At Artistri Sud, we empower women around the world through entrepreneurship, skills training, and building personal networks. Having a global perspective means that we are helping those women who are most in need, but it also means that the selection of the location for Artistri Sud’s programs is a critical step to success. For this reason, we choose our host countries following strict key criteria that help favor the conditions for greatest impact and best fit for our organization. Our vision is to foster the development of more women leaders in developing countries, who at the same time can become agents of change within their families and communities.
What are the factors that we use to select countries for the ASSET program?
Alignment with Global Affairs Canada (GAC): Gender equality has become Canada’s priority when providing international assistance, for which the Government has committed to investing $150 million over five years to women’s organizations that advance women rights in developing countries. Canada also prioritizes assistance geographically, having identified around 40 countries that are slated to receive the bulk of Canada’s official development assistance budget. As a registered charitable Canadian organization working internationally, Artistri Sud has chosen to align our priorities with those of the Canadian government in order to leverage their research and potentially maximize our combined impact.
Country safety and security conditions: We follow the Travel Advice and Advisories of the Government of Canada to identify the locations that would provide us with an environment that is more likely to ensure the safety and security of our participants and our teams. It is also important and necessary to consider location for our programs that will allow us to more easily coordinate with partners and other actors on the ground.
Partnerships and alliances in place: Past experience has shown that development projects are more likely to succeed when strong, long-term partnerships are established. For this reason, we place a lot of effort in creating partnerships with women/artisan groups, local and international NGO’s that operate in the area, and country governments. Partnerships in the target country not only facilitates access, they also avoid overlapping of activities and add value to outcomes. From a funding perspective, having partnerships on a project also becomes an indispensable criteria that donors, grant committees and private foundations require when considering which charities to support.
Free and functioning market: In order to foster success for our trainees and our programs, we need to be in an environment with a properly functioning commercial market. We look for countries where the prices for goods and services are more likely to be determined by the open market and where consumers are basically free to purchase without intervention by a government or other authority. A free market will enable our trained women entrepreneurs to implement their learnings with the option of commercializing their products locally, and even internationally.
Social Indicators: We have identified a number of relevant indicators in the process of selecting markets for program implementation, both related to poverty and the gender-gap. Social indicators are fundamental for identifying “what and where is the need”, and “how best to approach it”. Some of the indicators that we look at come from the World Bank database, such as: waged and salaried workers, female unemployment, female population living in slums, etc.
The quest for gender equality has begun to take on increasing importance. Society has not only begun to recognize the difficulties that women face in different aspects of life; but also, the positive and widespread impact that achieving gender equality can bring to women, their families, communities and nations. At Artistri Sud, we join the cause by empowering women around the world through entrepreneurship and leadership, in order to fight poverty and build better lives.
“When women work, they invest 90% of their incomes back to their families, compared with 35% for men.” – United Nations, Global Clinton Initiative Report.