What is Artistri Sud Planning Next?
Everyone knows that 2020 has been a crazy year. It has been especially difficult for women in developing countries, both in their business careers and in their personal lives. According to the UN, the COVID-19 outbreak has not only had a disproportionate impact on women’s incomes, but gender-based violence has also intensified, with many women forced to lockdown at home with abusive family members. Against this backdrop of social and economic instability, Artistri Sud is more committed than ever in pressing on with our 4 year growth plan to provide training and empowerment coaching to more than 1,000 marginalized women.
Our aim is that these 1,000 women will increase their average incomes by +100% by 2022, and equip them with skills to enable them to make meaningful impacts on their communities. With our curriculum focussed on teamwork and communication, 75% of graduates are more likely to take leadership roles in local organizations and 93% are more likely to spread the empowerment message to women in the community. These are estimates based on our previous results, but we expect even higher numbers for Autumn 2021 and 2022.
Building Relationships in Cameroon
After seeing the impact of AS’s entrepreneurship programs (see here), we are taking our business education to Cameroon, Africa. We have been interested in setting up a program in Sub-Saharan Africa for several years, but could not find partner organizations that were committed to Artistri Sud’s mission. However, we have found a qualified and enthusiastic partner in BPW Cameroon, whose mission of female empowerment is very much aligned with our own.
Like many other countries, Cameroon is a deeply patriarchal society, placing pressure on women to take care of the home and the children. Forced marriages and early pregnancy is a common fate for women, making it difficult for ambitious businesswomen to enjoy the same heights of success as men. In spite of this structural oppression, Cameroonian women entrepreneurs are pioneering the business world, and we want to accelerate this process.
Our CEO Dr. Jennifer Lonergan is thrilled to develop operations there and comments, “Artistri Sud’s work is more important than ever in the current climate of economic instability and uncertainty. There’s a clear need to expand our entrepreneurship program and make it more accessible to a wider number of talented women. That is why we are very excited about our new partnerships in Cameroon.”
We will keep in touch with you about the program’s next steps once it starts to get underway. This is only the beginning, more countries are to come!
Our Strategy for Autumn 2021 and 2022
To achieve our aims for 2021, Artistri Sud has innovated new programs with a focus on tourism to accelerate women’s empowerment. With the support of our local partner organization, Good to Great Tourism, we have designed an exciting new program, Regenerative Tourism, that will capitalize on the growth of regenerative tourism which experts predict will represent a significant niche when COVID is over.
Our CEO, Dr. Jennifer Lonergan comments, “the Regenerative Tourism program will ensure our graduates will be exceptionally well-positioned to take advantage of this new trend for income generation– especially given the Vietnamese government’s commitment to developing sustainable tourism in recent years.”
The program will target skills that can be leveraged in this lucrative market. It will train women in how to take their local knowledge– their familiarity of the area, local recipes, and traditional artisanal skills– and monetize it effectively in a global setting. Not only will this provide the means to develop women’s businesses, it also will help preserve local cultural activities and traditions that have been passed down for generations. One of our most successful graduates, Oliva— a Panama hat entrepreneur– grows her business with hat-making skills that have been passed down through her family for decades, playing an important role in both maintaining traditional culture and innovating it with modern ideas. Regenerative Tourism will thus preserve old traditions and facilitate new ideas, developing the link between the local to the international in the context of tourism.
We are also launching the Women’s Empowerment Acceleration Initiative to reinforce and magnify our empowerment message. It will revamp our current programs in Ecuador and Vietnam 2021 with a women’s empowerment lens, zooming in on women’s rights and social issues. With the expertise of our committee of gender advocacy specialists, we aim to raise awareness about women’s oppression and create solidarity around this issue in the local Vietnamese and Ecuadorian communities.
Continuity is important too. After our impressive results from last year in Ecuador and Vietnam, we will continue to run the ASSET, Leadership and Train-the-Trainer programs in these countries to resume providing the tools to build and support local female businesses. These programs have been critical in the creation of numerous successful, sustainable businesses and the empowerment of women in their personal lives.
Artistri Sud empowers women and builds local businesses. And we want to do more of that. But we cannot do this alone. We need your help to keep building futures and saving pasts. The more support we receive for this mission, the more effective the results. Please join us in helping talented business women and their communities in which they live. Any donation you make will be greatly appreciated. Donate here to make an impact!