Tu Oportunidad program trains mentors who assist women in their economic empowerment.
"The power to help and guide many women through my own experience on the path of empowerment has been very enriching for me, and more and more women are joining," said Maricel Rivas, an entrepreneur from northern Chile who, after participating in the Tu Oportunidad Program, completed the Mentorship Training and is now part of the Mentor Network, where she voluntarily advises and supports women to strengthen their economic empowerment.
This is one of the lines of work of the Tu Oportunidad – Second Chance Education program by UN Women in Chile, which, through mentorship, facilitates mutual development, knowledge exchange, values, skills, perspectives, and competencies.
The strategy, which aims to be implemented in Latin American countries, consists of sessions where women leaders in their sectors share their success stories and provide personalized guidance to other women attendees to help them achieve their goals.
This approach creates a real advantage in learning and complements the work done during the workshop phase, where women receive technical and human support to enhance their empowerment capabilities.
"They shed light on my path to keep moving forward, first by helping me and my entrepreneurship. I learned about the Canvas model and gave a new direction to my business… the mentors were very welcoming and enthusiastic, and I still keep in touch with them," highlighted Maricel regarding the contribution of this strategy to her own entrepreneurship.
As a result, she has participated as a mentor and speaker in other projects, both in her own community and in other regions where she resides. Maricel dreams of "having an institution where women feel welcomed, supported, and where they can learn, and I can provide them with tools to develop their own entrepreneurship."
Tu Oportunidad program has a network of 126 volunteer mentors, covering a variety of topics of great interest to participants. Some notable areas include financing ventures, e-commerce, digital marketing, entrepreneurial skills, communication and leadership, and job search strategies.
One of the requirements to become a mentor is a commitment to gender equality and the economic empowerment of women, demonstrated through the voluntary sharing of eight hours to serve as a mentor, as well as completing gender training and individual guidance with the person in charge of the network.
An essential part of the mentor network is that program graduates can become mentors themselves. Therefore, the program has a School of Mentorship Formation, consisting of a ten-hour training accompanied by a mentoring practice, which, upon graduation, enables them to actively participate in the network and become agents of change in their communities.
Mentors establish a relationship of mutual learning and trust with the participants. They have the opportunity to develop new perspectives, ask new questions, learn about other concerns, and broaden their personal and professional vision. This creates a virtuous cycle of learning and close development for both parties.
"These instances have an impact on women's lives, both mentors and mentees, helping clarify their goals and projects in personal and professional fields, strengthening attitudes and skills for decision-making, self-awareness, social relationships, and increased communication abilities. Additionally, they empower participants to become agents of change in their communities," emphasized Gabriela Rosero, Head of the Chile Office at UN Women.
Alliances for Change
The establishment of the Tu Oportunidad Mentor Network has required a great effort from the implementation team at UN Women due to the large number of mentors needed to develop the program. Invitations have been extended to women with experience in advising and supporting women, especially in their economic empowerment. These mentors come from the private sector, government, civil society, and academic institutions. They have a track record of success in their respective fields and serve as examples and inspiration for program participants.
AIEP, an educational institution, is an ally in implementing this initiative. They are responsible for both the mentorship phase of the Tu Oportunidad program in Chile and the Mentor Formation. They are also in charge of recruiting and training women belonging to the Tu Oportunidad Mentor Network. AIEP Professional Institute has over 57 years of experience in higher education, providing training to professionals and technicians across its 25 campuses throughout the country.
Second Chance Education Program
The Tu Oportunidad – Second Chance Education program by UN Women in Chile has developed the Mentor Formation methodology, aiming to make participants agents of change in society and their communities. Evidence supports this methodology, as 86% of mentored ventures survive beyond five years, 56% increase their profits, and 74% expand their customer base.
In Chile, during the program's implementation, over 650 mentoring sessions have been conducted, involving more than 2,000 women and a network of 126 volunteer mentors. The mentorship school has trained over 550 women from the Tu Oportunidad program to become certified mentors and active agents of change in both the program and their own communities.