Women in Business
Growing up in Guatemala with no father, Ana and her brothers worked the fields and made handicrafts to support their mother with household expenses.
Now married with two children, Ana is a part of a cooperative, which creates economic opportunities for its all-female members, and helps them fight malnutrition and hunger in their community by producing protein-rich soybean derivatives including milk, cheese, biscuits and pancakes.
CARE trains the women in food production, business management, product marketing, leadership skills, and helps them access trade fairs for better prices.
Unlike many other women in her community, Ana is lucky to have a supportive husband, who encourages and advises her in her work:
“In our community men have the power. We have to become more involved as women, so that we too can have a voice and be involved in decision-making. Men need to start taking women more seriously and see our potential – we are also people with business dreams.”
But it is not just men whose opinions have changed, Ana adds: “I now have more respect for women entrepreneurs – it is not easy and requires determination and persistence.”
Having started out in Ana’s house, the cooperative now has its own production building with all the necessary health and safety measures to enable the business to grow. Ana proudly adds: “We have secured our first commercial contract.”
Ana hopes to see the cooperative continue to promote the economic development of women by providing an income to its members. When Ana finally speaks about what she is most proud of, she simply concludes: “I have lost the fear of failure.”