Meet Ana Carolina Telón: Ana is 30 years old. When we first met her, she felt that she had everything. When she wanted to go out, her husband would tell her that there’s no need because he would bring her anything she needed. When she wanted to start a small business to increase the family’s income, her husband told her not to worry and that he would provide her with everything she needed. When she wanted to visit family or friends, she would ask her husband for permission to go.
When we began offering empowerment workshops in her community, she decided to attend. Ana quickly realized that she wasn’t as satisfied as she thought with the dynamic in her home. She shared with us that she now has social and emotional support thanks to the group of women that participate in workshops with her. Ana no longer asks her husband for permission to leave home, she lets him know that she is going out. She decided to start her own income-generating project too; She raises rabbits for personal consumption and sells those that her family doesn’t use. Over time, Ana generated enough income to expand her project to include laying hens. She no longer needs to buy eggs to feed her family and can the eggs she doesn’t use herself to supplement the income generated from selling rabbits. Her knack for innovation shows through in her efficient business practices, like making fertilizer from the chicken droppings to sell, converting a waste stream to income. Ana has even decided to take on a more active role in her community and is now in training to be a community health promoter. Thanks to ALDEA’s program, she has a happier home life, deeper pockets, and a platform she can use to give back to her community.
When roughly half of a population is excluded from social, political, and economic participation, everyone is at a disadvantage. At ALDEA, we understand that strong women translates to strong communities. That’s why women’s empowerment is a key element of our integrated program. We offer workshops on rights education, provide leadership training, and facilitate access to income streams that work in tandem to support women to be active participants in their communities. Our partner communities report significant increases in women’s participation on local committees, more financial security in participating households, and better health outcomes. The overall impact on the community is a key indicator of success, but it’s also important to consider the experiences of individuals to have a better understanding of how our program changes lives from the bottom up. Stories from program participants like Ana help us to see how our work effects their day-to-day lives and how seemingly small changes can make profound changes.