by Noah C. Kohlmayer, HAF intern
In September 2020, the project of bolstering women’s development in rural Morocco was initiated. Since then, the project has shown great progress and results. It has been implemented within the AEIF 2020, which is coordinated by the US Embassy in Morocco.
This project aimed to provide two groups of rural women with new skills and tools in order to achieve self-empowerment and greater participation in their communities, whether that be politically, economically, or in the civic spaces of their individual community. Twenty participants in total had the opportunity to participate in language literacy, technical capacity-building, and empowering programs during this twelve-month period. After all this preparation, the goal was for each group to start their own cooperative in order to make a profit, support, and inspire others—especially within their rural communities.
From March throughout June, the women’s groups were busy with several workshops on topics such as catering an event, keeping track of documents and receipts, improving product quality, preserving natural resources, and last, but not least, exchanging ideas with other women in other cooperatives. Simultaneously, the US delegation of the Embassy visited and met with the newly-empowered women. Both parties were exceptionally pleased to become acquainted and learn about the progress these women have made in the past few months.
Furthermore, boosting their confidence and sense of self-empowerment were two goals of these field trips for each of the women’s groups. Some of them were leaving their village for the first time in their lives. One group focused on perfecting their artisanal carpet production and embroidery skills while paying a visit to the Achbarou Women’s group, whose focus of production is on handcrafted carpets. The other got the chance to visit Amal Women’s Training Center, where they learned about a catering and restoration business.
The AEIF project has a big beneficial impact on the lives of the women and their communities. They no longer have to count on their husbands for financial stability; instead they have started generating their own income and can support the well-being of their families. Additionally, married women get more recognition from their now more open-minded partners. Moreover, the women are now able to read, write, and for the first time can help their children with homework, as well as encourage them to finish school.
A beautiful example that implements the great influence of this project is the youngest woman of the Sidi Ali Ofare village, who was forced to drop out of middle-school seven years ago and left her dreams of becoming a lawyer behind. Fortunately, only two months after the beginning of the women’s empowerment project, she chose to go back to school with the goal of passing the baccalaureate and pursuing her dreams of becoming an advocate.
In conclusion, these 20 amazing, rural women are prepared for a sustainable future within their community. This incredible example also motivated other women to join the new cooperatives and has inspired neighbouring villages to establish their own.