Boosting healthy financial inclusion of people living in marginalized communities through Saving Groups.

Promote local Savings Groups that through self-managed processes favor the financial and social inclusion of people in poverty.

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  • Yes, I fulfill all of the eligibility criteria.

Initiative's representative name

Ma. del Pilar Mariscal Servitje

Initiative's representative date of birth


Initiative’s representative gender

  • Woman

Which eligible market are you based in?

  • Mexico

Where are you making a difference?

1. Altos de Chiapas 2. Costa Oaxaca- Pinotepa Nacional, Huatulco, Istmo 3. Guerrero- Costa Chica

Website or social media url(s) Twitter @leontreceorg Facebook @FundacionLeonXIII

When was your organisation founded?


Focus areas

  • Helping people adapt to technologies of the future
  • Financial skills and capability
  • Creating digital tools

Project Stage

  • Established (successfully passed early phases, have a plan for the future)

Yearly Budget: How much capital do you need to accomplish your proposed project?

  • $250k - $500k

Organisation Type

  • Civil Society

1. Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that led the founder(s) to get started or the story of how you saw the potential for this to succeed

When indigenous women participating for the first time; after one year they receive their savings plus the interest generated; they get excited, they realize their personal ability to make that money, that of their group (to manage savings and loans), they reinforce their self-confidence, in their group, they empower themselves and see the future with greater hope.

2. The problem: What problem surrounding employability or financial capability are you helping to solve?

Financial capability

3. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

FLXIII promotes, encourages, enables and accompanies people, groups and communities with high rates of social and economic marginalization, in the creation and management of a local GA, which summons, organizes, empowers them to save periodically, share a fund so that all participants in solidarity, access a loan during the annual cycle and deliver the savings and returns at the end of the cycle. To do this, FLXIII has a Method that results from systematizing the local solutions that began more than 20 years ago in very poor communities of the Oaxaca and Guerrero Coast, driven by a visionary woman from the area (now a member of the Board of FLXIII). This method has the tools and techniques that support local committees for managing member resources. There is an app app recently developed for FLXIII (with the support of a donor specialized in the development of apps) for the management of savings by the Committees; that facilitates the operations and control of the funds. In 2019, 320 GA operated in 58 municipalities in the states of Chiapas, Guerrero and Oaxaca; with 16,399 participants ( 80% women) mobilizing $ 60 million pesos locally.

4. How are you innovating or using unique approaches to solving the problem?

This approach promotes and takes advantage of essential elements of community life in small isolated towns in poverty, many of them indigenous, others more rural; such as: solidarity, commitment, trust, responsibility, participation; to capitalize on their own benefit, organize themselves, have a safe space to be protected by themselves, to save and access small loans, both to solve unforeseen health situations, but they are also encouraged to invest in the strengthening of their productive activities and / or start some. The incorporation we are making of an app developed specifically for GA that supports the management of the GA but also the access of these communities to technology and the Internet is very valuable.

6. Financial capability: how is your organization or project creating innovative solutions that arm people with ability to optimize their current and future financial health

“Financial exclusion refers to a process whereby people face difficulties in accessing and / or using financial services and products in the general market, which are appropriated to their needs and that allows them to lead a normal social life in the society to which they belong ”EC (2008) According to that and to international recommendations, such as : more controls and more balanced relationships, which protect the poorest and most vulnerable people, so that the population's access to financial education must be expanded, more bridges built between formal and informal sectors. FLXIII promotes and drives the importance of savings and its informal financial inclusion groups, as a preliminary step to a sensible transition to formal financial inclusion; through systematizing good local saving practices, strengthening and disseminating to more communities and other organizations.

6a. Please describe what aspect of financial capability your organization is focused on fostering and how you have measured / plan to measure progress.

FlXIII's theory of change states: “Through the promotion, training and consolidation of Savings Groups the participation of people in self-managed processes that favor their human, social development, the increase of their patrimony; consequently the exercise of their rights ” and as one of its exchange variables: Savings Group Partners increasing their assets as result of its participation in the Group.

7. Marketplace: Who else is addressing the same problem? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

International organizations that promote savings groups in Mexico, with whom more similarities are shared is World Vision, since the emphasis is placed on saving; and others, such as Freedom from Hunger and Catholic Relief Services, which promote micro loans, cooperatives, enterprises and, in addition, savings. Knowing their work, in addition to having had collaborations with some of them, we do not know that they already have digital mechanisms to support the management of the Groups.

8. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?

During the recent years in which the Savings Groups were defined as the main FLXIII program there has been an increase in coverage (from 60 to 320 GA) and growth of individual savings of the participants of 3.5% per year. As part of an Institutional Strengthening process, we develop an impact monitoring and evaluation system, which has been implemented in the last 3 years. For this purpose, the main indicator to measure the increase in individual savings was defined. We have a database that has information of 100% of the partners, and the record of their savings. This situation will be greatly favored with the implementation of the App Atrévete that will allow us to update the database and record individual savings, in the savings sessions at the time the information is captured and synchronized when connecting to an internet network.

9. Financial Sustainability Plan. Can you tell us about you plan to fund your project and how that plan will be sustainable in the short, medium, and long term?

FLXIII is constantly in search of financing for its projects, this is done with Foundations, Private Companies, international NGOs and government; Donors who already have a medium-term relationship with us but also and very importantly are looking for new allies. For the medium and long term, the sustainability of the project is sought through multi-year contracts with the financing partners, investments of FLXIII and transfer of costs that can be absorbed by the Savings Groups themselves.

10. Team

In FLXIII we participate a group of women and men committed to reducing inequality and reducing poverty in Mexico. We have a solid board, a professional operating group, local volunteer promoters and an austere administration that operates transparently. During these years that the project has been growing, a Regionalization strategy has been developed for the accompaniment of the Groups, for which area coordinators, educators and systems technicians have been incorporated.

How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Ashoka page or contact
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Attachments (4)

PFC-Ana-FundacionLeonXIII(17-05-2013)BORRADOR (2).pdf

Final Master Project in Economic Development and International Cooperation (2012-13)Published by FLACSO


Annual Report 2018


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