The European Union recognizes rural women empowerment efforts made by the microenterprise Chab ‘il Ch’Och in Panzós, Alta Verapaz
The women firm Chab’il Ch’Och located in Panzós, Alta Verapaz, was proposed by AGEXPORT as a success case at one of the four categories of the ‘Transforming Lives’ contest organized by the Al-Invest 5.0 Program. During its General Meeting that took place from June 13 to 15th, 2018 in Antigua Guatemala, the European Union decided to award the company and display it as a Latin American success story.
The company was recognized for its focus on integrating women in the economy, providing business empowerment to all women partners with its mentoring program and its efforts to develop the Panzós community. Chab’il Ch’och has worked with the European Union’s Al-Invest 5.0 program and AGEXPORT’s Cardamom Committee to strengthen key skills on topics like managing community savings, diversifying crops, empowerment of its management group, planting orchards, bookkeeping and phytosanitary brigades, among others.
We are proud to see that during this year’s Al-Invest 5.0 Annual Meeting, it was a Guatemalan company the winner of the ‘Women inclusion in the Economy’ category. With the success story of ‘women as wellness providers with cardamom’ we displayed the work of our microenterprise Chab’il Ch’Och and its 28 women partners in Panzós, Alta Verapaz. They apply in their business agriculture best practices to add value to Guatemalan cardamom and sell it in several world markets, promoting also other economic activities in their community, said Mr. Moisés Mérida, AGEXPORT’s International Alliances Manager.
The jury was formed by members of the European Commission and business organizations of the European Union which selected four out of 12 proposed success stories on the following categories: ‘Building business and trade links’, ‘women inclusion in the economy’, ‘strengthening institutions and boosting markets for services’ and ´innovation and improvement of SMEs productivity’. At the event, the Federation of European Chambers of Commerce and Industry (EUROCHAMBERS) oversaw giving the awards.
With help from the Al-Invest 5.0 program, AGEXPORT’s Cardamom Committee has pursued since 2016 different training sessions for Chab’il Ch´och’ which led to the implementation of different improvement actions inside the firm, such as investing on a grocery store for community members to be able to purchase basic needs products. With this store, the company also sells vaccines for poultry and organize phytosanitary brigades at convenient costs. These projects boost the development of Panzós and raises food security indexes in this community.
The support given by AGEXPORT’s Cardamom committee and the Al-Invest 5.0 program of the European Union has served as a model not also for other women of Panzós to organize and pursue similar objectives but also for nearby communities which seek to be part of this successful company Chab’il Ch’Och’. Therefore, we plan to continue promoting women-led companies in the area. In fact, we are implementing the same methodology used with Chab’il Ch’Och’ in 170 microenterprises, allowing women to invest their revenues on other businesses. This not only supports a higher local development but also allow them to be part of cardamom global supply chains, said Mr. Jorge Mario del Cid, president of AGEXPORT’s Cardamom Committee.
Guatemala is one of the main providers of cardamom in the world. On 2017 only, the country exported a total of US$366 million and provided 60% of all cardamom being sold across the world. Around 350,000 families are involved in cardamom production in Guatemala, which indirectly impact as much as 1 million people across the country, mainly in: Huehuetenango, Quiché, Alta Verapaz, Izabal and Zacapa.
AGEXPORT’s Cardamom Committee, with help from the Al-Invest 5.0 Progam, has helped 162 microenterprises and rural women associations with workshops to increase savings for investment opportunities, gathering more than Q50,000 to start business ideas, said Mr. del Cid.