There is a initiative led by the business volunteers called Somos Mujers (translates to We are Women). It was started a year or so before I came into country. The sector goals for Community Development focus on youth and women as two target groups. Construye tus Suenos is the business initiative to teach entrepreneurship and business planning to youth.
There is a strong case for why one of the target groups for my sector is women. We are focused the economic development of the community, not just individuals. It is stated that women invest 90 percent of their income into the family. In comparison, men are said to invest 35 percent. Investing in the family will lead to better food and sanitation and better access to health services and education. I think that shows why a great percentage of income invested is a beneficial action.
Somos Mujeres started as a cross sector project that included business skills but also health related topics. However, with direction from Washington we needed to place Somos Mujeres firmly under one sector. The idea was updated to fit under the umbrella of Business.
Last summer, with Lydia and Sasha taking the lead, we began to recreate Somos Mujeres. This winter I got to be part of the team to put together a manual of charlas taking women from the initial idea of money management to running a business. In addition, Anna, Robin, Jose and Dora put together a calendar/workbook with important holidays, ideas for small income projects, and an inspiring Dominican woman for each month.
This spring volunteers were given the chance to pilot the charlas and now the word is the manuals are at the printers (there were rounds of technical editing and spanish language editing to go through.
I just wanted to provide a brief overview of the initiative, especially since I did spend many hours working on the manual, although others did much more. And although much of the manual is words, some like Robin managed to sneak in some artistic action like her proposed cover design below.