The social and labor exclusion of women in rural Bolivia is a reality.
In fact, in the Altoandina region, on the outskirts of the Copacabana peninsula next to Lake Titicaca, the situation is even more concerning: 72% of the population is poor, of which 46% are women (the remaining 26% are men), according to the Autonomous Binational Authority of the Lake Titicaca Water System (ALT). From CODESPA we analyzed the context of a delicate area due to its worrying environmental contamination for 500 indigenous beneficiaries (of Quechua and Aymara origin), between 25 and 40 years old. Specific training is necessary for entering various job markets.
This project consists of teaching textile technique workshops in order to provide people with the knowledge and to meet the quality standards for marketing at the national and international levels, which will allow them to advance their careers by having access to those job opportunities that are so in demand. It’s a start. Thus, they will not be forced to move to the cities, where they suffer marginalization due to poor conditions and employment is harder without training. So far, the first results have been released, and 65 jobs have already been created for them.
In addition, a partnership with the social company AYNI DESIGN enables the trainees to network with the private sector in the area. They all receive certifications of their training after evaluation. Furthermore, the implementation of these techniques seeks to promote the empowerment of women and their independent decision-making and personal and professional growth within the company. At other levels, receiving a salary allows them to continue with a traditional and autonomous lifestyle.
Rosa Canllagua, one of the artisans, tells of her experience: “My little girl taught me how to knit. With CODESPA I was encouraged because we have made and sold various items thanks to training. We have to keep working for more AYNI orders to arrive.” Similarly, Susana Ramos also shows hope in continuing with the work. “At 12 years old I was already knitting and that’s why I dared to enter the project. I am learning a lot and we will continue to do so because CODESPA helps us. We live by handicrafts ”, affirms the beneficiary.
Goals and expectations
The tourism in the Lake Titicaca area is an opportunity for them. It is there where, through local handmade clothing, with a high degree of interest from visitors, they can demonstrate their skills. From CODESPA we observed that there was an ideal niche for them in this context and we began to look for possible buyers within the private sector. In this way, its current and future stability is promoted through the following objectives:
- Showcasing the textile heritage in the Lake Titicaca region, developing competitive supplies with market demand for these products, as well as working towards the inclusion of indigenous women in the labor market.
- High-quality professional education and certification of crafts skills for the 500 women.
- Developing a market for clothing crafts from the Lake Titicaca region, consolidating the existing network of work and employability of women living in poverty.
In addition, the expectations summarized below were established:
- Improving the cultural heritage of rural communities in the Altoandina region to avoid losing this culture. This project intends to preserve it with these workshops.
- Strengthening and certifying the capabilities of the 500 women who work in the production of clothing by hand. They know how to knit, but they do not have documents to prove it in a hypothetical job.
- Marketing the textile production of craft associations. Achieving the quality standards required in the national and international market.