Since 2004, Namaste Direct has equipped thousands of Guatemalan women who run small businesses with the skills and resources to increase their profits and pull themselves out of poverty. COVID-19 however, has managed to reverse much of their progress.
Since March 2020, our Business Advisors have conducted their advisory visits via phone or in person, as well as weekly interviews with our clients to get current information on how the pandemic is impacting their livelihoods. All of our clients experienced a sharp decrease in sales due to the pandemic, and many of of them became the primary breadwinners for their households as their family members lost their jobs. This virus has exacerbated the already precarious living conditions of the female micro-entrepreneurs we serve.
In response to these challenges, Namaste has developed the following interventions.
1. Creating Prosperity in the time of COVID-19
We continue to offer our Creating Prosperity Program. Namaste Business Advisors remain a lifeline for clients, offering individualized support and relief plans. Our advisors support clients in restructuring their businesses and finding new alternatives to stabilize their incomes.
2. Namaste’s Basic Income Supplement Program (BISP)
Namaste supplements the incomes of clients who are earning less than 80% of the Guatemalan minimum wage, which is $9.6 USD per day.
It is important to note that 92% of the women Namaste serves enter our program earning far less than minimum wage, at somewhere between $2-$5 USD per day. Most of our clients are able to meet, and even exceed the minimum wage after graduating from our program. We selected 80% of the minimum wage as a benchmark that would allow us to provide basic stability to as many women as possible through these times. This data-driven approach puts financial resources in the hands of the women who need it most.
100% of all donations designated to the BISP will go directly to supplement the incomes of our clients.
3. Emergency Household Fund
Namaste has established an emergency fund to provide clients with cash grants that range between $100 – $197 USD. Our Business Advisors nominate clients who are facing overwhelming financial hardship for these grants.
100% of all donations designated to this fund will go directly to our clients.