The UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) committee in Germany has awarded Oxfam America's partner CECAMO a second-place award in its Women's Bank program.
The award, issued in November, 2005, recognized CECAMO, the Women's Training Center of Oaxaca, as an innovative leader in women's micro-credit projects. Nearly 800 organizations around the world were nominated for the prize. CECAMO received $2,396 as part of the award, which will be invested in their bank program in Mexico.
CECAMO has been working with women for 15 years in the promotion of women's economic rights. One area in which CECAMO is active is in training women in micro enterprise. Women learn to manage small businesses as carpenters, bakers, furniture manufacturers, and even run a fair trade store in the City of Oaxaca.
Part of this project is the Women's Bank, which since 1999 has been making loans to women to begin their own businesses. Two thousand women have received financing to date, for a total of more than $500,000.
Oxfam America has been working with CECAMO since 2004, supporting the strengthening of women's economic initiatives, as well as micro-enterprise workshops and training for women. Oxfam's grants total close to $45,000.
During her speech at the Award Reception, Martha Lilia Calleros Coloni, coordinator of CECAMO, said: "Women are trained to manage their own money. The Women's Bank plays the role of regulator in order to maintain the principles of solidarity among the women and the general population. Some women loan their money to other women and the Women's Bank promoters ensure these loans have a fair interest rate and promote women's participation at every level of decision-making and management."