Creating Social Value Blog / Service in Action

Cooperative collaboration in full effect

The Babson women were helping teach twenty entrepreneurs who were part of one of three companies focused on jewelry, textiles and art. all within the village of Getsemani. The 3 companies were part of a cooperative which provides capital and training for the members of their companies. The first Babson training of entrepreneurs began in August 2011. The jewelry business has been the most successful attending carnivals and the celebration parties of volunteer groups the day before they leave El Salvador to return home. The textile business is also doing ok with a wide range of products that they sell in 3 local markets. They do not have a stall or booth in the markets, but walk through the mall approaching woman who may be interested in baby cloths, table mats, or the bags they sew themselves. The textile group learned they needed to use higher quality materials for the tourists and lower quality for the Salvadorian customer who has less disposable income. Two members of our group would teach each morning and then return to house building in the afternoon when 2 others would be teaching.

The village of Getsemani is very interesting. In 2009 the village was established approximately about 5 miles outside of the city of Auhachapan, before then some rudimentary shelters existed. A set of woman approached the government to establish Getsemani. It was a challenging effort to get approval from the government as funds were in short supply and a water system was needed for families to exist. Habitat for Humanity El Salvador chose Getsemani and two nearby villages to to receive 100+ homes, of which 60 have already been completed. Habitat for Humanity El Salvador is a mostly self sufficient part of Habitat for Humanity International. The bulk of the funding for new homes comes from the volunteers who come to help build houses over 1 or 2 weeks. Each volunteer pays their own airfare and food and lodging, plus makes a donation of between $500- $1,000. This year there were 48 groups that came to El Salvador, which is about 1 group per week…. More coming about the murder rate in El Salvador.

submitted by H. David Hennessey, Professor, Marketing