All Insights

From Aspiration to Realization: Celebrating the Success of the Family Literacy Program on 2024 #Coopsday

F48accd9 8ea7 42be c100 3275b5c110ba
byHigh Atlas Foundation
onJuly 8, 2024

Dear HAF Supporters,

We are thrilled to share with you the incredible success of the Family Literacy Program that ran from 2021-2023 in the Marrakech-Safi and Beni Mellal-Khenifra regions. This unique program, funded by the European Union (EU), grew out of participatory community meetings where women collectively identified education and capacity-building as their main priorities.

During participatory workshops, we supported the design and implementation of the program, which has provided over 800 rural women aged 14 and up with literacy classes and skills-building workshops to support them on their journey towards greater autonomy and economic independence.

This International Day of Cooperatives, we highlight this initiative's remarkable achievements and its profound impact on the lives of hundreds of women and their communities.

Together, let’s celebrate the strength, courage, and boundless potential of the women who are transforming their communities.

With gratitude,
The High Atlas Foundation Team

Highlights from the Program

E5da7491 d885 c88c 1e3a ed135c2d50ce
Df5e768e 09fa e10c 72f7 94f2da483a50

Reflecting on the Journey:

The Family Literacy Program was born out of participatory community meetings, where groups of women from 40 communities throughout the Marrakech-Safi and Beni-Mellal regions gathered, their hearts brimming with dreams and aspirations. Over 80 days, the landscape of possibility was reimagined through 41 IMAGINE women empowerment workshops, engaging 800 women eager for change. In these gatherings, together, they mapped out their hopes and fears: a fear of daughters dropping out of school, of a future shadowed by illiteracy.

High illiteracy rates among women surfaced as a pressing issue, with 83% voicing a desperate need for literacy classes. Education, they realized, was the key to unlocking a brighter future for their communities. And the call was heard.

From these gatherings emerged a powerful resolve. The women, many of whom had never before held a pen, found themselves on a path to literacy. With the support of the EU, HAF launched literacy classes taught by 38 female instructors from their own villages who had been trained through the National Agency for the Fight Against Illiteracy.

And so their journey toward empowerment began.

E26cf405 e237 a5c0 fc33 8ba151c311b9

Empowered by their newfound knowledge, the women began to dream bigger. They saw opportunities in the everyday – in the local goods they could produce and sell, in the cooperatives they could form, and the future they could build together. 68 technical training courses unfolded, covering various topics from cooperative building to e-marketing. And so, three cooperatives saw the light, bringing additional income to their households and a sense of pride and independence.

Witness the transformative journey of resilience, growth, and empowerment in this short documentary showcasing the impact of the EU-funded Family Literacy Program.

Literacy Classes Paving the Way for Women-led Entrepreneurship

Merdhal Amane Cooperative

In early 2023, a group of 30 women from the Merdhal Amane village in Khenifra joined the Family Literacy Program, driven by a shared dream of economic independence. Since illiteracy was one of the women’s key challenges, they identified education as one of their top priorities and began receiving literacy classes. The women also participated in an IMAGINE workshop and technical training sessions from the Office of Cooperation Development (ODCO) and a marketing consultant, which allowed them to gain new profitable skills. This encouraged them to establish the Merdhal Amane Cooperative with 30 women applying their newfound skills and passion.


Merdhal Amane Cooperative members' growth journey from empowerment workshops to literacy classes and cooperative building. Photos: HAF

Receiving mentorship from the Yamna Cooperative, another successful women-led cooperative in the region, the women were able to grow their business, producing couscous and traditional cereal products. The cooperative also obtained substantial support from regional administrations, receiving 350,000 dirhams in equipment, which helped them take their business to the next step. Now, the Merdhal Amane is one of the most successful cooperatives in Morocco.

Not only has Merdhal Amane expanded, now producing carob and oak-based products in addition to couscous, but many women in the village also feel more empowered and independent than before, marking a huge success for the project.

The Journey of Zrbiat Achbarou Cooperative

After participating in a series of empowerment workshops that inspired them to take the traditional carpet-making practice and transform it into a business, 22 women established the Zrbiat Achbarou Cooperative. Today, the women produce and sell high-quality carpets made from natural dyes and materials.

In 2022, the women also participated in the High Atlas Foundation’s Family Literacy program, where they learned to read and write in Arabic and do simple mathematics, which has advanced their personal and professional development.


The cooperative has also engaged in a number of technical training workshops on topics like e-marketing methods and branding to better position their business.

Feeling motivated and inspired, the women have been working towards ambitious plans for the future as they hope to involve more women in their business, expand to new markets, and continue to sell to a large client-base.

Women Supporting Women in Entrepreneurship

Cc67480e 9613 6f9b 2e45 ed05c96f8edc

The Family Literacy Program encouraged participants to travel to neighboring communities within their province to attend networking events organized by HAF program staff. Guided by the success stories of their neighbors, these women have found inspiration and support through mentoring and networking sessions, which have become pivotal in their entrepreneurial journey. The gatherings not only connect them with fellow participants but also help them build essential business networks for mentoring and mutual support.

In the high, rugged mountains of Kerrouchen, nestled in the heart of the Khenifra province, a group of women embarked on a transformative journey. In 2022, they joined the Beni Mellal-Khenifra Family Literacy Program. Inspired by their skills in couscous-making, pastry-making, animal husbandry, and carpet-weaving, they envisioned a space where their talents could flourish and bring prosperity to their community. With invaluable technical training from ODCO Meknes, their dream took shape. The Taghda cooperative was born.

9899b616 8e12 0bc6 508b cd164ab54a3d

Another group of women embarked on a similar transformative journey in the remote commune of Sidi Boulakhlaf in the province of Azilal. Drawing inspiration from the success of the Iblase Cooperative, an established cooperative in the nearby commune of Ait Oumdiss, these women found a guiding light. Facilitated by HAF, mentoring and networking sessions have enabled beneficiaries to exchange experiences, enriching their path of growth and development.

The experiences of cooperatives such as Taghda, Merdhal Amane, and Achbarou underscore the immense impact of participatory community-driven initiatives, our core belief and guiding principle at HAF. Their journey stands as living proof that with determination, collaboration, and the right support, aspirations can indeed become realizations.

Empowered Women, Empowered Children: Promoting Shared Learning Experiences

50469755 da9c e01b effa 2380e8187a99

Many women understood the importance of educating their children but lacked the skills to actively support their learning journey, especially in preschool education.

Through engaging workshop activities and comprehensive literacy courses, the program equipped these women with the essential skills and knowledge to support their children's early education.

"Our children are the future, and it's our responsibility to ensure they receive a quality education," emphasized Zineb, a member of the Al Maida Attabiya cooperative in the commune of Ait Oum El Bekht, Beni Mellal province.

The Family Literacy Program not only addressed the educational needs of families but also strengthened familial bonds through shared learning experiences. By fostering a nurturing environment where parents and children learn and grow together, the program promotes holistic education that enhances both literacy skills and parental engagement.

As such, 268 participants have applied their new skills to family literacy activities. These include reading aloud to children aged five and under, teaching foundational literacy skills such as letter formation, and introducing basic numeracy concepts.

Through their active participation, these women are paving the way for a brighter future for their children and generations to come.

1b8428e5 398f 5d1b ba29 c3dad2c55b9c

This publication was produced with the financial support of the European Union. Its contents are the sole responsibility of the High Atlas Foundation and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.