Focus Themes Education


The Credit Suisse Global Education Initiative is supporting selected international development organizations to improve the education opportunities for thousands of school-age children and young people worldwide through locally relevant programs.

Global Education Initiative

Launched in 2008, the Global Education Initiative partners’ programs have aimed to break down barriers of access to education and to improve the quality of educational opportunities for school-aged children in selected countries throughout the world. Between 2008-2014 the Initiative developed strong partnerships and we believe we have made a real impact, reaching over 100,000 students in over 400 schools in 38 countries. More than 15,000 teachers have been trained in subjects ranging from Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) and IT to child-friendly teaching methodologies.

Based on the success of the bank’s Global Education Initiative, we rolled out a new program focused on financial education for girls in 2014. The program is being implemented by the global organizations Plan International and Aflatoun. Aligned with both the Microfinance Capacity Building Initiative and the core business of Credit Suisse, the program brings together Plan International’s expertise in enabling access to quality education and Aflatoun’s expertise in improving the life skills of girls and the development of social and financial skills curricula and teaching methods. 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. We are continuing our partnerships with Room to Read and Teach For All, focusing on building their capacity to grow and deliver effective interventions. In the case of the former, we support literacy instruction, and for the latter, the operational effectiveness of the Teach For All network partners so that they can scale up their programs.

2015 marked the 10 year anniversary of Credit Suisse's long standing partnership with Room to Read. By the end of 2015 Room to Read has benefitted 10 million children through their work in Literacy and Girls' Education.

To see the work accomplished with our 6 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

It is increasingly recognized that young people need not only knowledge, skills and a responsible attitude to managing money but also the confidence to support their ambitions. These are critical life skills for young people to have as they transition from school and join the adult world. Providing children and youth with a strong set of financial, social and personal skills as part of their education equips them at an early age to thrive.

Furthermore, it is clear that young women are more disadvantaged than young men when it comes to financial knowledge and skills. Therefore, our Financial Education for Girls program will target girls and young women with appropriate and relevant interventions to ensure they are adequately prepared for the challenges, both financial and social, that they will face as they transition from school to adult life. Working to increase both the financial capability of girls as well as their awareness of their social and economic rights, the program will enable girls to better fulfil their potential and take advantage of economic opportunities when they transition into adulthood.

Our not-for-profit partners in the Financial Education for Girls program 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

The Financial Education for Girls program is being implemented in 4 countries where Plan International has established relationships with local communities and schools. Through this partnership between Aflatoun and Plan International, we bring together Plan’s expertise in enabling access to quality education and life skills education with Aflatoun’s expertise in the development of social and financial skills curricula. The two partners’ approach to teaching methodology is perfectly aligned: a blend of learning in class and  practical group activities. Girls and boys set up and manage their own savings clubs, some of which may result in small businesses. Aflatoun is for children under 14 years and Aflateen is for those over 14 years. These programs aim to provide children and young people with experience and confidence in managing money which will underpin their future decisions and life choices.

Financial Education for Girls at a glance

Maranhão, Northeastern Brazil
Target: Students aged 11 – 14 years, with a focus on girls
Support approximately 3,250 girls to complete their basic education and transition to secondary school.

The Aflatoun and Aflatten Curricula will be used with the girls 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 will be contextualized and used in the project.
Bikaner district, Rajasthan
Target: Students aged 14 -18 years, with a focus on girls
Quality and relevant education for approximately 82,300 girls in the state of Rajasthan.

The Aflateen curricula will be used here. Special teaching and learning aides will be developed. For the girls in residential schools this curricula will also blend social skills into the Financial Education.
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 will be used. It is in French and has already been 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, an international children’s development agency founded in 1937 works with children, families and communities in the world’s poorest countries to overcome poverty and injustice by encouraging children to claim their rights.

Plan’s long-term practical support enables poor communities to take action to achieve children’s rights to an education, decent healthcare, clean drinking water and more.

The aim of Room to Read is to empower children through the early intervention of education opportunities and to ensure the right conditions for encouraging literacy specifically, and education more broadly.

Room to Read envisions a world in which all children can pursue a quality education, reach their full potential and contribute to their community and the world. To achieve this goal, they focus on two areas where Room to Read believes they can have the greatest impact: literacy and gender equality in education. Room to Read works across Asia and Africa to develop literacy skills and a habit of reading among primary school children, and also supports girls to complete secondary school with the life skills they’ll need to succeed in school and beyond.

Credit Suisse and Room to Read's relationship began in 2005 with post-tsunami efforts in Sri Lanka and India. Later, the bank became the largest corporate financier of the Girls’ Education Program in India and Vietnam, investing in the education of 850 girls at risk of dropping out of school.

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.

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 programs through a combination of social and financial themes, help children and youth learn about themselves, child rights, saving, basic financial concepts, and enterprise. Aflatoun puts children and youth at the centre of their learning process and through practical activities engages them with the world around them. By doing so, Aflatoun believes that the social and financial lessons that they receive will stay with them forever.

In Aflatoun’s educational programs Children and Youth are given space to express themselves, to act on their own, solve practical problems together and develop social and financial enterprises for themselves or their communities. Aflatoun’s educational program was refined over 17 years of action research in India. Following a 10 country global pilot project, the program has been scaled to 15 million children and youth in over 180 countries. It has been adapted to be appropriate for children in different regions and of different ages, and to be taught both in classrooms and out of school. Aflatoun’s work is grounded in a belief that children around the world should have an understanding of their rights and responsibilities. Furthermore, they should know, and have access to, the financial tools they need to realize these rights.

In 2014 we launched a new signature program focusing on Financial Education for Girls. Aflatoun was selected to be one of our two partners to implement this new program in Brazil, China, India and Rwanda.

Plan, an international children’s development agency founded in 1937 works with children, families and communities in the world’s poorest countries to overcome poverty and injustice by encouraging children to claim their rights.

Plan’s long-term practical support enables poor communities to take action to achieve children’s rights to an education, decent healthcare, clean drinking water and more.

In 2014 we launched a new signature program focusing on Financial Education for Girls. Plan International was selected to be one of our two partners to implement this new program in Brazil, China, India and Rwanda.