All Insights

An Entrepreneurial Success

byAbdellah Laaboudi
onJanuary 27, 2023

Nezha, a young Moroccan woman hailing from the mountainous regions of Taounate, has overcome numerous struggles to reach the success she enjoys today. She has always believed that the reality of rural women in the mountains is a difficult one, characterized by marginalization and dependency despite the central role they play in local development. With this in mind, Nezha set out to empower rural women and showcase their importance both within and outside the household upon completing her university education.

As a biology graduate, Nezha’s connection to the land only grew stronger during her studies. Determined to uplift the status of rural women and bring recognition to their vital role in the community, Nezha dedicated herself to promoting local products, which she considers to be the backbone of her hometown. Through her volunteer work in civil society, Nezha participated in various activities and initiatives aimed at empowering women and promoting natural, local products. However, her journey was not without its challenges.

Despite facing discrimination and societal pressure to conform to traditional gender roles, Nezha persevered, and her hard work paid off when she was accepted into the “Engaging Underserved Communities in the Fez Region through Legal Aid, Awareness-Raising, and Socio-Economic Integration” program, which was implemented by the High Atlas Foundation in partnership with the Faculty of Law in Fes with funding from the U.S.-Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI). This program not only provided Nezha with the legal, social, and economic knowledge necessary to take her community development efforts to the next level but also with a support system and a community of like-minded individuals who were equally passionate about making a positive impact.

Nezha in the field with the Zahrat Alchamal Cooperative. Photo courtesy of Nezha Mojahid

Nezha is mentored on Digital Marketing aspects and is learning the commercialization process, October 2022. Photo taken by HAF

After benefiting from several training sessions in entrepreneurship as part of the program, Nezha launched the Zahrat Alchamal cooperative. The cooperative membership includes four women and three men, and its goal is to involve rural women in the local production cycle of many regional natural products, including their valorization and marketing.

Nezha’s enthusiasm and dedication have led her to participate in several trainings that have changed the course of her thinking and the direction of her project, including courses on leadership skills and management, funding opportunities, tax incentives for cooperatives in Morocco, and social media and e-marketing management.

Nezha’s story is one of success, thanks to the support of the program, which has helped to improve the social and economic situation of some of the region’s vulnerable communities by providing free legal aid and training in entrepreneurship as a means of civic and economic participation. The program has trained 231 students (51% female, 49% male) in master’s and doctoral programs in economic and social law, enabling them to provide free legal aid and facilitate capacity building for beneficiaries from various communities in the Fes-Meknes region of Morocco.

The true allure of this program, as articulated by Nezha, lies not only in its ability to impart training and acquire knowledge but also in its unwavering commitment to provide ongoing support throughout the crucial stages of business development. This includes providing guidance in areas such as digital marketing, seeking funding opportunities, and continually striving to foster the growth and advancement of the cooperative enterprise with the ultimate goal of transforming it into a thriving company.

This mentorship and accompaniment toward the realization of income-generating projects are part of The program “Engaging Underserved Communities in the Fez Region through Legal Aid, Awareness-Raising, and Socio-Economic Integration” implemented by the High Atlas Foundation in partnership with the Faculty of Legal, Economic, and Social Sciences at Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdellah University in Fez and with funding from the U.S.-Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) to elevate the status of youth, women, and underrepresented communities by providing pro-bono legal aid and entrepreneurship training as a means to engage civically and economically.