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Mary Coward - Guatemala Business Training for Women
Category: Microcredit | By SDR, 29-Jul-2018 | Viewed 1218  Comments 0 | Source Mary Coward

Working together for Guatemalan Women Business Development

Meet Linci

Linci Cipriani

Linci Cipriani is one of the clients supported by a District 5020 Community Grant in 2018. She started a small business selling cupcakes on the plaza of her village. She enrolled in the Namaste Guatemaya program, to receive business training and a microloan. She used the micro-loan to purchase a small oven, which has helped her to expand her volume and increase customers. 

Business Training

Since 2014, five Rotary Clubs from Districts 5020 and two from District 5100 have worked with the Antigua Rotary Club to provide business training and microcredit to women who live in rural communities near the city of Antigua. A 2015 Global Grant of $72,000 was used to support 118 women. They received training in business basics, and a monthly visit from a business advisor throughout a 9-month cycle as they repaid their loans.

This Global Grant was followed in 2017 by a District 5020 Community Grant of $9,000 which provided business training to another 22 women entrepreneurs near Antigua. Each woman received 10 hours of training and met monthly with a Business Advisor to develop her business.  In addition, each woman received a microcredit loan and was invited to the Business Women's Conference in April at Lake Atitlan.

The training and business support for both grants was provided by Fundaci en Namaste Guatemaya (FNG). FNG has worked in the communities around Antigua since the 1980s, providing business training and microcredit.

Site Inspection

In April 2018 four District 5020 Rotarians traveled to Antigua, Guatemala to meet business women at the annual Business Women's Conference. In talking with the women, they said the training was very helpful to them. In particular, the monthly support from the Business Advisor helps them to stay on track and deal with problems as they come up. They face many challenges in operating their small businesses such as: managing cash flow; finding money for supplies and inventory; keeping business money separate from family money; responding to family needs and emergencies; dealing with loan sharks and extortion.

Conference Presentation

Debbie Ranniger

Debbie Ranniger, Pierce County Passport Club (right), gave the opening address at the Business Women's Conference, in Spanish, with a Kechua interpreter.  After Debbie's address, a client came forward and gave a passionate statement about what the program meant to her.

Mary - Debbie - Women Borrowers

Some of the business women participating in the training in April 2018, along with Mary Coward from Victoria Harbourside (left) and Debbie Ranniger (right). Their businesses include prepared food, clothing, textiles and crafts, small convenience stores, and services.

The Antigua Rotary Club hosted both grants. The Global Grant international partners were Victoria-Harbourside, Bainbridge Island, Tacoma, South Cowichan, Portland and Oregon City. The District Community Grant partners were Victoria-Harbourside, Bainbridge Island, and the Passport Club of Pierce County

Does this project interest you?

If you have an interest in following this initiative or wish to donate please contact Mary Coward at: smarycoward@shaw.ca
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