HAF and rural women are establishing new women’s cooperatives. We have developed women’s cooperatives in four provinces and now have plans to expand into additional regions.
These HAF’s women’s cooperatives will begin exporting fair trade handicrafts and medicinal herbs and plants internationally in the next year to generate income and alleviate gender disparity through female socioeconomic empowerment.
Women are integral to the sustainable development of any community. However, marginalization of women is particularly profound in rural areas, and is due to a range of causes: limited financial resources within households; the burden of household chores assigned to girls; the absence of education, communication, and transport infrastructure; and cultural beliefs that prioritize the education of young males.
Cooperative Building and Women’s Empowerment
HAF cooperatives work to create projects that address the development needs of women and their families, ameliorating the traditional socioeconomic marginalization of women. The formation of these cooperatives includes the training of women as facilitators of community dialogue that leads towards the planning of development projects.
The cooperatives’ projects contribute to the empowerment of women by increasing their participation in the socioeconomic sphere. Cooperative members gain literacy and business education and also gain artisanal and agricultural skills in order to produce value-added products that will be to be sold to sustain the cooperative and generate income for the individual members and their families.
HAF cooperatives give rural women the opportunity to enhance and solidify their pivotal role in the socioeconomic sphere as well as the ability to jointly dictate the terms of their community’s development.
A single cooperative can serve approximately 300 women and girls. Participants gain the skills and the tools to improve their socioeconomic standing and to increase the scale of their initiatives. By supporting autonomous income generation for rural women, HAF helps women gain the self-confidence and the knowledge base to identify and implement the development projects that they most need and want.