A system of self-managed saving and credit groups

Topic: Gender Equality
Central America
Gender Equality
Sustainable Livelihoods

Problem & Solution

Rural communities are confronted with limited financial resources and live from day to day. Especially rural women in the communities do not have access to financial mechanisms to promote entrepreneurship and generate financial autonomy.

The solution was to create a system of self-managed saving and credit groups that would allow women to: save collectively, get more financial autonomy, and procure earnings that generate capital for credits.

The experience

In 2013, a "revolving fund" was launched that has supported farmers' economies and improved women's lives. From the beginning, communities supported the option and actively promoted it. Following an exchange in 2015 with indigenous women's groups in Baja Verapaz, it was decided to implement the self-saving system in Maya-Achí territory.
In 2022, the groups sought FUNDATIERRA's support to strengthen the system. Almost ten years later, the initiative has 365 participants in 12 groups, mostly led by indigenous women.

Through boards of directors, activities and finances are managed. 90% of the participants emphasise that the women in the system are the main decision-makers. Following the successes, daughters and sons were included in the system, encouraging savings for future generations.




  • Handling counterproductive practices, such as fining defaulters.
  • Challenge of acceptance by community authorities.



  • More gender sensitivity within the household
  • Women play a decision-making role within the group, determining the amount to be saved and the use of loans and interest.
  • Women are trained in humanistic and political issues, which gives them knowledge about their rights and strengthens their self-esteem.
  • The community economy is strengthened by diversifying the circulation of money.

Lessons Learned


  • Training and understanding of the self-help system are essential to its success.
  • Group decisions and dynamics, together with group regulations, form the basis of the system.
  • The exchange between members from different communities stands out as one of the best ways of learning.
Realisation period 2013-2023
Location Ciudad Tecún Umán, Guatemala

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