These are, of course, incredibly difficult times. It’s important, however, to remember that not everyone stands to be impacted equally by this unprecedented crisis.
Women entrepreneurs in low and middle income countries—particularly in Mexico—are facing enormous challenges at the moment.
The pre-existing barriers to business they face are compounded by the Coronavirus and its knock-on effects: a lack of access to finance, lack of networks and mentors, competing gendered priorities such as childcare and domestic labour, and many more intersecting issues have increased all around the world.
The lack of opportunity and economic downturn is felt most acutely by women living in deprived communities, such as those in our Mujeres AVE programme in Villa de Zaachila, on the site of the Oaxaca state’s largest garbage dump.
Through Mujeres AVE, we support local women to better manage their micro-businesses, money and lives, which has a fantastic impact on their families and the wider area, developing incredible enterprises to service their local community. Unfortunately now, due to the havoc COVID-19 is wreaking on the area, many of these women face the loss of their livelihoods and resulting destitution, making Mujeres AVE more of a vital lifeline than ever before.
We’ve launched this appeal to raise £15,000 from visionary philanthropists like you in order to sustain, pivot and strengthen Mujeres AVE, continue providing crucial support to the women participating, and alleviate the pandemic’s harsh and foreboding effects on them and their families.
One participant, Guadalupe, really encapsulates the entrepreneurial spirit that all the women we work with share. Harnessing her creativity to meet the demands of each day, Guadalupe conducts three different businesses: a popsicle shop, firewood sales from her backyard, and embroidery as part of a women’s business collective.
Like many of Mujeres AVE’s women, Guadalupe started her businesses out of necessity and urgency. After her husband had an accident at work, it fell on her to provide a home and education to their three children. Guadalupe joined Mujeres A.V.E. because she wanted to learn about money administration and cost calculation. She has now concluded the training sessions and has reported implementing the practices she has learned to make her businesses more profitable.
Her mantra is:
“What I sell today is what I eat tomorrow”
Now, we are finding that the Foundation’s programmes are in more demand than ever due to the global pandemic.
Through the fantastic work of our community partner Sikanda, we’ve been able to continue supporting Mujeres AVE’s participants during this crisis. We’ve worked swiftly to adapt our face to face services to mobile-based, providing each of the women with mobile phones so they could stay connected to the programme team as well as other women in the community.
This has ensured we can continue to provide life-changing training and support, so the women can adapt their businesses, stay resilient and keep their families afloat during this time of uncertainty.
We are ready to provide these women with the support they’ll need in the post-pandemic world too, incorporating topics such as selling through online platforms, including WhatsApp and Facebook, and taking high quality photos of their products as part of online marketing strategies. We can’t do this, however, without our visionary supporters and your vital donations.
When we look ahead, and to rebuilding economies, it’s so important to recognise that investing in women and creating a global business ecosystem that is truly gender equal is the greatest opportunity of our time. Each of us can play a role in creating a more strong, prosperous, equal future, so we hope we can count on you to support our mission.
Together, we can help women overcome the challenges they face and achieve a brighter future for themselves, their families and their communities.