Pedaling Towards Women’s Empowerment in Cochabamba
La Criollita is an association of 40 women in Cochabamba, Bolivia who breed poultry animals. The women sell their meat products at many local markets and street fairs throughout the year. They currently process all of their animals by hand, which is an extremely laborious process: plucking all of the feathers out of a single duck can take up to 45 minutes by hand. With a “bicipeladora”, or a bicycle-powered plucking machine, they could do the same task in one minute, significantly diminishing the plucking time and hence increasing production.
For this reason, La Criollita approached CECAM for help expanding their business. CECAM is a small non-profit organization in Cochabamba which creates bicycle powered machines to help improve environmental and economic sustainability in the community. La Criollita have asked CECAM to build them a bicipeladora so that they can expand their business with better products and broader markets, and work towards self-sustainability.
While this project would start on a small scale, its impacts could enact much broader change. Over half of the population of Cochabamba lives under the poverty line, and many women continue to be economically dependent on their husbands. In addition, the city of Cochabamba has one of the highest rates of violence against women in the country. This project would greatly improve the lives of Cochabamba women by increasing their economic sustainability and empowering them to be leaders and entrepreneurs.
We (Vic and Devon) have been working with CECAM for the past two weeks and have witnessed first-hand some of the hardship that these women endure to process and sell their products. Since we are only here for two months, we want to amplify our impact by fundraising for a long-term project. A successful campaign will allow us to build the bicipeladora and help to empower the La Criollita women by supporting their business. Please consider donating, we appreciate any amount – thank you!
For more information about CECAM and the Cochabamba Pedal Project, please visit: http://cochapedal.com/
Follow the project on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/cochabambapedalproject/
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The picture of the chicken plucker machine, used as inspiration for our machine model, was taken from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ldtpgwp0xZc