Empowering Women Entrepreneurs in the Dominican Republic

Countless people in the Dominican Republic and abroad have tasted bananas from the province of Valverde, in the north of that country. Nearly one out of every ten residents of Valverde work on producing or exporting bananas. Very few of them are women, however. 

While Valverde bananas are famous internationally, what’s less well known is that they are for more than just eating. A UNDP-supported project has trained more than 700 women how to start, manage and promote their own small enterprises. Some of them have taken the creative step of producing handicrafts made from banana fiber. That’s a smart business move in a country where handicrafts yield over $300 million per year.

It takes three days to transform banana peel and stem fiber into wallets, bracelets, necklaces, and other crafts. "The only thing you need is the desire to learn," says 68-year-old Gertrudis Santiago, one of the program’s participants.

You now have a chance to buy some of these unique gifts! And you’ll be supporting women micro-entrepreneurs in Valverde.