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IMAGINE workshop in Timoulilt

byAfaf Errafa
onSeptember 20, 2022

The Taymate Cooperative benefited from a self-empowerment program for women in Timoulilt (Azilal province, Beni Mellal-khenifra region) called “Imagine Workshop.”

Taymate, meaning “sisterhood” in Tamazight, is an agricultural cooperative created in 2008, composed of 20 members (15 women and five men) working in the natural preservation of olives. It produces red, green, and black olives as well as extra virgin olive oil, which is done in a natural way without chemicals.

During the four days of training and with the help of the monitors, the women learned about different topics and participated in different exercises.

Each day we started with calming music to help us relax. On the first day, although the women were shy to express themselves, they had a good understanding of the self-empowerment concept in general.

With the help and the encouragement of the monitors, the shyness started to disappear on the second day, and the women felt more comfortable to share their thoughts, stories, strengths and weaknesses regarding the two difficult topics: emotions and relationships.

The third day started with a few minutes of yoga to relax, and then we moved to the remaining topics, for which “the body” was the most dominant one. The women admitted that they had never talked about their bodies before and never asked themselves about their bodies’ needs, but through the exercises they were convinced to change their bad habits, to start taking better care of their bodies, and to stop overworking themselves.

We talked about religion on the final day, shared our thoughts and beliefs, and corrected our mistaken behaviors in our practices. We finished the training with an exercise to understand the needs of the cooperative in order to have a clear vision about its future.

In those four days, the women shared with us the struggles and difficulties they had since the start of their cooperative, for example:

  • The lack of financial resources made them work with traditional methods, which was hard and time consuming. According to Ms. Halima—a member of the cooperative—processing the olives was tiring, “Ten women worked the whole day to fill one single barrel.”
  • Convincing people about the importance of the cooperative in the development of the village was even harder, for the women faced rejection, suffered from bad rumors, and endured doubt about the quality of their products.
  • Water was and still is one of the main problems they struggle with until this day.

Despite all these difficulties they faced, those hard-working women are a great example of powerful and ambitious women. They inspired me to work hard to achieve my goals and to improve myself.

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.