Gaby Bandini, new ESPERA Business Facilitator, was recently interviewed for an article in La Voz Latina, a Spanish language newspaper for the Latino community in St. Paul and Minneapolis where Mary’s Pence offices are located. We have translated the article here for your convenience. You can click here to read the original article in Spanish.
Located in St. Paul, MN, the organization Mary’s Pence works to fund projects that benefit women who lack resources in six countries on the American continent and the Caribbean with the goal of contributing to the betterment of their physical, social and economic conditions – to date there are a little over 900 women participating across the ESPERA Program (Economic Systems Providing Equitable Resources for All). Mary’s Pence donates money to the nine groups of women they work with, and the women take out loans that they use to start agricultural or artisan projects or small shops. Many of the participants are illiterate, which is why it is especially important that they have someone who can teach them accounting, budgeting and marketing, and why Mary’s Pence has recently hired Gabriela Bandini (Meixco, Federal District, 1983) as the Business Facilitator for the ESPERA Program which operates in Meixco, Central America and Haiti.
Bandini joins Mary’s Pence with ample experience working with rural communities in Mexico since 1985. She worked as an External Consultant for Corazon Verde – Central de Comercio Justo and the Instituto de Liderazgo Simone de Beauvoir, both in the Federal District, Mexico; a Project Consultant for Espacios Alternativos, S.C. in Oaxaca and Chiapas; Inter-Organizational Relations Coordinator for the Red Binacional de Mujeres Niu Matat Napawika in Puebla; Regional Field Promoter for the Fundación Tarahumara Jose A. LLaguno; Barter Centers and Fair Trade Coordinator for the Centro de Desarrollo Alternativo Indigena, both in Chihuahua; Rural Women Project Director in the municipal of Zaragoza for the Universidad de Monterrey, in Nuevo Leon. She also has a degree in international business from the Universidad de Monterrey (2007) as well as an international masters in rural development from the consortium of European universities of the University of Ghent (Belgium), Humboldt University (Germany), Slovak University of Agriculture (Eslovaquia) and Wageningen University (Holland), and she graduated with honors from both.
In an interview, Bandini spoke about her role as the Business Facilitator: “My role at Mary’s Pence is to collaborate with the organizations of women in the ESPERA Program to encourage and support their different economic activities. Promoting all of those forms of production and consumption that consider the well-being of all and good use of natural resources, assuring access for future generations. The objective of my job is that the economic initiatives of the women generate interest and at the same time permit them to access different resources that support their quality of life like: making decisions for themselves in their family life, their communities and with the different organizations they participate in; adequate access for the use and management of natural resources; formation of equal relationships; access to good health for them and their loved ones; the opportunity to participate in actions or activities that make them feel fulfilled and the opportunity to develop or strengthen their abilities. These, among other resources that will also be to their benefit.”
In conclusion, about her expectations of this new position, Bandini mentions; “… That there is more just trade and that there is broad recognition of knowledge, of the productive and organizational processes of local women and their communities, that will positively influence the regions and countries where we live and work. I hope to be able to be part of small transformations that through bettering the economic initiatives of these women will serve to construct a better society.