Education is essential for everyone's learning and growing in knowledge. It also helps shape character. Education is even more important if one is a child. It becomes even critical if one is a child in a developing country because in most cases education is the only hope parents and their children have in order to climb out of poverty.
In this light, education for children is considered an investment, a long term one in the next generation of people.
Thus, UOB has decided to make a long term commitment to all aspects of education finance in Rwanda and established a program called "EduFinance." UOB's EduFinance program includes:
|Nathan and Kamari|
- school fee loan for primary and secondary students (SFL for school fee loan)
- school fee loan for higher education students (CSL for college student loan) and
- school improvement loan for school entrepreneurs. (SIL for school improvement loan)
SFL was launched this year and currently 222 students are benefiting from the program. Parents borrow from UOB and make payments over 4 months. It was scaled up in April and will be further expanded in August. UOB is working with Merry Year International from S. Korea on this product.
CSL has been in existence for a couple of years, but it has faced many challenges due mainly to the lack of credit history or of the guarantor. Currently UOB has 46 loans on the book. UOB's partner for this product is Vittana, a US-based NGO specialized in higher education loan program.
SIL has also been in existence for a couple of years, but it has started picking up the pace recently. Currently UOB has four school improvement loans and all are Christian schools. For this program, UOB is working with Edify, a U.S.-based NGO focusing on supporting Christian schools and DFID, UK's arm for international development under its Innovations for Education (ifE) program.
UOB's program was introduced to the Rwandan government and recently I was invited to a meeting with the Prime Minister of Rwanda for a briefing and we promised to provide any assistance needed for the Minister of Education to privatize the Rwandan government's ailing higher education loan program. We honor our God who has led us to come this far with this specialty program for Rwandan students. - Jeffrey