Support Us


Can 20 million women upend a continent?

About This Project

DISRUPTION explores the work of Fundación Capital, (Winners of the 2014 Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship), a group of Latin American activist-economists that is pioneering strategies for financial inclusion across the region by aligning policy, market mechanisms, and advances in technology to create programs that place women at the center of the drive for social change.

They collaborate with governments, big banks, and women marginalized by poverty in Peru, Colombia, and Brazil, to expand financial inclusion with a digital educational tools that piggyback on existing Conditional Cash Transfer to layer on ideas of asset-building, saving, and economic rights.

The women who participate in the program become empowered economic and political agents in their communities, leading the process of societal transformation from the bottom up. Fundación Capital has already reached 3 million people; if the model is taken to scale, can 20 million women upend a continent? DISRUPTION sets the stage for this potential paradigm shift.

Latin America is a group of nations on the rise, yet income distribution in the region remains among the most unequal in the world. Our story takes place in South America where hundreds of millions live in dire circumstances and the poorest of the poor are women. It is the plight of women like these, multiplied by millions, which sets a ground of activist-economists on a journey to develop new ideas that confront what they call “the scandal of inequality” on their continent by expanding financial inclusion from the bottom up.

They form Fundación Capital (Winners of the 2014 Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship), a group guided by the idea that the poor can save and build assets, use tablet computers to educate themselves, and access capital through crowd-funding and mobile banking. To take these innovative ideas to scale, the team at Fundación Capital partners with women living in poverty as well as players in the public, private and social sectors, piggybacking on G2P programs (Government to People) like Conditional Cash Transfers (CCTs) to forge a path to sustainable financial inclusion. Programs like CCTs transfer cash to poor households, on the condition that they keep their children in school through secondary education, and take them to health clinics on a regular basis.

“We want to gently twist capitalist mechanisms, to transform the capitalist system, from individual values to values of solidarity.” – Yves Moury, President of Fundación Capital

At the heart of our film are the stories of women who participate in Fundación Capital’s programs, encountering in themselves formerly untapped political and economic energy which propels many into active roles of civic participation. By a lake in the Peruvian Andes, we meet Cirila Quillahuaman who tells us that the women in her village, once “sleeping beauties,” have now been awakened by the program, and are opening savings accounts and starting small businesses. Cirila has been elected as city councilwoman and is now pressing her local government to expand the pilot program. In the slums of Cartagena, Colombia, we meet Agripina Perea who has been able to build her own business from what she learned and saved in a financial inclusion program. “I don’t know where they got such a great idea to unite women and teach them how to save,” she says, “and through that, to teach them their rights.”

These innovative financial inclusion programs which the film spotlights in Colombia, Peru, and Brazil, are now poised to spread to reach millions of women. If the model is taken to scale, can 20 million women to upend a continent? And if they did, what would this mean for the potential of translating insights from the developing world to an international stage?

Filmmakers Statement

Since founding Skylight in 1981, we have been committed to the advancement of human rights and social justice through media.  We have told stories that explore and document a range of pathways to social change; from rebellion against a brutal military dictatorship in Guatemala (When the Mountains Tremble), to direct action movements by the poor in the U.S. (TakeoverPoverty Outlaw), to the role of new transitional justice mechanisms like truth commissions (State of Fear) and the International Criminal Court (The Reckoning), to the relationship of justice to social change (Granito: How to Nail a Dictator).

For more than 30 years, the human rights movement has achieved extraordinary advances in criminal justice, such as the prosecution of military dictators (Argentina, Guatemala) and former heads of state (Fujimori) for grave human rights violations.  But at the same time the roots of the social upheavals we’ve been documenting over this span – extreme poverty and economic inequality – have remained an endemic, even deepening atrocity.  DISRUPTION poses a challenge to the global human rights movement to rethink how economic rights can be made a significant force in development, through strategies that relate more effectively to potential allies in government and the private sector. We believe that those who believe in the power of human rights must find new ways to address economic injustice – and on a scale commensurate with the millions of people around the world that are mired in poverty.

DISRUPTION builds on our decades of commitment to the struggle for human rights to illuminate new developments that should be part of our debates about how they can be expanded and made more effective in our world today.

Pamela Yates (Director), Paco de Onís (Producer), Peter Kinoy (Editor)


The Disrupt Poverty Tour–part of Cine Vagabundo’s TERRITORIES EMPOWERING LATIN AMERICA project– is a mobile screening tour and poverty-mapping project that will take place in South America in the winter of 2015. Led by a three-way partnership between Cine Vagabundo (a Colombian mobile cinema project), Map Your World (a youth-administered digital survey project) and the documentary film DISRUPTION, the project will screen the film and establish youth-led community mapping projects in 10 rural communities across Colombia, Ecuador and Perú.

Following a screening of DISRUPTION in the town center, youth will be trained to design and administer surveys about women’s financial inclusion, or lack thereof, in their community. The data the youth gather will be uploaded to an online platform, visualized with graphs, maps and charts, and presented to NGOs and governments.

Release Date

March 13, 2014

Running time



Pamela Yates, Director
Peter Kinoy, Editor
Paco de Onís, Producer
Melle van Essen, Cinematographer/Photographer

Outreach Partners

Fundación Capital
Knowledge Gateway for Women's Economic Empowerment
Double X Economy
World Pulse
Map Your World
Cine Vagabundo


Can 20 million women upend a continent?

Subscribe To Our Newsletter


Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.

You have Successfully Subscribed!