Devex brings you this visual story from Colombia looking at a program run by the Colombian government and the World Council of Credit Unions.

DURANIA, Colombia — Vicky Abreo runs a small convenience store out of the front of her home, selling a little bit of everything to neighbors along her small mountaintop dirt road. This area of the municipality, known as La Cuchilla, is about two hours by bus on winding, partially paved mountain roads from the closest big city, Cúcuta.

With no way to learn about formal financial services and planning, this distance made it difficult for her to save money and grow her business. But three years ago, she began participating in a savings cooperative in her town. Membership gives her access to additional capital for her store through loans from the credit union, as well as a low-cost savings account.

“Here in our houses we didn’t save, but now that they’ve given us this ability, it’s a very viable thing for us to begin to save,” Abreo said, sitting in the enclosed porch behind her storefront.  “And if you have a savings account, you can get a loan.”

Formerly one of many rural Colombians who were unbanked, she now leads the cooperative group once a month, helping other community members learn about the importance of saving.

Join Devex on the ground in Colombia and read the rest of the visual story here.

About the author

  • Teresa Welsh

    Teresa Welsh is a Senior Reporter at Devex. She has reported from more than 10 countries and is currently based in Washington, D.C. Her coverage focuses on Latin America; U.S. foreign assistance policy; fragile states; food systems and nutrition; and refugees and migration. Prior to joining Devex, Teresa worked at McClatchy's Washington Bureau and covered foreign affairs for U.S. News and World Report. She was a reporter in Colombia, where she previously lived teaching English. Teresa earned bachelor of arts degrees in journalism and Latin American studies from the University of Wisconsin.

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