 100,000 girls
  3. Signature partners: Plan International, Aflatoun International and Room to Read

Financial Education for Girls at a glance

Northeastern Brazil
Target: Students aged 11 – 16 years, with a focus on girls

Improve the financial education and life skills of approximately 3,250 girls and support them to transition to, and remain in, secondary school.

The Aflatoun and Aflateen curricula is used in clubs.

Guangnan County, Yunnan Province
Target: Students aged 12 – 17 years, with a focus on girls

Enable over 11,500 disadvantaged girls to successfully transition to senior secondary education.

The Mandarin program 'Aflateen' and the Non Formal curricula has been contextualized for use in the project.

Bikaner district, Rajasthan
Target: Students aged 11 – 18 years, with a focus on girls

Quality and relevant education for approximately 82,300 girls in the state of Rajasthan.

The Aflateen curriculum is used here, and special teaching and learning aides have been developed.

Bugesera and Nyaruguru districts
Target: Students aged 12 – 15 years, with a focus on girls

Improved education for approximately 2,000 disadvantaged girls in Rwanda.

The Aflateen curriculum is used here, adapted for the local context.

The Global Education Initiative and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

'Achieving Universal Primary Education' by 2015 was defined in 2000 as one of the UN's Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Since 2008, Credit Suisse has made a contribution to reaching this ambitious target through its Global Education Initiative (GEI). In 2015, the UN adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which replace the MDGs and form a core element of the UN's ambitious and transformative 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The SGDs consist of 17 sustainable development goals that range from ending all forms of poverty and hunger and promoting access to education to combating climate change and building peaceful and inclusive societies. SDG 4 aims to "ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all".

With the belief that education is a great equalizer and a powerful force for social and economic change, Credit Suisse's efforts have focused on providing education to those most in need. Launched in 2008, the GEI is proud of the achievements and the strong partnerships developed over the past years. These partnerships have focused on breaking down barriers to accessing education and improving the quality of educational opportunities.

Through our funding and multi-faceted support, our partner organizations have been able to pilot new programs and approaches while also strategically developing these in order to ensure their sustainability.

In 2015, Credit Suisse published a report in order to raise broader awareness of the SDGs and to promote a constructive dialogue about this topic. In the publication "Aiming for Impact: Credit Suisse and the Sustainable Development Goals", we illustrate how the SDGs provide tangible opportunities for companies to pursue business objectives while also contributing to sustainable development.

Stories from Our Partners (2008-2014)

Camfed plays a catalytic role in the transformation of young people's lives by providing a holistic package of support, including formal education for girls at school, health awareness, and business and leadership training for young women who have left school.

Camfed tackles the complex interplay between poverty, gender and power that keeps girls locked in a cycle of lower educational attainment and vulnerability to sexual exploitation. The strategies used include securing girls' entitlement to education and protection: firstly, by ensuring that excluded girls have the opportunity and support to enrol in and succeed at school; and secondly, by working with school governance structures and local authorities to ensure that these are gender-responsive and act to protect girls' welfare and entitlements.

CARE is a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty that places special focus on working alongside poor women because, equipped with the proper resources, women have the power to help whole families and entire communities escape poverty. Women are at the heart of CARE's community-based efforts to improve basic education, prevent the spread of disease, increase access to clean water and sanitation, expand economic opportunity and protect natural resources.

CARE's education programs take a comprehensive approach to addressing the complex interrelated challenges in this area by promoting and facilitating discussion between parents, teachers and other members of the community to overcome barriers to education.

CARE also works alongside governments and partner organizations to bring about systemic change. Credit Suisse began working with CARE in 1989 through the Americas Foundation and then within the Global Education Initiative in Peru and Tanzania in 2008.

Plan International UK strives to advance children's rights and equality for girls all over the world.

Plan International recognises the power and potential of every single child. But this is often suppressed by poverty, violence, exclusion and discrimination. And it's girls who are most affected.

As an independent development and humanitarian charity, we work alongside children, young people, supporters and partners to tackle the root causes of the challenges facing girls and all vulnerable children.

We support children's rights from birth until they reach adulthood, and enable children to prepare for and respond to crises and adversity.

We drive changes in practice and policy at local, national and global levels using our reach, experience and knowledge.

For over 80 years we have been building powerful partnerships for children, and we are active in over 70 countries.

Teach For All is a global network that aims to expand educational opportunity internationally by increasing and accelerating the impact of independent social enterprises that enlist their nations' most promising future leaders in addressing educational need.

Teach For All was launched in 2007 as response to demand from entrepreneurs around the world seeking to start Teach For America and Teach First-like enterprises in their own countries. These enterprises provide a pipeline of high-caliber teachers who go above and beyond traditional expectations to lead their students to significant academic achievement, despite the challenges of poverty and the limited capacity of their countries' school systems.

Teach For All increases and accelerates the impact of these programs - in the immediate term on student achievement and over the long term on their countries' broader education systems - by providing direct support services to its partner organizations and by fostering a powerful network among them.

Latin American countries rank the lowest in the world in terms of the quality of education (World Economic Forum 2008 survey). Worldfund's goal is to raise the quality and relevance of education in Latin America – the key to transforming lives and breaking the cycle of poverty. Their aim is for every child in Latin America to have access to a high-quality education.

Worldfund focuses on the key area which can have the greatest impact: leadership at the school level. They deliver training and ongoing support to teachers and principals from underserved schools in Latin America, fundamentally impacting the system from the bottom up.

Signature Program Partners

Aflatoun's social and financial education empowers children and young people worldwide to make a positive change in their lives and communities, enabling them to create a sustainable future. It teaches children and young people about their rights and responsibilities, encourages them to save money and resources, and start social and financial enterprises, turning dependence into independence.

Aflatoun's educational program was refined over ten years of rigorous research globally. Following a ten country global pilot project, the program has been scaled to 116 countries, reaching 4.1 million children and young people each year. Aflatoun International creates high-quality curricula, for different age groups, which can be contextualised to local needs and specific circumstances, and are implemented by its partners. In addition, educators are provided with training to teach the Aflatoun child-centred, active learning method, which can be taught both in classrooms and out of school.

Aflatoun's work is grounded in the belief that all children around the world, including the most vulnerable ones, should have access to high-quality social and financial education allowing them not only to survive but thrive in the 21st century. 

Plan International UK strives to advance children's rights and equality for girls all over the world. The organization recognizes the power and potential of every single child. But this is often suppressed by poverty, violence, exclusion and discrimination. And it's girls who are most affected.

As an independent development and humanitarian charity, Plan International works alongside children, young people, supporters and partners to tackle the root causes of the challenges facing girls and all vulnerable children. Plan International supports children's rights from birth until they reach adulthood, and enables children to prepare for and respond to crises and adversity. The organization drives changes in practice and policy at local, national and global levels using its reach, experience and knowledge.

For over 80 years Plan International has been building powerful partnerships for children, and they are active in over 70 countries.

Credit Suisse and Room to Read's relationship began in 2005 with post-tsunami efforts in Sri Lanka and India. Over 2008-09 our program support focused on schools refurbishment and libraries. Since 2010, Credit Suisse has been the primary funder of Room to Read's Literacy Instruction pilots in Laos, Sri Lanka and Vietnam and supporting the 'Accelerator Program'.

Credit Suisse also provides free office space for a small Development Team in Hong Kong, Tokyo and Sydney, enabling Room to Read to invest more of its funding directly into programs. In 2017, Room to Read will join the Financial Education Program as one of our signature partners.