Agora entrepreneur Kiej de los Bosques is a social company established in 2004 with the objective of generating income for artisans – 90% women – who although they have great abilities, are disconnected from markets, and are not able to live up to their potential. Founder María Pacheco says:
“We think poverty is a circle that starts with an unequal distribution of income generating opportunities between the rural and urban areas of underdeveloped countries. This leads to weak rural economies, where education is not a possibility. Lack of education has great incidence in high birth rates and low income, and these two circumstances combined will become low-income homes where food is not enough and education will once again, be beyond the possibilities of the next generation, thus perpetuating what we call, the ‘No Change Circle’.”
Pacheco’s experience working with rural communities since 1993 working with small groups of farmers and artisans in Sacalá Las Lomas in the Guatemalan highlands and Jocotán in the Guatemalan Dry Corridor indicates that this “No Change Circle” can be changed — if at least one of the variables is addressed. In both cases, the main objective of Kiej de los Bosques’s intervention was to increase the income of the beneficiaries – and it was like igniting development!
The income generated by this two productive chains – Wood in Sacalá and Natural fibers in Jocotán – have both impacted directly in the nutritional and educational indicators of the artisans’ children, and have also empowered the producers, formed new businesses and created a bankable saving capacity in the communities.
To create revenues, Pacheco decided to put the artisans’ products on the market under a new brand.
“When we saw how this circle changed dramatically in the communities we were working with, and we measured the role markets have had in the generation of prosperity in these rural initiatives, we decided to create an umbrella brand to consolidate the productions of several artisans’ groups and add value to the handicrafts that are traditionally made in Guatemala and in 2006, Wakami was born!”
For more information on Kiej de los Bosques and other Agora entrepreneurs, come join us at our Impact Investor Conference in Nicaragua.