On the International Women’s Day, March 8, Women for Conservation calls international community for empowering women in the remote areas of Colombia and protecting rainforest by creating new job opportunities through introducing a new brand of ecofriendly jewelry.
Women for Conservation assists women in Colombian rural areas rich with biodiversity by providing them with job opportunities through teaching useful craft skills and helping them to understand and actively participate in conservation. Elizabeth Salaman, CEO Women for Conservation, believes that “women are a catalyst for change.” Women are the key to the conservation because they have power to educate children to be better citizens of the Earth. “We want to bring to the world a different perspective on women and their major role in protecting natural resources,” said Ms. Salaman.
Giving women an access to training and opportunity to earn supplemental income help local families, whose wellbeing often depends on extracting natural resources or forest cutting, to be good stewards of their environment. For the past two years Women for Conservation successfully conducted 20 workshops, training 45 women the skills of jewelry making; soap, candle, hand stitch leather handbag making; and knitting. Selling their goods will create an additional, much needed income for the families of Colombian artisans, living in the impoverished communities in the buffer zones of protected areas. Thanks to the extra money many families were able to purchase what they have been dreaming about for a long time, such as washing machine, a digital camera, and farm animals.
Women use only natural, sustainably harvested resources and nontoxic, lead-free dyes in creating their goods. Due to natural patterns there are never two products alike. They are unique, one of a kind masterpieces made out of Tagua, Azai, Bombona, Chocho Rojo, and Coconut. These exotic seeds are often handpicked right from the forest floor. Harvesting and commercializing seeds promotes forest growth and provides a sustainable way to generate income for local communities, reducing deforestation and illegal hunting for endangered wildlife species.
Women for Conservation is not new to the conservation field. The initiative started in 2008 by Colombian born sisters, Sara and Elizabeth Salaman, in the memory of the deceased mother. Women for Conservation began as a pilot project of Fundacion ProAves, American Bird Conservancy’s Colombian partner and had fantastic results in involving women in conservation of wildlife species at the grassroots level.
Women for Conservation’s idea of empowering Colombian women extends to encouraging them to continue their education, training them basic business and skills, providing medical assistance to them and their children, and generally making them feel valued, appreciated, and respected.