Inclusive Livelihood Development in Tamahú


Trickle Up is assisting the municipality of Tamahú, Guatemala, in implementing the Graduation Approach with 150 women and people with disabilities living in extreme poverty in eight rural communities. Together, we are adapting the traditional Graduation Approach components, including livelihood planning and training, seed capital grants, mentoring, and savings groups, to fit the needs of people with disabilities.


Working with the staff of the municipality and a savings group of former Trickle Up participants acting as peer mentors, we provide training, mentoring, and coordination services to project participants. The project has the dual goal of empowering participant households to overcome extreme poverty and building the local government’s capacity and commitment to include the poorest and most vulnerable in their policies, budgets, and programs.

Project Objectives

  • Generate opportunities for economic and social well-being for 150 households in 8 communities of Tamahú who live in extreme poverty, while including people with disabilities as 10% of project participants

Project Data

Baseline demographic data:

  • More than 95% of participants identify as indigenous (primarily Maya Poqomchi’)
  • 21% of participant households are affected by a disability.
  • 99% of participants are women, and their average age is 39.
  • 99% of households indicated they didn’t have sufficient resources to cover their needs.


Six months after the disbursement of seed capital:

  • 43% of households have increased the value of their seed capital by 10%
  • 70% of households have diversified their productive activities
  • 74% of participants are engaged in rearing livestock (principally poultry and pigs), 72% in agricultural (corn, beans, peanuts, vegetables), 57% in the production and vending of textiles, 14% in small vending (fruits, basic grains, flowers), 8% in small shops, and 3% in the production and vending of prepared food.


At 7 months into their first savings group cycle:

  • Participants have an average of $44 (Q337) in savings
  • Groups have generated $2268 (Q17,024) from interest on group loans and fines, with an average profitability rate of 32% over the original share value.
  • 77% of participants have taken a loan from their group to invest in their productive activities.


Endline data:

  • 99% of households no longer experience severe hunger, compared to 71% at the beginning. 75% of participants report experiencing less hunger after the project.
  • 99% of households report they have sufficient resources to cover basic expenses and to save.
  • 72% of people with disabilities eat meat at least every other week, compared to just 28% at the beginning of the project.
  • 81% of people with disabilities are involved in productive activities.
  • 92% of participants diversified their productive activities. By the end of the project, 0% of participants relied on wage-based income, instead earning from their own activities in agriculture, livestock rearing, textiles, and trade.
  • 95% of participants both consume and sell their products, compared to 57% at the start of the project. This signifies that not only are they able to feed their families but also they see their surplus as a viable source of additional income.
  • At the end of the project, participants had on average a working capital of $223 (Q 1,624), an increase from the initial seed capital investment of $164 (Q 1200).
  • In the first savings cycle, participants saved on average $99 (Q728.41) and 97% of participants continued in the savings group for the second cycle.
  • The combination of all 144 participants’ savings and working capital is $46,700 (Q342,337) at the end of the project. Aside from the $20,460 (Q 150,000) given to participants as seed capital, the participants have generated an additional $26,235 (Q 192,337) in savings and working capital, which corresponds to an increase of 128% in earnings over the initial project investment.
  • 94% of participants completed 4 of the 6 criteria for Graduation, and are considered out of extreme poverty.

Tamahú, Alta Verapaz, Guatemala

Start Date: 4/1/2015 
End Date: 11/30/2016


Number of Participants: 150


Vulnerable Populations

Women, Rural, Indigenous Groups, People with Disabilities, 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, Healthcare Services

Our Partners


The municipal planning office, municipal women’s office and mayor of Tamahú have partnered with Trickle Up since 2013 to deliver services and change to chronically food insecure households. Trickle Up and the local Municipality of Tamahú have been implementing the Graduation Approach, reaching 475 participants to date, which is 41% of people living in extreme poverty in this municipality.