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Building Bridges for economic and social inclusion of marginalized children and adolescents.

Preparing citizens with financial education, values, respect for the environment and a forward looking vision to create a culture of peace

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Explain your project idea (2,000 characters)

This idea will harness the power of elementary school students to break the cycle of violence, build a generation of students that have learned to work together for a common goal, and build future leaders of El Salvador. The idea comes from a proven savings group methodology called Savings and Internal Lending Committee (SILC). This methodology has been used with adults around the globe, however, in El Salvador it is being adapted for use with Elementary School students. The initial process consists of presentation of the methodology of savings groups with elementary school directors, teachers and parents. SILC facilitators then focus on training volunteer teachers to bring interested students together and created a formalized group with a group objective. In the first meetings, each child sets his/her own personal savings goal while working with the group to elect group leaders, establish shared group rules for attendance and record keeping. In subsequent meetings, individual child savings are deposited into a shared group piggy bank and during group meetings, elected group leaders report back to the group the amount of individual savings and group savings that have been collected. Throughout the cycle, each group reports on progress to the Parent Teachers Association and each child receives his/her total savings at the end of the school year. Through the implementation of this methodology, students strengthen their reading and mathematics skills while they also learn the values of teamwork, leadership, discipline, solidarity, respect and responsibility.

Who are the beneficiaries? (1,000 characters)

The main beneficiaries will be students from kindergarten through primary school, ranging from ages 6 to 16, many of them residents in rural areas in 6 municipalities in the department of Morazán, El Salvador. This is a marginalized territory characterized by subsistence agriculture, little-to-no economic investment to create livelihood opportunities for families, scarce access to information technology, increased degradation of natural resources, social violence and some of the highest rates of emigration of young people in the country. The idea aims to strengthen the educational formation of these children and adolescents while building the capacity of their parents and teachers to create enabling environments for these youths. While the idea uses a savings group, methodologies, its principal goal is to prepare these children and adolescents to become active and responsible citizens, better prepared to lead their communities in the future.

How is your idea unique? (1,000 characters)

The idea is unique because it empowers children and adolescents in marginalized communities to become future leaders. It has a proven methodology with experience implementers, Asociación para el Desarrollo de las Comunidades de Morazán y San Miguel (PADECOMSM) and Fundación Campo; it is low-cost and replicable; and it directly addresses a Ministry of Education need to help provide leadership growth opportunities for it students.

Idea Proposal Stage (choose one)

  • Early Adoption: I have completed a pilot and analyzed the impact of that pilot on the intended users of the idea. I have begun to expand the pilot for early adoption.

Tell us more about your organization/company (1 sentence and website URL)

PADECOMSM, is a local organization with 30 years of work oriented to local economic development and environmental management, which promotes economic initiatives through the formation of capacities and alliances, contributing to a rational management of resources and the generation of income for improvement of the quality of life of the population with whom we work. Facebook: /PADECOMSM.

Expertise in sector

  • 7+ years

Organization Filing Status

  • Yes, we are a registered non-profit.

In 3-4 sentences, tell us the inspiration or story that encouraged you to start this project.

Susan Daniela Amaya Argueta, 10 years old.She studies at the Centro Escuela "Unión Panamericana" in the municipality of Perquín, department of Morazán, El Salvador. Daniela is part of a savings group in her school, in which she saves, making use of a part of the allowance that her mother gives her for spending at school. Daniela comments: When I started in the school SILC group, I decided to save and work towards my goal of buying a computer. It took me two years but I did it.

Please explain how your selected topic areas are influenced, in the local context of your project (1,000 characters).

The economy in El Salvador is characterized by a high level of remittances from Salvadorans. A remittance is a transfer of money from a Salvadoran working abroad to an individual in El Salvador. According to a study on the population receiving remittances from the InterAmerican Development Bank (Sep 2017), the beneficiaries of remittances have low levels of formal schooling. 70% of recipients have completed only primary education or less than 7 grades. The average number of years of education reached among the recipients of remittances is 4.8 compared to 6.4 for the total population of El Salvador. A quarter of the beneficiaries of remittances are children under 14 years of age. The Department of Morazán receives 30% of the total remittances for El Salvador. Because of these low levels of education and high dependence on remittances, there is an opportunity to promote financial education processes at an early age, motivating savings, investment in education and community development

Who will work alongside your organization in the project idea? (1,000 characters)

Based on the experience gained, the key actors participating in the project are: • PADECOMSM and Fundación Campo: will be the executors of the operational and administrative actions of the project • Catholic Relief Services CRS: will have a technical advisory role • Departmental authorities of the Ministry of Education: institutional coordination for the implementation of the methodology and the possibilities of scaling up. • Educational community (teachers, students and parents): they are the main actors for the implementation of the methodology. PADECOMSM and Fundación Campo are permanent institutions in the territory. Working with savings groups in schools is a long-term institutional commitment for both organizations as they work to promote the development of the communities that are their social base.

Please share some of the top strengths identified in the community which your project will serve (500 characters)

1) The intervention zone is characterized by an organizational base directed by older adults aware of the need to develop future leaders. 2)The methodology has already been tested in the proposed target area. PADECOMSM, has been implementing the savings group methodology since 2015. It currently works in 23 SILC groups, comprised of 440 students from 5 School Centers, in the municipality of Perquín, department of Morazán. Fundación Campo has 10 school-based SILC groups with 181 students.

Geographic Focus

2,000 students in 6 municipalities in the department of Morazán, Republic of El Salvador.

How many months are required for the project idea? (500 characters)

36 months. Key stages • Strengthen Local alliances (Ministry of Education, Municipal Leaders, communities, and schools) – 3 months • Preparation of technical equipment and work material; Conduct baseline – 2 months • Implementation: Teacher training, organization of savings groups, development of complementary activities – 3 months • Accompaniment and training plan for students – 28 months • Documentation, evaluation and dissemination of results – 4 months

Did you submit this idea to our 2017 BridgeBuilder Challenge? (Y/N)

  • No


Join the conversation:

Photo of Jean-Marc Mercy

Hi @PADECOMSM! Great to have you in the Challenge! I loved your video, you were able to convey important information about your project quickly and clearly, which was very helpful to someone new to your idea!

Would loveto learn a little bit more about you, how you came to this solution and why? What small prototypes or tests have you run so far and what have you learned or do you want to learn in the next couple months. You might want to explore this prototyping toolkit:

Looking forward to learning more


Thank Jean-Marc Mercy for your input and advice. We hadn’t seen this toolkit previously but some of the concepts are familiar to us. We have tried to use the prototype structure to answer your questions. It’s our first time using it, so please let us know how we did.

We have more almost 5 years of experience implementing this savings group methodology with Adults and Youth (ages 16 and above). We have a multitude of anecdotes and evidence demonstrating how the methodology empowered both adults and youth.

To date, we have piloted the SILC methodology with 934 children and adolescent students. We conducted a study of the experience and learned the following:
1. The Key Elements:
a. Building leadership in children and adolescents
b. Financial Literacy Education
c. Adult participation in the development/education of children; Parents, Teachers, and
2. We use a model called the Theory of Change model.
3. We will be testing the SILC model (prototype) with students (ages 6-16), parents and teachers. The methodology builds in feedback spaces:
a. At the beginning. Parent and Teacher buy-in and participation is required to implement SILC. Developing student leaders requires the active participation of adult figures important in their lives.
b. During Implementation. Teachers play a critical facilitation role throughout the process
c. At the end. Student SILC groups present the results of their group to parents and the school community at the end of each school year as part of an accountability exercise. During these meetings, we record “Most Significant Change” stories to better understand the impact of the group on each participant.

We are waiting for your comments, to improve our idea.