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New Grants

Banco de Bosques (BdeB), $190,050 over two years; counterpart committed, $324,190.

BdeB will build infrastructure and provide support enabling indigenous Mbya Guaraní in Misiones to earn income from tourism. (AR-364)

Cooperativa de Trabajo Encuentro Ltda. (Cooperativa Encuentro), $255,400 over three years; counterpart committed, $486,275.

Cooperativa Encuentro will develop a network to market goods and services to visitors to Rosario and Villa Constitución, will provide training to develop activities for tourists, and open a travel agency. Some 250 Argentines should benefit directly and 1,450 indirectly. (AR-365)

Asociación Civil por la Igualdad y la Justicia (ACIJ), $49,950 over one year; counterpart committed, $51,270.

In collaboration with 60 residents of 10 irregular settlements in Greater Buenos Aires, ACIJ will collect information on their limited access to the formal economy and identify resources, partners and networks that can help develop the skills required to succeed in it. (AR-366)

Supplemental Grants*

Fundación Pro Vivienda Social (FPVS) $112,612 over 18 months; counterpart committed, $96,400.

FPVS will expand its training center and form a private-sector network to partner with nongovernmental organizations and residents of Greater Buenos Aires to address community infrastructure, utilities and housing conditions. (AR-341-A6)

Cooperativa de Trabajo COOPSOL Ltda. (COOPSOL), $12,500; counterpart committed, $8,700.

COOPSOL will build an additional extraction center that meets the requirements for certification of honey as fair-trade and will study the feasibility of growing and marketing capers. (AR-347-A3)

Circo Social del Sur (CSS), $106,125; counterpart committed, $144,600.

CSS will use circus arts to teach other skills to 430 children, adolescents and young adults in Buenos Aires, organize performances and a new troupe, and will work to become more self-sufficient. (AR-352-A4)

Cooperativa de Provision de Servicios para Productores, Comercialización y Consumo, Centro de Comercio Solidario Ltda. (CCS), $79,815 over 18 months; counterpart committed, $63,646.

CCS will expand direct sales of its fair-trade products, including overseas, by developing its network of vendors and broadening its consumer base; increase the members producing honey certified as fair-trade for export and work toward organic certification; and create a foundation to support community development. (AR-354-A6)

Red Puna y Quebrada (Red Puna), $108,700 over 18 months; counterpart committed, $37,090.

Red Puna will offer training, technical assistance and marketing services to 300 Coya artisans, primarily women, from 16 communities in Jujuy. (AR-356-A2)

Asociación Civil Nuestras Huellas (Nuestras Huellas), $9,500; counterpart committed, $38,995.

Nuestras Huellas, which works with community banks in Greater Buenos Aires, will pursue its plan to generate income by offering public and private-sector organizations training and technical assistance that draws upon its expertise in fair trade, the solidarity economy and the development of micro- and small businesses. (AR-362-A1)

*This annual report includes supplemental grants of $9,500 or more, awarded for one year unless otherwise indicated.

Tourism in Rosario’s Neighborhoods

Situated along the Paraná River, Rosario, the third largest city in Argentina, is a hub for higher education, agro-industry, technology research and development, and the production of big-ticket manufactured goods. It has a thriving port, a major railroad terminal and the country’s largest commodities market. Workers from rural areas and neighboring countries are drawn to the opportunities that Rosario offers, but lacking the skills demanded in this job market, many remain in poverty.

Cooperativa de Trabajo Encuentro Ltda. (Cooperativa Encuentro) was founded in 2004 by eight passionately industrious women committed to helping low-income neighborhoods and settlements of squatters in Rosario generate income and hope. It has grown to 24 members who market, under the cooperative’s brand registered as Los Soles, the crafts and clothing they produce and additional inventory supplied by another 50 women. The cooperative’s guiding principles include fair and transparent pricing and investment in the community—the basis of the concept known as economía solidaria. Contributions from donors financed the construction of the Centro Integral y Regional de Economía Solidaria Los Soles, the multipurpose building where Cooperativa Encuentro is housed. Cooperativa Encuentro’s tenants include other cooperative enterprises, among them a store, a restaurant supplied by local farmers, an inn and a student hostel, and several nongovernmental organizations.

A relentless search for opportunities has led the cooperative to a new potential clientele: the visitors to this bustling city, already a popular site for conferences and conventions, and nearby Villa Constitución. Cooperativa Encuentro has confirmed that some of these out-of-towners would like to experience the flavor and diversity of Rosario’s urban neighborhoods. This led the cooperative to organize a city tour that includes the usual well-known local landmarks but also exposure to the people who practice and the communities who benefit from economía solidaria. A second popular tour lets visitors experience home hospitality, a center for women and youths, a recycling enterprise, churches-some of them historic-and other features of daily life in barrios off the beaten path. Cooperativa Encuentro will use its IAF grant to help community residents and organizations manage these circuits, develop others, train as guides, offer additional services and sell their products. Partners already established in the tourism industry will offer tailored training and related assistance. Very important to the success of this venture is the launch of a travel agency that will package tours with accommodations in the Los Soles complex to market in Argentina and abroad. This operation will assure that more revenue stays in Rosario to benefit those who offer travelers a unique glimpse into their routine and culture.

Amanda Hess, IAF program staff assistant