The LISTA Initiative
The LISTA initiative, which stands for “Logrando inclusión con tecnología y ahorro” (Achieving Inclusion with Technology and Savings) promotes financial inclusion as a strategy for helping low-income families overcome poverty. This initiative builds on the experiences of the Colombia LISTA pilot project, which designed, developed and tested technology-based financial education instruments and strategies with low-income individuals, primarily female beneficiaries of government social programs, living in rural and peri-urban areas of Colombia. LISTA was a unique proposal for providing mobile learning at the base of the pyramid in Latin America and the Caribbean by offering a tablet-based application, the first of its kind in the world, which provides financial training for low-income persons in rural areas, helping to overcome obstacles such as access and literacy, and enabling them to make better and more informed decisions. Colombia LISTA created an interactive experience designed for low-income users in order to teach topics such as the ABCs of Savings, helping users set savings goals, and familiarizing them with automatic teller machines, all the while covering transversal topics such as gender and empowerment.
The application prototype, tested over a period of ten weeks in ten Colombian municipalities, was able to reach 1270 low-income users (primarily women) even in the most rural areas (given its offline functionality and portability) which is precisely the population that is most affected by extreme poverty in the region. By integrating audio and videos, this didactic application helped overcome literacy barriers and provided an entertaining educational experience that motivated, trained, and even empowered women through technology. LISTA also incorporated a strategy of automatic text and voice messages, as well as mobile-based incentives that nudged users toward improved financial behavior. Colombia LISTA was piloted as a complementary educational system for recipients of conditional cash transfers in Colombia through the government’s “Más Familias en Acción” program and the “Red Unidos” strategy for extreme poverty, and also working with the “Mujeres Ahorradoras en Acción” program. The initiative has received the support of the Citi Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the International Fund for Agricultural Development, and has been recognized with a series of international and national awards.
Results of the pilot project show that this high-tech solution for mobile education has a high reception rate (more than doubling initial targets, and with a 74% completion rate), and that it is an effective way to motivate and empower low-income persons as they begin to accumulate assets and invest in creating a better future for themselves and their children. Given the positive preliminary results of the pilot project’s activities and the expressed interest by government representatives and financial institutions, Fundación Capital has begun to expand LISTA within the country and beyond, to apply lessons learned, scale up activities, and design additional ICT-based tools.
As of 2015, the LISTA methodology has been adopted into public policy by the Colombian government's Department of Social Prosperity and is being brought to 100,000 users in the "LISTA para Ahorrar" (Ready to Save) program. It is also being implemented in Brazil with the Central Bank and other partners, and will soon be used in Mexico, Honduras and the Dominican Republic.
LISTA Recognition and Awards
✓ 2019 Integration of LISTA as a case study in the CAF Development Bank’s MOOC course on Financial Inclusion in Latin America
✓ 2014 Finalist for Inter-American Development Bank's beyondBanking award in the category learnBanking
✓ 2014 Winner of the Evaluamos a la Innovación Tecnológica award in the Innovación en Aplicación category
✓ 2014 Finalists in the HILANDO Colombian government catalogue of best poverty reduction interventions in the country (ongoing selection process)
✓ 2013 Winner of The World Summit Youth Award for ICT solutions that help meet the UN Millennium Development Goals
✓ 2013 Shortlisted for the European Youth Award for ICT solutions that help meet the UN Millennium Development Goals
✓ 2013 Asobancaria award for best content in financial education for low-income and unbanked populations in Latin America
✓ 2013 Finalist for m-Inclusion Apps4Change global competition of apps that seek the social integration of excluded groups
✓ 2013 Winner of the SocialApp competition in Colombia (in cooperation with the Ministry of Technology, the Department for Social Prosperity (DPS), the National Strategy for Overcoming Extreme Poverty (ANSPE), Telefónica Foundation, etc.)
✓ 2013 Winner of The App Date Awards 2013 for best app in the iOS category
✓ 2013 Special mention in the App Circus competition for best apps in Colombia