CARTAGENA, Colombia, April 13, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Walmart announced today an initiative that will empower up to 55,000 women in Latin America and the Caribbean to build businesses and take control of their futures. In addition, Walmart will work with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) to provide job training and help with job placement for nearly 1 million young people in these regions, at least half of whom will be young women.
"These partnerships will not only change the lives of the women we'll reach, but also improve the lives of their families and their entire communities," said Walmart President and CEO Mike Duke, who joined Secretary Clinton at the Sixth Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, Colombia today. "When we launched our Global Women's Economic Empowerment Initiative last year, we committed to helping women around the world live better. By working with leaders like Secretary Clinton, we're bringing that mission to life."
Walmart's $12 million commitment to Secretary Clinton's International Fund for Women and Girls, the IDB and other NGOs includes:
The WEAmericas Small Grants Initiative
In partnership with Secretary Clinton's International Fund for Women and Girls, the Walmart Foundation has pledged $1.5 million to help create the WEAmericas Small Grants Initiative. Over the next two years, the effort will support the dreams of up to 55,000 potential women entrepreneurs in rural and indigenous communities throughout the Americas.
Vital Voices Women Entrepreneur Support
The Walmart Foundation is donating $500,000 to Vital Voices, an NGO committed to unleashing the leadership potential of extraordinary women around the world. The grant will provide long-term support for women hoping to grow small businesses.
The New Employment Opportunities (NEO) Initiative
Walmart will translate and provide its Walmart Brazil Social Retail School curriculum to the IDB's NEO Initiative. The retailer also committed to continuing its partnership in Brazil with governments and NGOs for the next five years, graduating thousands of new students. Combined, this support is valued at more than $10 million.
The IDB expects its NEO Initiative to empower roughly 1million young people to take control of their futures over the next 10 years. At least half of those served will be young women.
"As a founding member of our NEO initiative, Walmart is demonstrating a visionary commitment to training youth in our region for 21st century jobs and promoting greater gender balance,'' said IDB President Luis Alberto Moreno. "We are proud to have Walmart as a partner and hope their example will serve as an inspiration to other companies to join the NEO Initiative."
Today's announcement supports key goals under Walmart's Global Women's Economic Empowerment Initiative, launched in September 2011. For more information on this initiative, visit www.walmartstores.com/women. Additional details on grants supporting women and youth in Latin America and Colombia can be found here.
Why This Matters: A Young Mother and Her Dream
Imagine a woman, perhaps a young mother, living in Brazil. Imagine she was born and raised in Alagoas in the northeast corner of her country -- one of its poorest areas. The signs of stress are everywhere she looks.
For the last few years this young mother has had the idea and the drive to build a small business, but has fallen short of making her dream a reality. She needs job training, access to a steady marketplace and the support of a mentor – all common barriers in her part of the world. If she could start and maintain a business it would give her the opportunity to use her talents and ambition to lift her family out of poverty – and inspire an entire community.
About Walmart Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT) serves customers and members more than 200 million times per week at 10,130 retail units under 69 different banners in 27 countries. With fiscal year 2012 sales of approximately $444 billion, Walmart employs more than 2 million associates worldwide. Walmart continues to be a leader in sustainability, corporate philanthropy and employment opportunity. Additional information about Walmart can be found by visiting http://walmartstores.com and on Facebook at http://facebook.com/walmart and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/walmart. Online merchandise sales are available at http://www.walmart.com and http://www.samsclub.com.