Levantando Chile Fund

$820 $99,180
Raised Remaining
Nov 17, 2011

Understanding the Needs of Our Beneficiaries

Beautifully hand-crafted blankets - Relmu Witral
Beautifully hand-crafted blankets - Relmu Witral

Levantando Chile Update (August-October, 2011)

After launching a social enterprise competition in March, NESsT selected six winning organizations to channel funds, knowledge and hope to local producers, artisans and microentrepreneurs whose livelihoods were affected by the 2010 earthquake. NESsT designed tailor-made interventions to support our beneficiaries in the different contexts where they live and work.

To do this, NESsT conducted research to gather relevant information about our beneficiaries in addition to the conditions in which they lived before and after the earthquake. A few important and interesting statistics about the people whose livelihoods NESsT supports includes:


  • NESsT is supporting a total of 373 people in the O’Higgins, Maule and Bio-Bio regions of Chile.
  • 235 are women (67%) and 138 (37%) are men.
  • The average age of our beneficiaries is 49 years-old.

Income and Livelihoods

  • 53% of our beneficiaries have an average monthly income below the Chilean minimum monthly wage of US$364.70
  • 47% of our beneficiaries employ other people through their work. Of these, 66% employ family members for specific tasks (as opposed to long-term work).

There is great diversity in the livelihoods of our beneficiaries. Although their jobs range in number, they can be grouped in 6 broad areas:

  • Craftsmanship: microentrepreneurs in this group produce different products (jewelry, clothing, decorative items etc.), mainly in materials such as wool, leather, wood, ceramic and fabric.
  • Gastronomy and food: microentrepreneurs in this group produce foods (from traditional Chilean fast food to traditional indigenous Mapuche food); work in bakeries or produce, jams and preserves.
  • Agriculture and animal farming: microentrepreneurs in this group raise domestic animals, grow vegetables and flowers for sale.
  • Tourism: microentrepreneurs in this group rent cabins; run hostels or work in the agritourism field.
  • Beekeeping: microentrepreneurs in this group keep bees to sell honey or byproducts of pollen.
  • Small Business: microentrepreneurs in this group mainly sell clothing, shoes, fruit, vegetables, crafts and used books.

Earthquake Damage, Effects on their Livelihoods and Current Needs

  • 41% of our beneficiaries state that their current working conditions are not appropriate to increase production. 34% state that they are partially appropriate. This emphasizes the importance of providing start-up capital and raw materials in order to help them increase their production and sales.
  • 56% of beneficiaries indicated a decrease in income after the earthquake.
  • 91% of beneficiaries state that the earthquake damaged essential infrastructure in their small businesses.
  • 98% of the beneficiaries requested financial support to recover tools and infrastructure.
  • 91% of the beneficiaries consider that the earthquake affected them emotionally. Of these, 65% still feel affected by the earthquake.

Action Plans

Upon the completion of the baseline study, NESsT and its regional partners in Chile analyzed producer needs to design tailor-made action plans that addressed their main needs to help to recover and increase their income levels in the long-term. These action plans will provide our beneficiaries with a package of support activities that include individual financial support, workshops to provide business administration knowledge, access to consulting services and psychological support.  Action plan activities are expected to be finished by April 2012.

Current activities that NESsT is carrying out to support our 373 beneficiaries also include:

  • NESsT and CET, our partner organization from Yumbel, Chile, are sponsoring the First National Community Tourism Conference in Chile, a fair with the purpose to strengthen business, knowledge and commercialization networks that are essential to community tourism enterprises in Chile.
  • NESsT recently partnered with the University of Chile, where Business students will conduct research to help us assess what areas of investment have a greater return in terms of social impact.
  • In October, NESsT launched a 2nd Social Enterprise Competition specifically for civil society organizations in the O’Higgins, Maule and Bio-Bio regions. NESsT is seeking to work with organizations that have a strong connection with local producers and that want to develop a social enterprise to support them and increase their income streams.
  • NESsT continues to recruit experienced business professionals from the affected regions to our Business Advisory Network (BAN). The BAN is a select group of business professionals stemming from the investment community, government organizations and independent businesses that donate their financial, intellectual and social capital to help our portfolio organizations and beneficiaries.

Vibrant work from Trabajo Para Un Hermano
Vibrant work from Trabajo Para Un Hermano

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Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.

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Project Leader

Barb Alvarado

Providencia, Santiago Chile

Where is this project located?