PMI Ecuador Chapter Empowers Women Through PM Training


19 October 2018

Picture of Michelle Armstrong

Written by Michelle Armstrong

Published inPM for Social Good

Group of volunteers in Ecuador

The PMI Ecuador Chapter’s efforts to empower women through project management exemplifies members’ abiding commitment to make a meaningful difference in their country. The frequency with which women’s voices go unheard often positions them as less advantaged, but Chapter members want to cultivate their leadership potential. “In Ecuador and in other parts of the world, women have historically been viewed as vulnerable, but they are the most responsible when it comes to raising their family,” explains Santiago Cartagena, PMP, the Chapter’s PMIEF/PMI Chapter liaison. “Women generally oversee their children’s development into responsible adults, so they require – and deserve – the support necessary to strengthen the talents they possess.”

In 2016, the Chapter launched a media campaign to promote members’ willingness to deliver pro bono project management fundamentals training to nonprofits and those who benefit from their services. Several organizations approached the Chapter, including OVCI, which implements rehabilitation projects to better ensure the equitable treatment and inclusion of women suffering economic challenges and physical disabilities. Chapter members teamed with OVCI and various organizations to teach women project management, with an emphasis on concepts like defining project scope, developing a schedule, and adhering to a budget. They also made certain to adapt their training materials and instruction as necessary to accommodate participants who were either blind or deaf.

To date, the Chapter has reached more than 200 women in the cantons of Atacames, Borbón, Quinindé, Rio Verde, San Lorenzo, and Súa located in Esmeraldas Province. A video showcases one of these workshops and highlights lessons learned. Many of those trained have started microenterprises. For example, a blind woman now owns a small store while a mother leads a food preparation and distribution business with her daughters. These successes have inspired chapter members to expand their outreach by helping training participants establish partnerships that can enhance their operations, especially through investments.

In addition, the Chapter now collaborates with CARE USA, a 2017 PMIEF grantee for “The PMIEF – CARE USA Initiative for Economic Recovery for Earthquake-Affected Producers and Entrepreneurs in Ecuador.” This PM Ready Workforce grant scales up previously piloted business and finance training activities in Ecuador and integrates project management into them by leveraging the foundation’s Project Management Skills for Life®. Specifically, the initiative targets women in the cantons of Jama and San Vicente in Manabi Province so they can bring craft and agricultural projects to market. Chapter members will deliver pro bono training in November 2018 to help the women achieve their project goals. 

“Our Chapter wants to reach more people, so our members are preparing to deliver additional training workshops through nonprofits,” Mr. Cartagena says. “This includes a social projects event so that more than 30 project managers can volunteer with nonprofits as consultants, and they can offer ongoing support after the event.” As members’ outreach makes clear, the PMI Ecuador Chapter understands that women truly do hold up half the sky and project management only builds their capacity to continue doing so.

November 2018 Update: The PMI Ecuador Chapter hosted its social projects event in November, reaching nearly 300 people and 46 nonprofits in the cities of Cuenca, Guayaquil, and Quito. Three universities also participated. In addition, the Chapter delivered a two-day project management training in Jama to the participants in PMIEF’s grant to CARE USA to help them design their project plans.