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Bamboo is well-known for its fast and continuous growth, its ability to thrive without chemicals or pesticides, its capacity to absorb greenhouse gasses, and its potential to replace most of today’s uses of wood. Many experts across the world have faith in its capacity to support a regenerative future!

But… What does this have to do with women?

Elisa de la Roca with Ulysses, teacher of the bamboo course, holding large size bamboo.
Elisa de la Roca

Elisa de la Roca, Design Director at CASSA shares with us: ‘’Bamboo is great for women as it may support the development of the women-led circular economy. Including planting, harvesting, treating, and added-value end-product from a cup to a house. Bamboo’s lightweight and versatility allows women to handle the raw resource throughout the process. The fact of seeing bamboo from the plant to its potential end-product value can inspire them to tangibly see the change that one little plant can make.’’ 

Bamboo as an economy activator for women living in rural areas

During the last years we, at Give Back to the Source, have visited many farms across rural Guatemala in which bamboo grows but it is not used. Most of the farmers we have met are focused on the monoculture of rubber or coffee. And most of them are not aware of their bamboo’s productive potential.

We have found this is due to the lack of knowledge of bamboo’s treatment process, and because the local market for bamboo used to be very small. But this last situation is changing: The bamboo market is growing in Guatemala, and the bamboo community across the country is getting connected to support each other. 

We find great potential in this changing scenario! 

Bamboo, which can be found almost everywhere, could become a force of change for rural communities and women in Guatemala, if provided with the right information.

But let’s explore more in depth some of the reasons why we believe in bamboo’s potential.

4 reasons why more women should start working with local bamboo:

  1. Bamboo is currently gaining popularity as an alternative to the textile, wood, plastic, and cement industries.

The eco-conscious consumers are becoming more familiar with the potential of bamboo. Not only around the world is a growing trend, but here too, in Guatemala. 

The material of bamboo can speak to a variety of people as it can be handled by weavers, artists, designers, builders and carpenters.

Women can easily plant, harvest and treat this grass family material. And sell it to many potential consumers. 

  1. Bamboo is an accessible opportunity to involve women in the production of goods. 

The growth and process of bamboo is inexpensive compared to most wood options. It is also much lighter and easier to work with. And it can be turned into valuable end-products by women.

When working with women from rural communities, we take into account that not all of them dream of becoming carpenters. But there are many ways to work with bamboo! And so it can be transformed by a diversity of women. 

Indigenous women cutting bamboo.
  1. Bamboo supports the awareness development of environmental solutions in rural communities

Most communities are impacted directly by climate change and are suffering its consequences. Equipping women with the skills to be a part of the solution of today’s environmental challenges will support the future generation land security.

  1. Bamboo cansupport women empowerment!

For many women, working with bamboo has represented their first opportunity for generating independent income. And  it has been proven that this work has an impact on the self-esteem and feeling of security of the women who do it. (Bamboo bioproduct). 

It is well known, in communities such as Chicacao, Guatemala, that bamboo can support women empowerment on all personal, social, political and economical levels!

The future: Education, Women and… Bamboo!

We are sure Bamboo is a great material for women to work with. It closes all cycles in the social, environmental and financial realms. It is accessible. And is a part of the solution for many challenges such as gender equity, poverty and climate change!

Donate to create more bamboo-related job opportunities for women in rural Guatemala!

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