Local-led Culinary Tourism in the Ecuadorian Andes
Project Launch: 11/7/16
Kallpa Warmi, an indigenous women's cooperative based in the Andes Mountains of Ecuador, has already established a local following with their brand of unique recycled art. The collective is now seeking to expand its entrepreneurial focus to encompass a catering business featuring local gastronomic specialties. This project proposes the acquisition of a collapsible market stall and other supplies so the women of Kallpa Warmi can bring their delicious food to the area's foreign tourists as well as other Ecuadorians.
Project Update: 11/13/17
The 40 active women of Kallpa Warmi announced they will be debuting two new vending locations this season: One in their village and another at nearby Cajas National Park. The space at Cafe Galeria in the village was inaugurated in April 2017.
Kallpa Warmi now possesses a contract with the Municipality of Cuenca Cultural Centers and Municipal Libraries until December 2017. Currently, each partner has an income of $40 per month for the services provided. The cooperative also trains cultural centers every month for which it is paid $3.50 per hour. Training topics include urban and vertical gardens, snacks for adults and children, Easter bread and cookies, recycled art, and traditional gastronomy. Members of Kallpa Warmi have also joined a new savings and loan program for female entrepreneurs in Cuenca which provides micro-credit to women business owners.
“The progress of the group has been very clear since at the beginning, starting with 5 members and now growing to over 40 members. We remain very convinced of the change and we believe that we need to continue working on the community bank, catering services, and selling our refreshments and gastronomy. We already have our crafts for the new storefront/cabin ready and are very motivated since we have had different workshops of organizational strengthening from volunteer Alli Tolbert and other partners with the theme of "Sharing of Knowledge" who with great enthusiasm helped us all, and now we are working hard looking for markets to continue selling our products to.”
– Marisol, Project Leader
“I am so proud of the work and success made this year from the women of Kallpa Warmi. Each new year brings about possibilities for new dreams, projects and challenges to be realized. While it has been nostalgic watching their growth from a distance, I am so grateful to be in touch with Kallpa Warmi weekly and see the new projects taking off. Marisol has continued to lead with grace, strength and inspiration and I can see how members have also grown their own leadership styles. This year has been challenging as we had many setbacks on the wooden cabin's construction, but we can all see and feel the light at the end of the tunnel and cannot wait for the storefront to be built, inaugurated, and visited by all!”
– Alli, Field Partner
“Since we started we started with five women then with the help of Talia and Alli, they motivated us to form an organization and that is how we decided to put the name of Kallpa Warmi. Personally being in the organization helped me a lot, since I have grown as a person, I have learned new things as well as shared with my fellow members what I know. These three years have been good. Thanks to the help of World Connect with the seed capital we have been able to grow ourselves and better market the products we make. We could say that we have advanced a lot today we are a recognized organization. Thank you for your support because with the funds for the cabin we have been able to give a better service and we want to continue advancing. My eternal gratitude to Alli for all the support. For the future our goal is to be able to export our products to other countries.”
– Janeth, Project Participant
“I joined the group 1 year ago as a way to look forward in life, and it has helped me a lot since I gave refreshments, trained me, selling at different fairs that invited us. With Alli we are very grateful, it has taught me to be an enterprising woman and to have the strength to work. The new project of the cabin will improve our sales since we are going to generate tourism to sell our crafts and culinary products. We are all hopeful that our products will sell even more once the cabin is finished. Thanks to World Connect for all its help!”
– Gladyz, Project Participant
“Since I joined the organization I learned a lot. I have attended fairs that we have been invited to. While I sell little because there is not much market, I know that thanks to the support of the cabin we will make ourselves known much more. There are not many spaces to sell and if there was the opportunity to export and give us international knowledge, it would be very good too and more than all the support of the organization since we are very well organized. Regarding the volunteer she has been very good in supporting us and we have also learned to be supportive and more collaborative in the 1 year I have been in the organization.”
– Fausto, Project Participant
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