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Committed to Holistic Transformation in Peru

Methodist Women’s Federation of Peru Joins United Women in Faith for Economic Development

by Mabel Barreto Quineche. Translated by Andrea Reily Rocha Soares

By joining forces, the Methodist Women’s Federation of Peru and United Women in Faith will work together to empower Peruvian women. In the months to follow, they will carry out the Transformative Development Project, an initiative that aims to provide Peruvian Methodist women with tools that allow them to transform their own lives and the lives of those in their communities. The project is a response to contemporary challenges and a testimony of faith and hope.

Role of Women

A woman shows her wares at a church fair in Peru.

The role of women has changed in Peru. Today, women have an active participation in the country’s economy. According to the ENDES 2021 (Demographic and Family Health Survey of the National Institute of Statistics and Information Technology), 68 percent of women between the ages of 15 and 49 are part of the country’s workforce. Within this percentage, 37.5 percent work in sales and services, 20.5 percent are professionals or technicians, and 16.8 percent work in agriculture. This is a very different scenario from the one encountered by the Methodist Church in Peru at the end of the 19th century. During that time, Peruvian women dedicated themselves almost exclusively to the roles of wife and mother, solely committed to chores in the house.

Peru will be the first Latin American country where this project will be implemented, because Peru ranks on the list of the ten countries with the highest rate of entrepreneurial activity, according to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM). The origin of this high level of entrepreneurship, according to economists, is the lack of formal employment. Given the deficiency of opportunities in the labor market, the population creates jobs by using their inventive minds and skills. As of today, the Peruvian women make up 55 percent of the total number of entrepreneurs in the country.

Transformative Development Project

The Transformative Development Project is aimed at the more than 500 women who are part of the 29 women’s societies (units) of local Methodist churches throughout the country, beginning with an initial training from October 25 to 30 for representatives of the six district women’s associations. The participants will then replicate the training in their own districts. Subsequently, a virtual training program will be carried out on topics such as development of ventures and projects, finance, accounting, and others.

At a church fair in Peru, women entrepreneurs show off their income-generating projects. These women-led small businesses benefit from the partnership between the Methodist Women’s Federation of Peru and United Women in Faith. 

The promoting team, or the country team as the group is being called in other regions of world, is made up of the members of the board of the Methodist Women’s Federation of Peru: Annie Solís, president; Geovana Javier, vice president; Doris Rios, secretary; Elba Martínez, treasurer; Janett Rojas Huerta, second treasurer; Cristina Pacheco Corrales, alternate; and by Reverend Andrea Reily, United Women in Faith Regional Missionary for Latin America. Mabel Barreto, journalist and communicator, also a member of the Methodist Church of Peru, will provide journalistic coverage to the project, including informative notes, testimonials, photos.

“Peruvian Methodist women have already developed several interesting ventures in our country, which they have shown at fairs, and some of them have carried out in their daily productive chores. The women just need to strengthen their management and organizational skills and gain new abilities to take on the role they have in our churches and in society — that of being light and salt,” says Annie Solís, the president of the Methodist Women’s Federation of Peru, affirming this project.

Following the October 2023 trainings, in April 2024, the team will elicit entrepreneurial proposals for projects, and some will be selected to receive funds for business development throughout 2024.

Mabel Barreto Quineche is a journalist and communicator, and member of the Methodist Church of Peru. Rev. Andrea Reily Rocha Soares is United Women in Faith’s Regional Missionary for Latin America.

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