As the success of women participating in ESPERA grows – so does the number of women involved!
Recently, nine new women approached the ESPERA network, Red de Mujeres Nicarahualt, and asked to be included in the ESPERA program. These women belong to a village named Nindiri Masaya in Nicaragua.
The women had seen the success of ESPERA participants in the nearby communities that make up the Nindiri region. In particular they had witnessed two collectives, named “Delicias de Mi Tierra,” and “Sol de Vida, Pan de Vida,” whose businesses were seeing strong returns on investment. After hearing about the women’s experience with ESPERA, the women of Nindiri Masaya wanted to be involved.
The local ESPERA coordinator, Auxiliadora Salgado, recently met with the group to explain the requirements of being in the ESPERA program, as well as the process for initiating their participation. The Red de Mujeres Nicarahualt has set up an application process for new groups to join the network. This process will take three months, during which Auxiliadora will help them prepare to responsibly circulate an ESPERA loan pool.
Many of the women already have plans for their loans. Elizabeth is planning to sell clothes. Emelína wants to make and sell enchiladas and tortillas. Reyna wants to sell cheese and chicken. María Auxiliadora and María Emérita will make improvements to their small tienda.
After the application process is complete the women will receive $1350 from the Red’s community lending pool. This will give each woman an initial loan of $150 to pursue their goals. To begin the process the group of nine women named themselves Mujer de Fe y Esperanza (Woman of Faith and Hope).
Auxiliadora reports that the women are very excited to be a part of the Red de Mujeres Nicarahualt and the Mary’s Pence ESPERA program. Join us in welcoming these nine new women to the ESPERA program!
ESPERA Women Learn Recordkeeping Skills to Improve their Businesses
Auxiliadora also shared with us updates of her record-keeping training. Auxiliadora has a university degree in accounting and, over the last few months, she has been traveling to the groups that compose the Red de Mujeres Nicarahualt to train the women on how to keep good records. She is helping the women understand how to track the cost of parts and labor, so they can adequately price their products. She is also teaching them how to keep records of their cash flow, what they produce, and what they sell.
While some women admit this is a tedious process, others have said that keeping good records has improved the success of their businesses. In her visits, Auxiliadora works to build rapport with the women in a way that builds their confidence. She encourages the women to share their difficulties and joys, thereby creating a space for them to be in solidarity in their struggles, and to motivate one another by celebrating successes.
After initial meetings with groups, all of the ESPERA women in Nicaragua have made a personal commitment to participate in the record-keeping trainings and follow through on the learnings.
Over the coming year Auxiliadora will be replicating this training with other ESPERA groups across the region. This is just the first step in our goal to enhance the sustainability of the women’s businesses. Keep an eye on our blog – soon we’ll be sharing more news about this goal, and our entire strategic plan for the next five years!
Visit our YouTube channel and listen to powerful stories of women’s experiences in the ESPERA program, and their journeys of self-empowerment and community building.