Financial Independence and Empowerment
F2F Field Officer
In June 2019, I joined the High Atlas Foundation (HAF) team on a field trip with students from the University of Virginia (UVA) to Tassa Ouirgane village. The host association was managed by a group of men who ran different activities related to the development of Tassa Ouirgane village. Furthermore, the association was home to five women who used to make Moroccan cookies for special occasions and prepare dried medicinal and aromatic herbs.
In January 2019, the HAF team returned to the same place but this time to conduct the Empowerment Workshop for the benefit of the women in the village, who demonstrated their wishes to create a cooperative in order to invest their free time and enhance their livelihood.
In 2021, with the technical assistance of the Farmer-to-Farmer team, a group of five women created a nursery and launched the Takharkhourt Cooperative. The training was conducted by local volunteer Rachida Outouchki, who started by providing the basic procedures of creating a cooperative and then the necessary documents to submit to the authorities. The training also consisted of teaching the five young women about the nursery set up and daily tasks such as the soil’s preparation and treatment, sowing of seeds; irrigation; maintenance of saplings; and the proper planting periods.
The young group started with growing olive saplings in their nursery, and then expanded to carob. In 2022, they grew 7,000 carob trees and distributed them to farmers across in their province. When asked about the impact of establishing a cooperative, the first thing they mentioned was financial independence, as they no longer rely on their families to provide financial support. Furthermore, this financial empowerment allowed them to have confidence in themselves, strength, and the capacity for self-determination.
This year, 5,000 carob trees grew in this nursery and they are aiming to raise that amount by purchasing better-quality seedlings. The Foundation’s teams are committing to provide technical support related to the nursery for Takharkhourt, so that one day, the nursery can supply farmers throughout the country.