An Entrepreneurship for Good Program is for individuals who are driven by a meaningful vision. Our participants generally arrive brimming with bright ideas. They want to make a real difference, often with a business that benefits the community or a project in the cultural sector. Or with a technology that addresses a specific problem in their home country.
The program runs over 10 weeks and provides an opportunity for passionate individuals to innovate, collaborate and shift paradigms.
It’s been two years since Rosa Coello Molina, a business woman and activist, took part in the DO School’s Connection Challenge. In the intervening years she has launched a venture called Acllawasi which combines art, urban agriculture and the empowerment of women in the bustling Peruvian cIty of Cusco. She sat down with us to share her plans for the future.
Tell us more about why you started Acllawasi?
With Acllawasi we are trying to activate spaces and communities in a positive way by remembering, awakening and connecting. Our proposal for change is based on gender equality, spirituality, ancestral wisdom and positive living. We have three priorities: 1. Using art as a tool for communication, expression, and connection, 2. Counteracting climate change – developing workshops about urban agriculture, sustainable development, and the environment. And 3. Learning – through fostering critical thinking.
Can you give us a sense of the daily activities involved?
We are based in Cusco, Peru, where we have a physical space in the cultural house called Rica Chicha. Since August 2017 we have been carrying out different cultural activities such as facilitating women’s circles, mixed circles, urban agriculture workshops, natural perfume workshops, ancestral music concerts, eco-fairs, and facilitating conversations spaces. We seek to create a physical and virtual platform where we can engage with different ventures and people, both locally and internationally. Together we hope to generate services and products that allow us to learn and connect.
How do you think urban agriculture can contribute to some of the nutritional challenges faced in Peru and around the world?
Urban agriculture is a very powerful tool for change that can offer a different and sustainable consumption option. Cities are often responsible for the main environmental problems facing our generation. We believe urban agriculture has the potential to offer a solution. We aim to change the consumption dynamics of our participants and in so doing integrate with the community in an active way. We also want to be able to produce locally and have access to fresh foods. Some of the added benefits are that: We can make use of ancestral wisdom to unlock the medicinal properties of indigenous plants. And best of all, if the model is successful it is easily replicable – we can make it work in different spaces and contexts.
Could you tell us more about the effects of integrating artistic expression in your gatherings?
Art is a universal language of expression, it has the ability to reach out and touch us on different levels. And in addition to raising awareness, art has always had a liberating and healing effect. By using different artistic expressions in our approach, we can create a truly diverse space for learning, sharing and healing.
What is your vision for the future?
We anticipate that Acllawasi will become a prominent space in which women and men can be empowered, as well being a space where they can come together to think critically about sustainability. Our artists will contribute towards creating a more just and fair world in the long term. In the short and medium term, we are confident Acllawasi will continue to promote social justice and consciousness.
How can people or organisations support you?
Cusco has allowed us to reach Peruvians and people from all over the world. We’ve found that that many people are currently interested in mystical and ancestral ventures. Going forward we are looking for partners in funding a virtual platform where participants can engage with each other, both locally and internationally.
We are also looking for partnerships that help us activate different public spaces in different cities and contexts using urban agriculture, art, and learning. Whether they have a physical space available or seek to finance interventions of this type, we are open to chatting with them.
The ancestral element is not insignificant. We believe it offers real wisdom and that it is a powerful tool for healing and creating connections. We want to share and spread this connection journey through a 45 minute documentary. And lastly, by generating truly diverse spaces, there is a need to produce free, inclusive events so that everyone is free to participate.
20 Mar 2018