In partnership with the El Nido project in Armenia, Quindío (a program for pregnant teenage mothers part of the ZonaJ Foundation), we have identified the need for a sustainable livelihood to support both the mother and the child. Further research revealed that this need for employment also applied to their mothers, women heading households, and refugees-all of whom have limited education, restricted access to job opportunities, and almost no support due to poverty. Through interviews and focus groups, we discovered that many women are interested in and would like to work in the field of Cosmetology. However, despite their interest, their skills are limited, and opportunities to work in this area are almost nonexistent.
The "Productive Beauty" project aims to empower marginalized women in Armenia, Quindío, Colombia, by providing professional training in Comprehensive Aesthetics (beauty, cosmetology) and establishing a microenterprise-a beauty salon during the course of a year to a year and a half. The main objectives include addressing poverty among women with limited education and job opportunities, leveraging the growing beauty market in Colombia. Beneficiaries, including pregnant teenage mothers, their mothers, women heading households, and refugees, will receive training, psychosocial support, and practical experience, leading to economic independence and reducing poverty and gender violence in the region.
The beauty and personal care market in Colombia is projected to grow by 6.70% (2023-2027), resulting in a market volume of $4.47 billion in 2027. This project will empower women by providing access to economic opportunities and services, addressing gender and class disparities, and offering training related to community economic development, including entrepreneurship, vocational skills, and financial education.
In the first phase, equipment and materials necessary to implement the emerging microenterprise-a beauty salon-in the El Nido building will be purchased. The organization of the training area and the purchase of equipment and materials will be guided by specialized professionals responsible for conducting the training and vocational workshops. While the space is being organized, beneficiaries identified during the community needs assessment study will be invited, prioritizing up to 30 women in the initial phase based on their social and economic situations.
The second phase involves the implementation of a comprehensive training program covering the basics of cosmetology, with a focus on hair and nail care. Workshops on entrepreneurship, financial management, and marketing will also be conducted. Each beneficiary will receive a kit, enabling them to practice and even start working from home. Throughout this phase, women will also receive some psychosocial support workshops from a trained professional to address issues that could lead to program dropout.
In the third phase, beneficiaries will have the opportunity to practice their skills and gain practical experience through internships or apprenticeships in local beauty salons or with volunteer clients directly at El Nido. This phase will also initiate the possibility of formalizing the beauty salon as a registered local business, and beneficiaries will have the option to work and serve clients at El Nido and/or start their own businesses.
Upon completing the professional training program and meeting the required standards, the fourth phase will include a graduation celebration where beneficiaries will receive completion certificates and possible awards for outstanding students.
This project will not only help reduce poverty rates but will also contribute to the growth of the beauty and personal care market in Colombia. By providing equal economic opportunities to women, Colombia can overcome the challenge of gender inequality and ensure its future growth and prosperity.