Empowering Women and Youth through Graduation and Financial Inclusion in Mexico


This project will empower 1,000 ultrapoor and 2,000 very poor women between the ages of 18-34 in the most marginalized communities in the states of Yucatán and Chiapas in Mexico to reach economic self-sufficiency through access to financial inclusion and social protection mechanisms. In conjunction with projects in Bangladesh and Vietnam, these three concurrent pilots will serve to drive a cross-country learning platform consisting of high-level working groups to share learning with government stakeholders and large scale NGOs in order to make the case for integration into social-protection systems and broad replication within large NGOs.


By targeting households at two levels of the socio-economic ladder – the ultrapoor and the very poor – the project will test two variations of the Graduation Approach adapted to the social, economic, and cultural specificities of the target populations of each region. The ultrapoor are characterized as highly vulnerable and marginalized populations who face extreme barriers to financial inclusion and economic self-sufficiency. These populations tend to be from indigenous communities, ethnic minorities, and/or people with disabilities.

Project Objectives

  • Increase government responsiveness to the needs of the ultrapoor
  • Facilitate sustainable livelihood development among communities living in conditions of ultrapoverty and vulnerability by ensuring social and financial inclusion.

Project Data

As of August 2019:

  • 894 of ultrapoor indigenous women and young people have developed their productive activities plan, prior to receiving their seed capital grant.
  • 100% of active participants living in ultrapoverty have received training in personal development, self-esteem, communication for development, backyard gardening, rights of vulnerable populations, savings group methodology, and sustainable livelihoods planning.
  • 110 savings groups have been created and trained in the Village Savings and Loan Association (VSLA) methodology, mobilizing 1,717 ultrapoor and very poor indigenous people, including 183 people with disabilities (11%).
  • Trickle Up finalized partnerships with AMTEL, Creative Learning, Enlace CC, and Ko'ox Taani. Each partner signed an MOU, with detailed objectives, implementation plans, and budgets.
  • Trickle Up selected and finalized a partnership in July 2019 with El Colegio de la Frontera Sur, also known as ECOSUR, an academic institution in southeastern Mexico. The agreement outlines the study to be undertaken on the cultural relevance of the Graduation Approach with at least seven indigenous populations participating in the project in Chiapas and Yucatán. ECOSUR anticipates completing the study between April and May 2021 and serve to:
    • Generate the establishment of a forum for discussion and potential influence with academic peers, governmental institutions, and non-governmental organizations in the states of Yucatán and Chiapas to support the inclusion of these populations into relevant programs.
    • Demonstrate the evidence of the impact of the project at the individual, family, and community levels on the empowerment of women living in conditions of extreme poverty.

Yucatán and Chiapas, Mexico

Start Date: 9/1/2017
End Date: 5/31/2021


Number of Participants: 3,000


Vulnerable Populations

Women, Indigenous Groups, People with Disabilities, Youth, Rural, Extreme Poor


Project Components

Stipend for Consumption Support, Asset Transfer, Coaching, Savings/Self-Help Groups (savings and credit services, Technical Livelihood Skills Training, Financial Literacy and Capability Training, Links to government services

Our Partners

Fundación Ko’ox Taani is a civil association that promotes self-managed social processes to help raise the quality of life of families living in extreme poverty in indigenous regions of the Yucatan Peninsula, applying the Graduation Approach including savings, credit, management of sustainable livelihoods, and economic development and implementation of income-generating projects. Trickle Up and Ko’oxTaani have been partners since 2015. 

Enlace, Communications & Training, is a civil association based out of Comitán, Chiapas. Enlace CC focuses on strengthening the autonomy and food sovereignty of indigenous and rural populations while engaging a variety of stakeholders at the municipal and state level.

Creative Learning is a non-profit organization based in Washington, DC. that assists communities, non-governmental organizations, and educational institutions at home and abroad to foster change that has a lasting social impact. Focusing on communities with pressing human needs, Creative Learning enhances the capacity of local organizations around the world to improve the lives of people in their communities.

AMTEL CHIAPAS S.C. is a rural development agency that aims to overcome extreme poverty and conserve the natural territory of the highlands of Chiapas through the implementation of projects that promote the development and empowerment of local actors, and to implement productive initiatives and saving schemes as an instrument to achieve the economic stability of the population.