Women entrepreneurs in the extreme poverty conditions of rural Mexico need seed capital to bridge the gap between current local capacity and the requirements of quality tourism. Cuatro Palos Ecolodge is the first of 15 roadside restaurants and 15 ecolodges seeking help to improve business and livelihoods. Help them build a small lodge with natural materials in a strategic tourist destination they own and operate in the Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve.
In a remote community of 122 members, like Cuatro Palos, every family faces the cycle of extreme poverty, illiteracy, alcoholism, migration, the vulnerability of women with young and elderly dependents and no skills. Help 20 adults to expand the community-based microenterprise by building an ecolodge for tourists to stay the night and to improve the quality of the service and products in order to benefit their local economy and the sustainable future of the Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve.
Since 2002, the local women have been operating a small restaurant and guide services for tourists to see Cuatro Palos; but with no other products or services, the number of clients is small and irregular. With a new ecolodge that they build themselves, the women will identify personally with the new enterprise, increase the number of attractions for clients to stay longer and spend more, and break the poverty cycle.
Learning to build with clay and local materials, to maintain standards of hygiene and to coordinate the services available means the members of the cooperative and their families will gain the know-how to live better. Respect for sustainable criteria among the emblematic small roadside businesses will set a standard for local tourism providers and gain wider attention, in turn encouraging other service providers to follow their lead. As the number of clients increase, so will employment.