Four years ago, Rebeca Alvarez made a difficult decision.
After ending an abusive relationship, the 47-year-old mother of two adult children decided to leave her hometown in Ecuador and look for work in Chile’s capital city, Santiago.
She didn’t know anyone there, but she needed a new start and sensed an opportunity. Her children worried that she would only be able to find poorly paid and unstable work as a housekeeper or caretaker.
Rebeca wasn’t deterred.
And her first job in Chile was indeed as a nanny. Soon after, though, she switched to a part-time job placing the seals on export boxes. She attentively looked for better opportunities, but because she was unfamiliar with the city, had no network of local contacts, and was armed with just a temporary visa, she had no luck finding them.
Behind the scenes of Rebeca’s life – and not far from Santiago – a mining company, a multilateral development bank, and a nonprofit had kicked off a partnership that would change all of that.
Beyond Extraction Program Uplifts Latin American Communities
Beyond Extraction was launched in 2016 by Anglo American, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the IDB Lab, and TechnoServe to promote sustained, broad-based economic development in communities surrounding Anglo American operations in Brazil, Chile, and Peru.
Presented annually, the award – given by the Office of Global Partnerships at the U.S. Department of State, Concordia, and the University of Virginia Darden School of Business Institute for Business in Society – “recognizes exemplary public-private partnerships (P3s) that provide solutions to pressing issues.”
In a case study published by the Darden School of Business, Beyond Extraction was cited for “the benefits accrued to the community through self-empowerment. This is done through a training program that allows the businesses on the ground to upgrade through the value chain. The success of this project across three different countries — Brazil, Chile and Peru, all of which have different national policies and needs — speaks to the sustaining nature of the training program, which proved instrumental in helping people like Rebeca take control of their own futures.”
The mining sector generates 17% of Latin America’s exports — with this number rising to more than 50% in the most mineral-rich countries — and serves as a crucial engine of economic activity. But this investment does not always generate enough employment and opportunity to meet the expectations of local communities.
Working with local and national stakeholders, Beyond Extraction provides training and support to help entrepreneurs grow their local small businesses; builds the soft skills of job seekers and creates links to employment opportunities; and promotes the growth of diversified value chains that would create economic opportunities in the community.
Over four years, the partnership has:
- Directly benefited more than 2,600 participating people and organizations
- Helped to create or support more than 5,400 jobs
- Enabled entrepreneurs who graduated from the program to improve their business’s sales by an average of 32%
The partnership is composed of three projects:
- EmpleaT provides training to increase the employability of women in Chile.
- CRESCER addresses unemployment and rural economic opportunities in Brazil.
- Emerge supports business development and market access for companies in Peru.
All three programs have a particular focus on increasing the economic empowerment of women and young people.
One day, Rebeca was scrolling on Facebook when she saw an advertisement for the EmpleaT program. Figuring she had nothing to lose, she applied.
Rebeca was quickly accepted to the program and enrolled in training workshops and one-on-one mentoring sessions that helped her build personal effectiveness, self-confidence, and practical tools for a job search.
Better Incomes and New Careers for Beyond Extraction Participants
Rebeca quickly became one of many participants who raised their income through a Beyond Extraction program.
At the same time that Rebeca was looking to restart her career, Francisco Perinetti was looking to hire a cashier for his restaurant, the Hotel Plaza Restaurant in Los Andes.
“You can see the difference of EmpleaT candidates. They seem better prepared; they look you in the eye, show confidence, and have clear ideas about who they are and what they can offer,” Francisco reflected.
“I trust the program, and have more confidence knowing that these people have gone through a serious process to become better employees.”
He hired Rebeca to work in the restaurant.
After being hired, the stable job and income changed Rebeca’s life. As a lifelong saver, she is happy to once again be earning enough to put some money in the bank.
And the approach that helped Rebeca is what got the Beyond Extraction program nominated for a P3 Impact Award.
P3 Impact Award Nomination Highlights Sustainability and Sets Beyond Extraction Program Apart
Thousands of miles from the Concordia award ceremony, the Beyond Extraction teams continue to implement programs to help participants like Rebeca achieve their dreams.
“By participating in EmpleaT, I accessed a network. I became part of the formal labor market…” Rebeca reflects.
“[My mentor] Camila made me realize my work experience in Ecuador was relevant and that my life story was valuable. Without that I would not be sitting at this desk.”
How You Can Support Small Business Owners & Help Fight Poverty
Millions of small business owners around the world have a vision for what they’re trying to create – all they need are the frameworks and tools to create a roadmap that turns vision into reality: