The Rolling Kitchen
This project will serve as an extension to Empowered Kitchen, a recently completed World Connect project that worked to support women’s empowerment through cooking and gender workshops. Due to problems with the local school director, the women no longer have access to a communal kitchen and are forced to use their own resources to work. The materials that the women do have access to are in bad condition and are not easy to move, posing a challenge in launching their food-selling business.
In order to continue to support the women in San Nicolas, this project will provide essential equipment as well as courses on business management and marketing. Since the group does not have a communal space to work in, new, portable supplies will help them to work in different locations, creating a “rolling kitchen.” The business trainings will provide more structure to their work and help create attainable goals and a work plan to keep the group organized. At the end of the trainings, the women will create a group business plan and design a logo and menu. The women will also attend two field trips to shadow owners of female-led restaurants.
With their new supplies (cook-stove, tables, chairs, etc.), the group has been able to set up mobile restaurants at different locations in the community, which has attracted a larger client base because of the comfort and convenience their set up offers. Normally, vendors do not have places for their clients to sit and enjoy their food, which is something this group has been able to do with their mobile restaurant, making their business more appealing to customers. The women have seen an increase in profits and community members are recognizing their logo. The women have gone on two field trips, providing them an opportunity to work in professional kitchens and to see the successes of two Salvadoran women working in the same field.
The women are growing both personally and professionally, and are learning a lot through the business workshops. With profits from their sales, the group has decided to help other women in the community through providing small loans. If a girl/woman in the community comes to the group with a plan and budget, the group will vote on whether they will support the applicant. The women gave their fist loan to a 17-year-old girl to help start her small jewelry business. Overall, the project has empowered the women and made them realized their entrepreneurial spirit and role in the community. For example, using accounting and problem solving skills gained through this project, four of the women are spearheading a project to provide the local church with bathrooms. Furthermore, another woman purchased her own corn grinder and charges a small fee for communal use, providing an opportunity to generate additional income to support her family.
"I like having the restaurant set up at our events. We look more professional than before and people ask for us!" - Carmen, Project Participant
"The trips we went on were really nice because we got to see new places, try new food and do it together as a group." - Esperanza, Project Participant