Not even a global pandemic could stop them. After 13 months in the making, ESPERA and La Asociación Coordinadora Salvadoreña de Pequeños Productores Organizados (CESPPO) officially launched the inauguration of their new partnership on May 5, 2021. Together, they will provide training, funding, and resources for women’s business initiatives and emotional wellness programming.
Based in El Salvador, CESPPO is a group of cooperatives of small farmers working on various issues, including fair trade, land rights, and the environment. CESPPO works under the umbrella of The Latin American and Caribbean Network of Fair Trade Small Producers and Workers (CLAC), which is an association of farmers that represents and promotes the interests, empowerment, and development of its member communities.
CESPPO’s work, which represents small producers in El Salvador, specifically focuses on gender equality–which is the primary reason it was chosen to be an ESPERA partner. Although men are members of CESPPO, ESPERA funds will be exclusively offered to women members.
ESPERA Team Lead Gilda Larios says the partnership with CESPPO-CLAC is a positive step forward considering its overall strength as an organization and its recognition on an international level.
Based on CESPPO-CLAC‘s experience of building programming around issues of gender and leadership, Gilda said Mary’s Pence thought they would make a good partnership. With funding from ESPERA, women who are trained by CESPPO-CLAC can access funding to put their knowledge and skills into practice.
“Women have the ability,” Gilda said, “but not the financial resources. CESPPO-CLAC offers the training, but doesn’t have the money to help women start their own initiatives. That’s where we come in; we can give women access to funding to start their own businesses.”