by Gillian Fitzpatrick, Monitoring & Evaluation Intern

Three years ago, Awamaki discovered distinct differences in income amongst women in the Patacancha cooperative. Quick to fix the issue, we introduced our rotation system.

From the collected income data in 2013 and 2014 of the Patacancha cooperative members, it was shown that the new rotation method of delegating women to participate in tourism workshops was successful in addressing the income disparity between cooperative members.

In 2013, the standard deviation of income earned was 2.57 (measured in percentage points of income) with a raw value of 1,318.82 among the 39 participants.  After enacting the rotation selection process in 2014, the new standard deviation was 1.58 with a raw value of 606.87, showing a significant decrease in the spread of the data among the 37 participants, also referred to as a decrease in income inequality among the women (Note: in 2014 two women left the cooperative.)

Because the cooperatives are held accountable for having a democratic process among their members, it is important that Awamaki maintain a system that promotes equal participation rates among the women for all income-producing activities.  With the new rotation system, Awamaki has been successful in providing equal opportunity to produce income among all participants in the Patacancha cooperative.

In addition, the collected data also shows that the tourism workshops help provide an increase in income for the women by providing market access to sell their textiles.  While the tours create some income for the women, the majority of income is earned when the tour ends and tourists are able to buy directly from the women with whom they have interacted for the length of the workshop.  By observing the craft, for example natural dying or weaving, the tourists better understand the amount of work that every individual textile requires.

The collected data for 2014 shows that the income earned for tourism activities account for approximately 15,000 soles of income for the women in the cooperative, where the textiles sold at the end of the tour account for almost another 30,000 soles in income.  Therefore, the rotation system is essential to ensuring equal opportunity to such a lucrative practice for the women.

The data shows that direct market access has the largest impact on the women’s income, making the rotation system an important part of equalizing wealth among the cooperative members. Awamaki is ecstatic with the  noticeable improvements indicated by the investigation. Equality plays a big part in empowerment and the rotation system puts the women leaps and bounds in the right direction.