A Message from RPCV Elyse:
I would like to thank everyone who was able to contribute to the fundraising campaign “Economic Empowerment of Women in Colombia.” Investing in women not only promotes gender equity but also strengthens economies. In a culture where women are often forbidden or discouraged to pursue income-generating activities, this grant serves as proof that people around the world believe in their business and success.
The campaign funding will be used to support a chocolate dessert business called “Transformación,” located in the municipality of Santa Marta, Colombia. “Transformacion” is run by four women and one young man who are all members of a farming collective called “Guaradbosques de la Sierra.” The farming collective finds both national and international markets to sell the cacao grown by its members. As a small scale farmer, it is nearly impossible to live off of just selling cacao beans, thus “Transformación” was formed with the intention of transforming the cacao bean into different chocolate desserts and selling them to the ever-growing tourism market in their region.
“Transformación” is currently using the farming collective’s workspace to make desserts, which violates health sanitary codes. Part of the campaign funds will be used to carve out a workspace for them so they can comply with these health sanitation codes. Additionally, the group lacks machinery to make an edible chocolate bar. While they do have the machinery to make drinking chocolate, edible chocolate is a more desired good in the market they are selling to and would allow them to increase their profit margins.
With improved sanitary conditions and chocolate making machinery, “Transformación” can safely sell a more desirable product to a larger market. This, in turn, will allow them to provide for their families and invest not only in themselves but also in their children. Transformación hopes that other women can get involved in their business and that it can symbolize a wave of social change.