Living next to the highest active volcano in the world and producing food for the Ecuadorian population in adverse conditions due to the cold and altitude has meant that the work of Redes en Acción – “Networks in Action”, carried out by the Impulsa Foundation in Ecuador, empowers people in rural areas. It generates local development and allows for a notable improvement in the quality of life of the beneficiaries, mainly women and their households.
With approximately 44 local producer associations in the province of Cotopaxi, 2300 members have been trained in different topics and more than 4100 hours of specialised technical assistance have been provided. The “Networks in Action” project establishes solidarity trade actions, development of distribution channels, repackaging of products and development of specific brands through the creation of networks of dairy products, mainly cheese, agro-ecological products and poultry production.
One of the most important challenges of the project has been to gather financial information from the institutions to help improve their administrative, operational and financial management. With the goal of providing them with tools and methodologies adapted to the individual realities of the associations and their members.
Today, “Networks in Action”and the Impulsa Foundation are concerned with generating business and commercial connections that allow each association to be included in a process of business maturity in which producers are the key axis of development. Associativity is one of the competitive advantages for the entire sector.
Future challenges are aligned with the creation of a specialised structure that allows the development of collection and marketing centres. This will mainly involve the marketing of all the products selected to be placed in distribution channels and/or for direct delivery to specific supermarket chains at national and, why not, international level.
The actions generated by the Impulsa Foundation through the support of DGRV in the implementation of the “Networks in Action” project have undoubtedly improved the quality of life and have helped to alleviate the levels of poverty in the area of action.
Education, empowerment with a gender focus, the focus on innovative products for the market, and financial management and handling at different levels, distinguishes the project from others implemented in the region. The level of impact demonstrated in the area of action is reflected in the confidence that producers have placed in their own enterprises, understanding that they are a key and fundamental part of the development of their region, town and province.
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