From 1 to 22 July 2022, we lead a training for twenty women in the city of Cali in Colombia.
In order to illustrate the training activities and the Grassroots Project of the women beneficiaries in the city of Cali, it is important to describe the context to which it refers. Furthermore, it is essential to understand the interest and motivation of the latter, as well as the topics to be discussed during the various meetings held, starting from the screening of entrepreneurial and social innovation skills.
Cali is one of the main cities of Colombia; third in the country by number of inhabitants; capital of the Valle del Cauca department and located on the Pacific in the south-west region. Furthermore, it is the main economic, industrial and financial center of the area. As of April 30, 2020, according to the Migración Colombia report, the total number of Venezuelan refugees and migrants in Colombia was around 1.8 million people. Of these, in the Valle del Cauca department alone, there are about 93,000 migrants from the neighboring country. Of which 47.2% are women. In recent years, Cali has welcomed around 62,000 Venezuelans but only 39% have found a source of income in the last year.
These data are cited because the training period was aimed at both Colombian and Venezuelan citizens. In fact, Colombia is today the main destination country of the diaspora from the Bolivarian Republic, which began especially after the authoritarian turn of the Chavista regime in the last five years.
Training for the Grassroots Project took place from July 1 to July 22, 2022. The following women, aged between 18 and 30, participated in this training, each of whom belonged to a local organization.
July 1-8, 2022, 1st week
This period began with the presentation of the trainer and each of the participants. Then the main characteristics of the W4GEA project, its objectives, their expectations / contributions and the issues to be dealt with were illustrated.
As for the part of the personal presentation, this was achieved through a design and interpretation activity. All this with the intention of starting to create a creative and proactive environment. Furthermore, the girls have socialized the work they carry out in the organizations they belong to and have carried out activities capable of stimulating reflection on the importance of communication, teamwork, negotiation skills and the development of creativity.
From the beginning it was very interesting to see the empathy that was born between the women in question and the union of the group despite belonging to different cultures and realities. In fact, some of them were of Venezuelan origin. The young motherhood of some of the Venezuelan women, having no one to leave her children with, led them to participate in training with their own offspring. However, this was not an impediment to carrying out the activities.
As regards the topics, among the first treated, there was that on the competence of entrepreneurship. So, with an activity on menti.it they worked on their idea of this. Then we socialized it and reflected on the importance of this competence, why the protagonists should increase it and how, through this skill, they also contribute to the growth of their community.
Some examples of female entrepreneurship at a national level were analyzed and highlighted both the possibilities and the difficulties of women in starting their own economic activity.
Among the transversal topics that were touched, there were: female empowerment, the deconstruction of socio-cultural thought, the role of women in society and the position of some women on this topic.
July 11-15, 2022, 2nd week
The second week, we dedicated it to the development of the other topic of the project, that is social innovation. They were moments to reflect on what it was and how this theme is capable of having an impact on society.
A first digital activity was carried out, where it was asked to define it in two words. For most of them, they were simply new ideas, or projects that were never made.
In reality, the girls expressed that they had never heard of the specific theme so it was very interesting to make a small comparison and realize that in the end in everyday life it is something that they live unconsciously without defining it in this way. On this occasion, the girls had the opportunity to observe different social innovation projects and do a small experiment with three proposed objects to see how they could be innovative and contribute to change.
In addition, other group activities were carried out.
They got to know and talk with a woman from Cali who participated as an invitation to one of our meetings, who shared her entrepreneurial experience. It was a very profitable and interesting moment.
Other cross-cutting topics touched on were digital innovation, social media and the potential they have when it comes to learning and innovating, given the constant global changes. In addition, a series of activities have been carried out to stimulate creativity, awareness of digital identity and the way in which we manage our data.
Together with the girls of one of the organizations we made a visit to their community making us more involved in their process within the same.
Digital media and video presentations of other female entrepreneurs were also used in various locations in Colombia.
July 18-22, 2022, 3rd week
This period was mostly focused on stimulating ideas. Starting with an open dialogue between all the participants, where each highlighted what she could do and how this could be of support for the grassroots project. They were very enthusiastic, in fact, several initiatives were born by virtue of the fact that many of them had skills or crafts in common, including photography, decoration and pastry. Therefore, it was thought that the basic project could begin or rather continue with a training process that is capable of allowing these women to acquire greater competence and confidence with all the issues seen and that in the same way can make them more aware of their potential. Thus, contributing to the multiplier factor, that is, that they can continue to replicate the same process in their communities.
It was also important to work on SMART objectives, in this way women became more aware of the project idea and in turn analyzed if it could work.
The positive and negative factors of training have been analyzed, I also learn reflections on the importance of language and change of thought. Finally, during this last period we were able to discover the potential of crowdfunding which in Colombia is present with various online platforms, including https://vaki.co/es/.
On the last day, the certificates of participation were delivered and we also had the opportunity to participate in a meeting with other organizations and in another Erasmus project. There the idea of the grassroot project was presented in a simple way and we had the support from the other organizations as it seemed very valid and interesting.
This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. The publication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein. Project N° 617587-EPP-1-2020-1-IT-EPPKA2-CBY-ACPALA