Hello from Santiago, Chile!
Thanks to you, our Levantando Chile Fund supporters, NESsT wrapped up 2012 on a high note and began 2013 with continued progress towards our goal to continue supporting 373 producers and artisans from southern Chile who were severely affected by the 2010 earthquake and tsunami.
Here are some of the latest developments and impact:
- NESsT’s long-time donor and international partner, the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF), completed an evaluation of the implementation and impact of our Levantando Chile Fund program. The evaluation collected opinions, data, general and specific information about the Fund´s impact, performance and lessons. The success of the program was positively reflected in the overall evaluation and feedback provided demonstrated the genuine effect the program has had on its beneficiaries.
- In Chile´s Bio-Bio Region, NESsT, in partnership with Sepade -- a local NGO that tackles poverty and education problems -- held a closing ceremony for the program on December 6, 2012. The ceremony was held in the City of Lota, a historic city that today faces many social problems that originated when the main source of work in the city -- coal mines -- closed its operations. Throughout the ceremony, NESsT and Sepade told the story of their collaboration, common objectives and vision. Both organizations highlighted the strengths and shortcomings of the program and were open to receiving feedback from our beneficiaries. In fact, the ceremony allowed for meaningful exchanges between NESsT, Sepade and the more than 20 beneficiaries that attended. Beatriz Heins from Sepade stated: ”The program has been a way for Sepade to serve the local community in a way that it hadn´t been able to serve before.” Prior to the ceremony, NESsT and Sepade provided our beneficiaries with an opportunity to participate in a workshop to help participants improve their well-being through psychological and physical self-care techniques. This work was done previously with artisans in Concepcion and beekeepers in San Fernando.
- NESsT has been a strong advocate of measuring the impact and evaluating the progress of the work done by the organizations and beneficiaries that we serve, allowing us to improve the quality of our services.. Fortunately, our partners at the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF) and Inter-American Foundation (IAF) believe the same, and with their support NESsT conducted a baseline study at the beginning of the program. The study sought to know more about our beneficiaries, their needs and experiences, so that NESsT and its partners could respond with a high-quality program that responded accordingly. Since then, our partners have measured our impact. Recently, with the invaluable support of the MIF, NESsT hired Mr. Ignacio Rivera, a sociologist with experience in the evaluation of non-profit projects. Over the next 3 months, Mr. Rivera will survey every beneficiary in our program and speak to our partner organizations, in order to gather and process information about 23-30 indicators. This information will prove incredibly valuable when assessing the real impact of our program. We look forward to sharing the results with you on a future report.
- NESsT and CEDESUS, our partner organization in Chile´s O’Higgins Region, hired Mr. Oscar Rojas Connell, an expert consultant with experience in the region. Mr. Rojas was hired to design and edit billboards and publicity for 10 micro entrepreneurs of our program. These tailored designs support marketing efforts outlined in the business plans that each micro entrepreneur produced with the assistance of expert business development consultants previously hired by NESsT..
- One of the latest activities that NESsT will coordinate with CET, a local partner in Chile’s Bio-Bio region, is providing support for our beneficiaries to attend commercial fairs throughout the region. Most of our beneficiaries are self-employed individuals that work in agriculture, producing and selling products such as jams and vegetables, and the fairs are invaluable to their success as producers and sellers. NESsT will provide financial assistance to cover registration fees, transportation and investment in promotional materials.
Social Enterprise Competition:
Our Social Enterprise Competition in the regions affected by the earthquake continues at a strong pace. Participants are now in the final stage of the planning phase of the competition: business plan.
The four organizations that remain in the competition have submitted their business plans, which have been reviewed by NESsT’s business development professionals. .. The business plans are now being reviewed by members of our Business Advisory Network (BAN) and other volunteers with strong experience and knowledge about business development. The four remaining participants of the competition include:
Apiunisexta: A store specialized in providing high-quality products for beekeeping activities. It will sell a range of products, such as health items made from honey, food for bee colonies, machinery, and equipment for beekeepers in the O´Higgins Region, to support the needs of producers and increase the market for their products.
Surmaule: Surmaule developed a new social enterprise idea to provide its services to government institutions, NGOs and any interested persons about the practice and methodology behind community development initiatives. Ludovico Rutten Foundation: A business that will develop high-quality welders, providing them with skills and a certification that enables them to better perform their work and ensures the quality of their work. The social enterprise will provide this service locally at very affordable prices.
Manzana Verde: This social enterprise consists of creating a school for adults who were not able to complete their elementary or high school education. At this school, they can raise their level of general education while also pursuing a technical degree in agro-ecology.
In April, NESsT will announce the Social Enterprise Competition winners who will be receiving venture grants and will enter the NESsT Portfolio for up to 5 years to continue receiving support from NESsT to grow their enterprises and increase their impact.