Partnership for Central America, VP Harris, Laurene Powell Jobs, Christy Turlington Burns launch In Her Hands

Vice President Kamala Harris at Partnership for Central America Launch of In Her Hands

Partnership CEO Jonathan Fantini-Porter Announcing the Objectives of In Her Hands

Laurene Powell Jobs Introducing Vice President Harris at the Launch of the Partnership for Central America’s In Her Hands

LOS ANGELES, CA, UNITED STATES, June 19, 2022 / — Vice President Kamala Harris, Laurene Powell Jobs, Christy Turlington Burns, Partnership for Central America, and the Department of State came together to launch In Her Hands, a women’s economic empowerment initiative for Central America at the Summit of the Americas.

In Her Hands aims to drive significant job creation in northern Central America by connecting more than 1.4 million women and their communities to the financial system and digital economy, training more than 500,000 women and girls in high-tech skills and expanding gender parity in the private sector. To ensure coordinated impact and sustainability, the Partnership for Central America will coordinate this long-term effort.

During the day, the CEOs of Softtek and CARE and beneficiaries of Mastercard and Accion’s programs met with Vice President Harris in a closed door discussion. They discussed the barriers to opportunities that women entrepreneurs face across the region and how the private sector and U.S. government initiatives aim to solve these challenges. Following the discussion, the audience heard remarks from Vice President Harris, Christy Turlington Burns, and Laurene Powell Jobs highlighting the value of investing in women at this time: “We will bring together the private sector, the non-profit community, and the public sector to coordinate our strategy to reinforce one another’s work and to ensure that collectively we are creating an ecosystem of opportunity for women in the region.” Public panel discussions followed featuring the former President of Costa Rica Laura Chinchilla and executives of Accion, CARE, General Atlantic, the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Mastercard, Microsoft, and PriceSmart.

Women’s economic empowerment is an essential component in establishing long-term, sustainable growth across the region. In her role addressing the root causes of migration from Central America, Vice President Kamala Harris and the Partnership for Central America announced new commitments from Accion, Cargill, Mastercard, Microsoft, Millicom, PepsiCo, Pro Mujer and the World Economic Forum to support women’s economic empowerment in northern Central America and the Western Hemisphere.

Private Sector Initiatives announced as part of the In Her Hands launch included:

● Establishing a Gender Equity Center: As a follow up to its December 2021 commitment in response to the Vice President’s Call to Action humanitarian organization CARE officially established the Center for Gender Equity in Central America. The Center is designed to empower 500,000 individual women and their families–providing benefits to a total of two million people to advance efforts to address the root causes of migration. The Center will leverage CARE’s gender and development expertise and deep connections to local partners and women’s organizations to support financial inclusion, women’s economic empowerment (including in the protection of labor rights and in supporting entrepreneurship), improved agricultural outcomes, prevention and reductions in gender-based violence.

● Integrating Women into the Financial Sector: Accion, with support from the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth, will partner with local institutions to connect over 300,000 Guatemalan women to the financial sector by 2025. In addition, PriceSmart, INCAE Business School, Mastercard, and Cargill will work with the Central American Institute of Business Administration to support 120 women-led small-and-medium enterprises (SMEs) in Honduras and Guatemala in increasing their access to markets and capital to grow their businesses and support job growth in areas of high-out migration.

● Supporting Female Agricultural Workers: Cargill has committed to empowering women in northern Central America’s agriculture sector by allocating a portion of its $160 million commitment in commercial and charitable investments made in December 2021 to establish new programs that will support and accelerate women’s participation in the agroindustry. One of these programs, a partnership with the global development organization ACDI/VOCA and their Transforming Market Systems program will provide grants to women-owned small businesses in Honduras to create thousands of jobs. These programs will facilitate women’s access to financing, provide them with training, and connect them to new markets to grow their businesses. To help empower women and increase employment among female farmers, Nespresso will roll out programs in El Salvador and Honduras in 2022 that will train its agronomists on gender equity. Finally, PepsiCo Latin America will bring the Next Generation Agriculture Fund to Guatemala, in partnership with the Interamerican Development Bank and a local implementing partner. The program will accelerate women’s participation in the agroindustry and increase their incomes.

● Digitizing Women-owned Businesses: Mastercard will digitize 300,000 women-owned and led businesses in Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador by 2025. This commitment will build on Mastercard’s May 2021 commitment to bring five million people in the region into the financial system and digitize one million micro and small businesses in the three countries by ensuring Mastercard’s efforts reach women across the region. Additionally, Accion will partner with key stakeholders in El Salvador and Honduras to expand digital services to over 700,000 people within the next five years. Microsoft will also work with local partners to launch high-tech digital community centers in 20 new communities across the region to provide women and girls with internet, digital skills, devices, educational experiences, and mentorship in rural and high-migration areas.

● Training Women in Critical Job Skills: Microsoft will partner with Trust for the Americas to expand on its commitment to provide cybersecurity, coding, and artificial intelligence skills training to reach an additional 400,000 women, bringing the total number of beneficiaries to more than 500,000 women in Central America. Through a partnership with Pro Mujer, Microsoft will assist 146 organizations in the region to provide financial literacy and education programs to nearly 25,000 low-income women. Additionally, Mastercard will support 5,000 girls to pursue a future career in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics through its award-winning Girls4Tech program. Millicom will also provide digital skills training for more than 8,000 adolescent girls and adult women in 2022—with a commitment to year-over-year increases—in the three countries of northern Central America through its Conectadas program.

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Partnership for Central America
Camila Rice-Aguilar
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