One of the Association’s most important initiatives is the Revolving Funds program. The objective of this program is to give women access to income-earning opportunities by providing them with a small amount of capital to start a project. Women from the same aldea, or village, organize themselves into small groups and apply for a grant together. They must also return the grant together. The group can repeat this cycle several times until their projects become self-sustaining. At this point, the full grant can be passed along to the next group on the waiting list.
Projects vary from chocolate-making, roadside tortilla stands, growing potatoes, and raising small livestock such as rabbits and chickens.
But by far, the most popular – and most profitable – project is raising cattle.
Here’s how it works:
- As part of a group, each woman applies for a $300 grant to purchase a cow or bull
- She receives guidance, training, and support from an agricultural/livestock expert
- Cows are raised to produce milk and calves
- Bulls are fattened for a year then sold for a handsome profit
- Cattle manure and urine can be used or sold for fertilizer for family gardens
- Many women also receive a subsidy to build or improve their cattle shelter
- The recipient family pays for vitamins and de-worming medicine
- The $300 is paid back in full; extra profits put food on the table and send kids to school