Program Title:
Capacity Building for Women Entrepreneurs Project, Guatemala

Sacatepequez, Guatemala

Requested NGO and Partner:
NGO and Partner: Asociación para la Cooperación Educativa

Program Summary:

Foundation Womens Advancement, Programs Guatemale

Guatemala has one of the highest poverty rates in Latin America, with more than half of its population living in poverty. This situation has reached alarming levels especially after the devastation brought by last year’s Tropical Storm Agatha in most of the country’s territory. The effects were particularly acute in the beautiful region of Antigua Guatemala (Sacatepéquez), located in the foothills of three volcanoes. The communities around this area suffered the onslaught of powerful floods that swept away homes, roads, bridges and crops, aggravating their current situation of food insecurity and malnutrition and other ills that poverty brings.

Located in Antigua, Guatemala, Las Gravileas was founded in 1997 by the Asociación para la Cooperación Educativa (ACOE, founded in 1976) to provide intensive technical training, while incorporating personal development, to rural women living in poverty who wish to dedicate themselves to the production and commercialization of artisan products, in order to compete in both local and international markets.

Las Gravileas fosters creativity in their participants while maintaining the culture, roots and traditions of Guatemala. Through technical training, women learn how to produce high quality product and increase their production capacities in order to market their products locally and ultimately export them. The Foundation began partnering with Las Gravileas in 2011.

The specific program to be funded is a three-month program of intensive training for women affected by Tropical Storm Agatha, which caused massive destruction in most of the country, as a result of floods and mudslides, in 2010.

Foundation Womens Advancement, Programs Guatemala

This project was conceived as a realistic and timely solution to give women the knowledge and tools they needed:

  • to generate income as soon as possible, not only to survive the disaster but to rebuild what was lost;

  • to focus on the integral development of the woman, not only her technical and business knowledge but her personal and cultural growth as well; and

  • to uplift the whole community with the development and work of these new women entrepreneurs.

Parallel to the technical training and the strengthening of entrepreneurship is the focus on the integral development of the woman.  Each woman receives one-on-one personal support from a staff member.  Many of these women have tried to enter the market before but due to lack of technical and managerial training, were unable to persevere.  The staff’s priority is to give the technical and business skills and personal formation necessary for them to face the risks and difficulties that come with being a woman entrepreneur.

The project’s vision is that these new entrepreneurs would contribute not only to their families but to the wider community’s welfare.  In being able to do so, they will feel safe and prepared to participate in decision-making in their communities and to ensure that their rights are respected. This is particularly important because women in extreme poverty, with little or no education, suffer gender-based abuses in most lines of work.



Total women and families impacted: 1,500

Total women enrolled in : 250


"I am very thankful for the course that I took at Las Gravileas Training Center. It has given me the opportunity to learn to prepare dishes that I never dreamed I could prepare. The knowledge I acquired has enabled me to establish a small business with which I can help my family economically and be able to move ahead."