Since 2013 we have been working in El Salvador with the Technical Planning Secretariat of the Presidency of the Republic (Spanish acronym STPP) and the Social Investment Fund for Local Development (Spanish acronym FISDL) to consolidate public policy regarding the financial inclusion of low-income people in the country, and especially recipients of the conditional cash transfers (CCT) program Comunidades Solidarias Rurales (Rural Communities in Solidarity, or CSR).
Work began in 2012 with an assessment that highlighted the potential for promoting financial inclusion among the participants of government programs; the results of this assessment contributed to the development of a strategy to modernize the payment methods used by Comunidades Solidarias Rurales. A needs assessment showed the enormous potential of the population to save and engage in entrepreneurial activities, while strengthening local leadership among women participating in the program, as well as opportunities to include financial education in the training provided by local government agents were also observed.
This led to the design of a pilot to develop financial capabilities using peer education and the renowned teaching model Escuela Nueva Activa (New Active School), in which more than 70 local female leaders were trained and then shared their acquired knowledge with nearly 1,000 Comunidades Solidarias participants. This initiative, entitled Mujeres Ahorradoras (Women Savers), was evaluated by FLACSO El Salvador and showed favorable results in terms of changes in knowledge, attitude, and behavior among the women. In 2015 Mujeres Ahorradoras expanded to eight new municipalities and reached close to 6,000 new participants. Meanwhile, thanks to local agents more than 82,000 program participants were trained in a method of financial education called Cápsulas del Ahorro (Savings Capsules) which was incorporated into the CSR annual training plan.
In addition, technical assistance has been provided to the government in its efforts to modernize CCT payment methods, prioritizing knowledge exchange and interaction between the Banco de Fomento Agropecuario (BFA) and the mobile payment of CCTs in Colombia. In 2015 the Law of Financial Inclusion was enacted in El Salvador and in 2016 the government made the first CSR payment via electronic wallets; this has opened the door to continued progress in the area of financial inclusion for low-income segments of the country’s population.
We are currently participating in a south-south cooperation project of the governments of Colombia and El Salvador which offers an excellent opportunity for both countries to consolidate their public policies regarding financial inclusion of low-income populations.
Women, Rural population, People living in extreme poverty, Recipients of conditional cash transfers.
Financial inclusion among participants of social programs that make conditional cash transfers.
- More than 82,000 participants of Comunidades Solidarias Rurales received financial education through savings capsules.
- More than 150 local female leaders of the Comunidades Solidarias Rurales program have shared financial education in their villages with some 7,000 program participants in 10 municipalities.
- Some 300 participants have a savings account.
- The government made progress in the first pilot for CCT payments with electronic wallets.
- The BCR spearheaded the Law of Financial Inclusion, which makes it possible to change the CCT payment method from cash to savings accounts or electronic wallets.
- The STPP has identified financial education and inclusion as a fundamental component for eradicating poverty.
Technical Planning Secretariat of the Presidency of the Republic (STPP), Social Investment Fund for Local Development (FISDL), Banco de Fomento Agropecuario (BFA) and Banco Central de Reserva (BCR), Ministry of External Affairs of El Salvador, Colombian Embassy in El Salvador, APC Colombia.
Related projects: Proyecto Capital