Gender, Entrepreneurship and Local Development for Rural Women

Vanessa Rivera de la Fuente
Posted December 28, 2020 from Chile

The solutions to the socio-economic and health effects of the Covid-19 pandemic are complex. But if we have learned anything so far, it is that such solutions have to include women as proactive agents, aiming to strengthen collective action in matters of citizenship, economic development and sustainability.

The UN Secretary General, António Guterres, pointed out in his message for the International Day of Rural Women that:

"The Covid-19 pandemic has affected more than half of the world's rural women, due to movement restrictions, the closure of stores and markets, and the interruption of their supply chains," adding that "it is unacceptable that rural women, who play such a vital role in growing our food and developing flourishing economies, are at risk during the pandemic. "

The future will be better if it is woven around gender equality and empowering women, boosting local capacities, digital connectivity and collaborative work for development.

Since June, together with a group of women trainers, we have coordinated efforts with rural community Las Mercedes, in Concepción, Chile, to develop an entrepreneurship training program aimed at rural women.

Our objectives are to revalue rural life and circular economy through the preparation of food based on traditional processes of collection, dehydration, fermentation and conservation inherited from their female ancestors; strengthen capacities to undertake with local identity; to encourage the use and integration of business tools and digital communication and to promote associativity, collaborative work and community participation.

The participants are 25 women from the rural sector of Las Mercedes, who face the same challenges that the rural world faces in Chile, related to marginalization in terms of geography, assets, resources, employability, markets, information, technology, capital and other factors. development that does not include land.

In the context of a pandemic, technology has been essential to make this project possible. All the classes have been online through the Facebook platform, which has represented a particular challenge for the participating women.

In my role as general coordinator, I had the opportunity to meet each of the beneficiary women, learn about their difficulties, expectations and life stories. This project was the result of creative and collaborative work in which the rural community was involved from its origin, from the general vision of the idea to be carried out, to the house-to-house distribution of the necessary materials for the development of the classes.

My conviction is that common good is not a concession that a few with power and knowledge decide to hand over to many, but rather a collective construction in which we are all equally relevant and deserve to be heard and respected. And although my vision has not always meet with many, I feel happy and satisfied with carrying out and appreciating the results of putting it into practice, even if for a few.

The medium and long-term vision is to generate a model in associative entrepreneurship wit local identity that has women as managers of creativity and of available resources of the community for a good sustainable living at an economic, food and environmental level. Empowering women to work out a friendly and powerful link with their own history, land and identity would increase the chance for a sustainable development with an alternative of employability that will benefit the entire community that gathers around an activity with its own sign that gives it the engine and motive to move forward as a group and to link with other organizations and people.

 

Comments 12

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Joshua Oyedele
Dec 28, 2020
Dec 28, 2020

Wow, what an amazing job Well done.

Vanessa Rivera de la Fuente
Dec 29, 2020
Dec 29, 2020

Thank you

Beth Lacey
Dec 29, 2020
Dec 29, 2020

Women move mountains and your program is helping them do that.

Vanessa Rivera de la Fuente
Dec 29, 2020
Dec 29, 2020

Thank you. I a doing in facts what people just talk about online

Karen Quiñones-Axalan
Dec 29, 2020
Dec 29, 2020

Hello, Vanessa,

I learn a lot reading from your post, especially this, "revalue rural life and circular economy through the preparation of food based on traditional processes of collection, dehydration, fermentation and conservation inherited from their female ancestors". I agree with this. I dream of owning a piece of land some day so I can set something like this, too!

The initiatives you began are so caring, not just for women, but for the environment as well! Kudos to you! Thank you for sharing this with us.

May your 2021 be filled with love, joy, strength, grace, and abundance!

ESEZA MUKYALA
Dec 29, 2020
Dec 29, 2020

Wow dear sis,
You are really doing what others just talk and write. It's a motivation and inspiration. Well done dear. Eseza Mukyala........ Lots of love.

Nini Mappo
Dec 30, 2020
Dec 30, 2020

Dear Vanessa,
This is so so beautifully worded: "My conviction is that common good is not a concession that a few with power and knowledge decide to hand over to many, but rather a collective construction in which we are all equally relevant and deserve to be heard and respected". Because when we pull rank, we devalue the contribution of others, and consequently miss out on opportunities to empower, develop, include, and harness what they can contribute to build whatever we are building. Which is a great loss to all parties really, and the interrelationships therein. Thank you for this update. It is encouraging to see your vision in action and the change it is making. Good on you.

Tamarack Verrall
Dec 30, 2020
Dec 30, 2020

Dear Vanessa,
Women in Chile are leading the way these days in calling for the ideas of women to be heard and implemented. What you are describing is such justice in action. Making the work women do viable, protecting the work and ways of living in harmony with the earth and addressing the needs for sustainable living. So few recognize how much sustainable farming and basic taking care of the earth and of needs of people, is being done by women. This information is so important, and a beautiful blueprint for many. "...the preparation of food based on traditional processes of collection, dehydration, fermentation and conservation inherited from their female ancestors". Few realize how many women farmers there are. Thank you for honouring them in word and deed.

Ana Isabel Paraguay
Dec 30, 2020
Dec 30, 2020

Congrats!
Keep up this amazing initiative. Best.

rebecca.tang
Jan 01
Jan 01

Thank you for sharing and your awesome work. Please continue the meaningful work to help the women in rural areas. They need your help to improve their situation.
Keep the great work on! May Almighty God bless you all! Happy 2021!

mugoli
Jan 15
Jan 15

Thank you very much Vanessa for a very good text of your work.
I see covid-19 is a big lesson for everyone.
some have made better plans.

Aparna Sanjay
Jan 26
Jan 26

Wonderful! I loved what you said about "revaluing rural life". It is a great initiative to marry entrepreneurship, local traditions and the community. Kudos for the great work and all the best!