All over the world, being female and indigenous means facing marginalization, including limited economic opportunity. Women's economic empowerment improves the well-being of women & families, and contributes to gender equality, poverty eradication, and economic growth of communities. With our Docente Program we are empowering women who have limited economic agency. Women that have advanced through our programming can become paid employees, facilitating programming & assisting with operations.
Indigenous women are disproportionately affected by poverty. Gender discrimination puts women in insecure, low-wage jobs, or unpaid home labor. This limits independence & opportunity to shape their community. Women of SVH's partner communities are further impacted being from isolated communities that speak Quechua, not Spanish (the language of economics, education, & health services). Most paid work for women in this area is farming & tourism. With tourism halted for COVID-19, poverty has grown.
In Docente Program, participants spend the year learning teaching, mentoring & public speaking skills, they help plan, implement & evaluate the Community Health Worker Program, and assist within the office. They learn transferable skills they can take to other professional opportunities, are more likely to be in local leadership positions, and are equipped to make positive change within SVH & their communities. Docentes receive a monthly salary & benefits, enough to support them & their family.
This program demonstrates the importance and benefits of educating & empowering women. Their salaries improve the well-being of their families, they serve as positive examples of empowered women to their communities, they improve health in their communities as health educators, they ensure SVH programming is culturally relevant & sustainable, and they can use their professional skills in leadership positions in their communities, in other professional opportunities, and within employment at SVH.