NEW Pathways to Enterprise™ is an organization dedicated to empowering women and their families through innovative livelihood alternatives. NEW Pathways' mission is to enable economically disadvantaged women for livelihoods that offer profitable returns, and opportunities for creativity and increased self-esteem resulting from their enterprise efforts. We serve as an incubator for innovative livelihood education and development projects, drawing on recent advances in the social sciences in the fields of social networks, knowledge management, and adult education for women. Our direct beneficiaries are poor women living on less than $2.00 per day, with the majority classified as the extreme poor, living on less than $1.25.|
NEW Pathways goals are:
NEW Pathways seeks out and then introduces participants to a GLocal network of successful entrepreneurs, business innovators, and livelihood experts, who share their success stories and describe emerging business opportunities. These discussions stimulate creative thought among the participants about the relative attractiveness of these options, many times leading to the emergence of 'hybrid' ideas that draw on local knowledge and skills, but applying them in new ways, including the adaptation of business ideas to the local context. The GLocal network continues to support participants as they move from the idea generation phase to business development, serving as instructors, mentors, and facilitators for the requisite business skills training.
Each participant receives personal attention through one-on-one interviews, mentorships, and the individual assessment process. Interviews are held following each IdeaShop™ and the results are summarized and shared with all participants to enrich the overall knowledge base enabling participants to make better individual and group decisions regarding the most attractive alternatives for profitable, sustainable enterprise.
We work with successful microfinance institutions, local grass roots organizations, universities, and public agencies to insure that women receive the technical and business skills training they need to be successful. NEW Pathways' interventions leverage microcredit lending, business skills training, and other initiatives on behalf of women's economic empowerment. Working together we can have the most positive, direct, and immediate impact on the lives of disadvantaged women and their families.
Current NEW Pathways' Activities in the Philippines
Who We ServeNEW Pathways is working in the Visayas, on Negros Island in the municipality of Valladolid. The case example provided here is in the agricultural community of Doldol, a poor agricultural community with a population of approximately 800, mostly engaged in rice growing. There is no mechanized production equipment; all the work is done by hand. Children walk or are driven in groups in the back of pedicabs to their school in the next village, miles away. The local dialect is Hiligayan, but several community leaders with whom we work are reasonably fluent in English and a half dozen local women serve as translators.
With the help of NEW Pathways and its partners, the Doldol Garment Center was founded in 2010 because the women themselves had this idea, a dream to have their own business. Now their Garment Center is established and has grown to an operation with 17 machines. A dozen women have graduated from a Department of Trade and Industry-sponsored sewing class; over 30 women have taken the smocking baby dresses course, and a dozen additional women and men have been trained on higher power, industrial machines.
What We Do: To DateIn 2012 the first IdeaShops™ were held for women from Doldol and the outpost of Malingin, an impoverished village 30 miles away. Presentations on day one covered livelihood alternatives recommended by the local women, included food processing of salted eggs, duck embryo production, and basket/bag-making using dried rice stalks, foil, and paper. Those on day two featured high value-added, market-oriented, and creative opportunities, including rug- and rag-making for commercial sales to industrial consumers, jewelry-making, lithograph and card-making, and crafting one-of-a-kind baby bibs.
Three GLocal network livelihood experts from the Philippine Department and Trade and Industry and the Municipal Environment and Natural Resources Office in Valladolid presented indigenous livelihood alternatives, based on local knowledge. NEW Pathways brought in Nelly Nacino, an entrepreneur from Manila who built a business from one sewing machine on credit in 1989 to create the 200-woman strong Mother and Child Association, and Kristine Kowalski, an artist at Keridwen Studios, Annapolis, Maryland, U.S. These external resources inspired women to expand their field of view, and to explore new ideas.
Following these presentations and interactive discussions, our interview team of six individuals met with each participant individually to listen and learn as they discussed their livelihood goals and their most important considerations when making livelihood decisions. After discussing these decision criteria, each woman was asked to select the livelihood opportunities that she found most appealing, including those discussed at the IdeaShop™ as well as others she had considered. The results of all the interviews, documented, summarized, and archived, were shared with the participants and formed the basis for technical and skills training featured in the second phase.
There was an energetic and enthusiastic response from the women to innovative, higher-value added, and creative livelihood alternatives. Women were joyous, inspired, and motivated, to envision the expanded world of opportunities they had not previously known about or considered. As Lynde Untal, one participant and community leader remarked, "We can have this livelihood for the whole barangay, for the purpose of helping one another…I believe it will be you spreading this throughout the world, not only in Doldol…without you this wouldn't be possible." The livelihood alternative favored by a substantial majority of the participants was rag-making, rug-making, and shoe covers.
Achievements in 2012NEW Pathways launched two innovative livelihood projects in 2012 based on participants' top priorities.
Plans and Aspirations for 2013Based on our results to date, and the number of requests we have received to expand our activities, we are proposing the following program plan for next year:
The municipality of Vallalodid awarded a Certificate of Recognition to Professor Christine
Nielsen, President of NEW Pathways, "for her exemplary contribution
conceptualizing Pathways for Women toward Global Entrepreneurship and Women's
Empowerment." (January 23, 2012)