In 2012, Chevron decided to establish a women’s empowerment program to create economic opportunities for women in the communities affected by its business. After researching women’s organizations in Brazil, they contacted ELAS to partner in building the program. As part of this partnership, ELAS facilitated meetings with women community groups to decide which types of businesses would be most beneficial to the relevant communities. This facilitation role was key in ensuring community needs were reflected in Chevron’s program planning.
Chevron invested in small, local women-owned businesses through ELAS, including a restaurant and a soap manufacturing business. Beyond assisting in the design and development of these businesses, ELAS managed grant-making, provided training and mentoring to the local businesswomen, and conducted monitoring and evaluation of the entire effort. In exchange for these services, ELAS charged a fee to Chevron: the project represented a total investment by Chevron of $812,973.
For Chevron: Partnering with ELAS provided a way for Chevron to learn which economic opportunities would be most valued by the women in the communities in which they operated, and accelerated and eased the process of supporting them. ELAS also enabled a significant media exposure for the program, which had added significant brand value to Chevron with communication actions. In addition, working with a partner that had credibility and trust in local communities helped to mitigate any risks, ultimately ensuring the security and sustainability of Chevron’s social investment.
For ELAS: The partnership with Chevron helped ELAS in fulfilling its mission to empower grassroots women’s organizations and businesses. Collaborating on a fee-for-service basis provided an opportunity to develop an alternative funding model for the organization and its grantee partners.