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The LISTA Initiative was born as a strategy to liberate financial education, design to break the mold of traditional face-to-face training and to incorporate new technologies into it. It was conceived as a tool that anyone could use – even those who didn’t know how to read and write – to receive training in their homes and at their own pace. Since 2012, this model has been successfully replicated, providing high-quality financial education to more than 200,000 people at the base of the pyramid in five Latin American countries.

Until now, the target audience for the LISTA Initiative were participants in Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) programs dependent on national governments, and the channel to reach these participants were the community leaders associated with those programs. This model has reinforced the social tissue of the communities, and it also added value to the leaders, who were able to share useful financial tools to their groups, such as the LISTA ATM simulator, which has taught thousands of people to withdraw money.

However, this model has also restricted the scope of the initiative in countries where the need for financial education goes beyond CCT recipients. Since January 2017, with funding from USAID and thanks to the support of the United States, the LISTA Initiative has begun a new process of expansion to bring financial education closer to even more people. The project “Scaling Digital Solutions for Financial Inclusion,” with support from USAID, Skoll Foundation and Mercy Corps, proposes a new model for the LISTA Initiative that takes advantage of local dynamics and actors, to reach new audiences with a more territorial approach. This model also generates new methodologies or ways to use LISTA, and although the application is the same, the actors that participate are different and the way the app reaches its end users is being adapted to each context.

Through this new model, many alliances have been signed with local actors (schools, indigenous guards, banks, local governments or new state agencies, among others). These alliances are shaped as municipal projects with a high degree of experimentation, and they have a strong potential to be scaled at the regional and national levels. Of the 40 000 people who have been trained with LISTA in Colombia, more than 8 000 have done so in the framework of any of these local alliances.

One of the most active departments in this sense is Huila, where on August 14 we organized two events to award certificates to the 200 people trained during the first month of implementation. These events were held in Brussels and Pitalito, through the Mayor’s Office of the Municipality of Pitalito. The main purpose of these two acts was to recognize the importance of financial education and access to new technologies as tools to empower the population and promote a culture of savings and inclusion.

 Among those trained in this first rotation, there are informal sellers of Pitalito and productive associations of orchids of Brussels, who have been able to receive this education thanks to the alliance of Fundación Capital with the Secretary for the Economic Development of Pitalito. Besides, in Huila we have also established partnerships with the Secretary of Equity and Inclusion of the municipality of Neiva, which allowed us to reach older adults, street people, and people with disabilities participating in its social programs.

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