WEAVE: Women in Entrepreneurship is a project focusing on strengthening the businesses and support networks of women living in the easternmost part of the Villa de Zaachila Municipality, in Oaxaca, México, in the area surrounding the largest landfill in the state. It promotes the creation and strengthening of solidarity networks so women can create individual and collective strategies to face gender-based challenges that limit their full participation inside and outside their community, as well as their economic empowerment. WEAVE: Women in Entrepreneurship provides training, support and a safe space to encourage the empowerment, autonomy and agency of women participants, in order to improve their small businesses and increase their income and well-being.
WEAVE: Women in Entrepreneurship is a project implemented by SiKanda in collaboration with the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women, with funding from the Trafigura Foundation, Oxfam Mexicoand co-financing from the European Union. We work closely with the Vicente Guerrero Community Center in Villa de Zaachila, SiKanda’s formal strategic partner since 2011, which facilitates interaction with the community and provides a safe space to implement the actions. Likewise, we work with the School for the Social Economy of Oaxaca, which supports business training and consulting.
WEAVE: Women in Entrepreneurship focuses on training and accompanying women with micro-businesses in the Zaachila Oriente area, where the largest landfill in the state of Oaxaca is located. It promotes the creation and strengthening of solidarity networks so women can create individual and collective strategies to face gender-based challenges that limit their full participation inside and outside their community, as well as their economic empowerment. WEAVE: Women in Entrepreneurship provides training, support and a safe space to encourage the empowerment, autonomy and agency of women participants, in order to improve their businesses and increase their income and well-being. In addition, the project links with key state and non-state actors to strengthen the project’s gender focus and access to services for female entrepreneurs in Zaachila Oriente.
The project arises from the same women in Zaachila Oriente: A group of women who collaborated in other SiKanda projects focused on youth, and created a collective in collaboration with SiKanda for the sale of artisan products and the generation of income. In the summer of 2018, SiKanda conducted an assessment with more than one hundred women with small businesses living around the landfill. In this assessment, we learned that for women with small businesses, their priority is their sons and daughters, their education, their health, and their family. Women value their businesses because they give them extra income and allow them to have autonomy. They also value their business because they have flexible times and thus the women can face their multiple responsibilities. Most businesses are of food preparation and sales, or the sale of groceries, clothing, stationery, or other items.
- 46 hours of training in small groups with the objective of developing tools for business strengthening.
- Personalized support to answer questions and develop business strategies.
- A consulting area named “One-Stop-Shop” in the Vicente Guerrero Community Center, for continuous mentorship and links to services.
- A monthly session aimed at local women, where participants can meet to talk about the problems their businesses and lives face, and thus foster support networks.
- Fairs to showcase the products of the participants, as well as making visible and value the work of women, the importance of economic empowerment, and their experiences within the program.
- Linkage with other non-governmental associations and government institutions to strengthen the environment for women entrepreneurs in Zaachila Oriente.
- Daycare service for the participants’ children during trainings, so the women can focus on their learning process.
- Link with state and non-state actors to strengthen the gender focus and entrepreneurship in Zaachila Oriente.
- Expand the markets for women and project visibility.
- Continue training in Zaachila Oriente for the next two years, reaching 300 women.
- Develop a pertinent and replicable methodology for entrepreneurship training in peri-urban areas, with a strong focus on gender and social economy.