Introducing the work of the Cherie Blair Foundation

“What I sell is what I eat tomorrow”.

The Southern state of Oaxaca is one of the poorest in Mexico – 66% of the population live in poverty. With a severe lack of formal employment options, and limited time due to varing responsibilities at home, many women earn their living by running micro-enterprises. However, due to limited opportunities, many of these women lack the knowledge and skills required to grow their business and make a profit.

The Cherie Blair Foundation’s Oaxaca project in Mexico seeks to plug this gap in knowledge; providing training for 100 women micro-entrepreneurs over a three-year course and giving them a common support system that they can rely on for friendship and guidance.

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Mrs Guadalupe lives in Oaxaca; a community built on the land surrounding one of Mexico’s largest landfills. With challenging surroundings and a lack of industry opportunities outside of working in the landfill business, employment options are limited.

In the face of such difficult conditions, Mrs Guadalupe is forced to work across three different businesses in order to earn enough money for herself, her husband, and their three children.

Her life as a businesswoman began suddenly and out of urgency, when an accident left her husband unable to perform the manual work necessary for his job.

Desperate for money to feed her family and to keep her children in education, Mrs Guadalupe started a popsicle shop, runs a firewood selling business, and now provides an embroidery service as part of a women’s business collective.

Mrs Guadalupe joined the Mujares A.V.E. programme because she recognised the importance of understanding how money administration and cost calculation works. Completing the training in 2019, she is now able to implement the practice she has learned to her business.

While these women possess the passion and drive to run their own businesses, what they lack is the business acumen and administrational skills that see them turn a profit.

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In the first year of the Oaxaca project, the Foundation established the One-Stop-Shop; finalised the curriculum, trained the trainers, and began sessions for three groups of participants.

A monitoring and evaluation system was also established and tested, to ensure women’s needs are being met.