LISTA INITIATIVE - Fundación Capital
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Developed as an alternative to in-person financial training, the LISTA Initiative (which in Spanish stands for Achieving Inclusion through Technology and Savings) is a self-learning system that centers on a mobile device-based digital application designed to develop the financial capabilities of people living in poverty and/or vulnerable conditions.


LISTA is a comprehensive methodology and an adaptable digital solution that is personalized according to the needs of different populations (whether they receive government transfers, are clients of financial institutions, lack access to financial products, etc). The content is based on extensive knowledge of the target population, thereby creating an inclusive solution that is appropriate for use even among the illiterate.


In government programs, LISTA has been implemented through a digital tablet rotation program led by community leaders, while the private sector has used similar rotation strategies but managed by employees of the institutions, banking correspondents and/or facilitators.


The initiative began with a pilot in Colombia in 2012 with the support of the Citi Foundation, and has since been improved and scaled up, eventually adopted by Social Prosperity as public policy and reaching 160,000 participants of the program More Families in Action, Colombia’s conditional cash transfer program. LISTA has also been adapted to new contexts and has crossed borders to reach Mexico, Honduras, Brazil and the Dominican Republic,reaching more than 200,000 participants and their families to date. The impact of the initiative has been measured through a rigorous study (a Random Controlled Trial, or RCT), and has received international recognition for its methodology and impact.


Now in the expansion phase, the LISTA Initiative has the support of a range of government and institutional partners including the Inter-American Development Bank and the Organization of American States. It has also been selected to be a part of the Innovation Investment Alliance, an association between USAID and the Skoll Foundation that aims to bring financial training to vulnerable populations, combining the use of ICTs and social capital in the project “Advancing Digital Solutions for Financial Inclusion.”


Countries of implementation: Colombia, Brazil, Mexico, Honduras and the Dominican Republic


Key dates:


Sep 2011: Citi Foundation approves financing for the LISTA proposal
Sep 2012: Implementation of the pilot in the field
Mar 2014: Implementation of LISTA 2.0 and expansion in the field
May 2015: Adoption as public policy and launch of the program LISTA para Ahorrar (LISTA: Ready to Save)
Apr 2016: Finalization of implementation and random impact assessment
Apr 2017: Launch of LISTA 3.0 and scaling up of implementation


May 2015: First trial for LISTA in Honduras
Aug 2015: Evaluation of processes and results of the trial
Jan 2016: Process of adaptation of LISTA to the Honduran context begins
Oct 2016: LISTA is adapted to the local Honduran context
Apr 2017: Launch of LISTA 3.0 with the Government of Honduras


Dominican Republic
Jul 2014: First trial for LISTA in the Dominican Republic
Sept 2014: Evaluation of the results of the trial
May 2016: Adaptation of LISTA to the Dominican context
Jul 2016: Launch of LISTA adapted to the DR; first pilot begins
Oct 2016: LISTA becomes a part of the Operational Plan of the program Progressing with Solidarity


Feb 2016: First trial for LISTA in Mexico
Feb 2017: Adaptation of LISTA to the Mexican context begins


  • To develop financial skills in a practical and fun way, through the use of stories, video testimonials, exercises and simulations that let participants put lessons into practice.



ICTs and gamification (the use of game elements, techniques and dynamics in non-recreational activities) as a way to teach somewhat complex subjects in a fun and accessible manner.
Familiarization with technology and reinforcement of learning through encouragement.


  • More than 200,000 people trained through LISTA
  • Adapted to local contexts and implemented in five countries
  • Integrated into the framework of social protection programs
  • Ties formed with financial institutions
  • Impact proven through an impact assessment with Innovations for Poverty Action
  • More than 160,000 people used the tablets (100,000 were MFA recipients)
  • Support offered through SMS to improve retention of key concepts
  • 1,000 tablets rotating in the field, of which only 16 were lost or damaged
  • The RCT that was carried out showed that LISTA has a positive impact on the basic financial literacy of participants, encourages formal saving and increases participants’ confidence in their ability to put lessons learned into practice.


Key partners: Citi Foundation, Ford Foundation, IFAD, Skoll, IDB, OAS


Brazil: Government of Brazil
Colombia: Social Prosperity
Honduras: Secretariat of Development and Social Inclusion, Government of Honduras
Mexico: Bansefi, Secretariat of Social Development
Dominican Republic: Office of Social Policy Coordination of the Dominican Republic, Government of the Dominican Republic


With respect to the private sector, Fundación Capital has been working with financial institutions on the integration of LISTA into the various financial education strategies, incorporating content that has been adapted to each institution.


Phase: Scale-up