Peru travelers, Professor Alfredo Ortiz and PhD student Monica Hernandez collaborated on a series of workshops highlighting Photovoice to better understand the women of Pushaq Warmi in the hopes of increasing the sustainability of the organization. This has stemmed from a interim consultancy report on WGC and Pushaq Warmi created by doctoral students Monica Hernandez, Martha Cias, and Rekha Khulal Pant in Ortiz’s course, Entrepreneurship for Economic Development, during the Spring 2018 semester. Photovoice is a tool using images to document people’s realities while drawing attention to issues and concerns within their community.
In order to achieve this, our travelers first got to know the women through a series of interviews, encounters, and social interactions. Developing a relationship with the women was seen as an important part of knowing the mission and values of the group. Through this, WGC and PW can work towards syrengthening their partnership. During the first day-long workshop, Professor Ortiz along with his colleague, Juan Carlos Macedo, conducted a series of activities to strengthen the communication between the Pushaq Warmi members. This included a River of Life exercise in which a timeline of the organization’s significant moments was created and drawing a tree which highlighted what the women felt were the ‘fruits’ and ‘spoils’ of the group. Another exercise using the women’s own photos helped to illustrate the many different ‘hats’ the women wear in work, family, within PW, and in other capacities. All of these exercises served to better understand the commitment of the women.
Monica Hernandez then carried out a two-hour workshop introducing the women to Photovoice and showing them how it can help them better voice their concerns in their community on a number of topics pertinent to their organization. Photovoice involves a series of steps or phases in order to effectively execute beginning with training and culminating in a community exhibition. Topics of relevance of the group include: self-esteem, women’s empowerment, financial literacy, and entrepreneurship. The Showed Method, an integral part of photovoice, makes for a rich discussion between the members in identifying major issues in one’s community and what project participants can actively do about them.
Finally, during a post-workshop Monica then gave the Pushaq Warmi women the task of successfully executing Photovoice as a group. She expects to be an important part of helping the women carry out this project in the months to come and also act as a liaison between WGC and Pushaq Warmi. The women of Pushaq Warmi are all strong leaders committed to the betterment of their community and reaching out to very underserved populations in and around Chimbote, Peru. This was evident when the group invited the WGC travelers to a workshop where they put on a puppet show to a classroom of small children introducing them to the dangers of sexual abuse and then having the kids step out and play while PW talked with the mothers of the children about what they could to do to help prevent such a crime. Strengthening the partnership between WGC and Pushaq Warmi is important in order for the women in Peru to further provide training to other women in their community and work towards education and empowerment.