It is a known fact that when women are empowered, communities are uplifted. Providing women with resilient and sustainable revenue streams and a safe and collaborative means of earning is an important tool in the Peruvian Amazon, where illegal commercial activity and harmful agricultural practices threaten forest landscapes. Supporting women in small enterprises is vital to creating positive change in the rural communities that are essential in the fight against deforestation. That is why, for the Cordillera Azul National Park project in central Peru, progress towards overarching objectives is measured, among other things, against inclusivity for women.
CIMA, the Cordillera Azul National Park project implementing partner, works with women in the many communities in the buffer zone of the park to support sustainable livelihoods, such as through the production of traditional handicrafts. Most of these communities have lived in the region for generations, and have a strong connection to their land and the forest, using the many plants around them for medicines and crafts. Without support, many of these communities lack sufficient capacity or market connections to succeed and scale in developing viable businesses for their products. Here, CIMA plays a fundamental role in partnering with these female-led enterprises to provide training and education focusing on effective management, profitability and solvency. This support, combined with key access to finance, is creating positive, long-term and lasting change in the buffer area around the park. Most importantly, it’s redirecting livelihoods away from a destructive relationship with the forest, and towards regenerative forms of production.
The women of the Yamino Community in this area exemplify the entrepreneurial spirit of these enterprises. Read the story of one of these women, Clementina. In partnership with CIMA, this community has worked to develop an association called ‘Kari Isa Xanu Crafts’ which uses plant-based fabric dyeing techniques and traditional designs to create beautiful textiles. Not only does this provide the Yamino women with a sustainable and resilient revenue stream, it’s capturing the generations-old traditions of this community and bringing an economic value to their way of life. For the Cordillera Azul National Park project, supporting small, female-run businesses like this is essential to uplifting communities and protecting key natural habitats in the Amazon and the vital species that live there.