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PROGRESS FOR WOMEN’S CO-OP IN TASSA OUIRGANE

Tassa Ouirgane’s new women’s coop has now become a certified association, under the leadership of their elected secretary general, Hassna Ait Hassou. Hassna has participated in trainings of the High Atlas Foundation (HAF) on leadership and participatory development.  HAF dedicated resources generously given by members of Chief Executive Organization who met with the people of Tassa Ouirgane during their Morocco College visit last May. After a series of community meetings HAF conducted in Tassa Ourigane, the women in the community determined to make a coop and implement projects that would improve their livelihood and quality of living for years to come.

Hassna led crucial meetings with the women of her douar (village) to establish the goals and by-laws of their newly formed association. The women agreed that their first project would be to learn sewing and embroidering skills that will help generate income to support their families and themselves. The women also discussed the general rules required for all members, including membership identification cards, a formal work environment with a set schedule and without children in the workshop will be respected, and two women will share a machine at a time. The women developed these bylaws together and agreed to them, showing their commitment to professionalism and productivity. A men’s association in Tassa Ouirgane has generously donated a work space for the women until their’s is constructed nearby, with labor provided in kind from community members once all building materials are secured.

To supply the women of Tassa Ouirgane with the skills they need to produce sewed and embroidered clothes and decoration, HAF secured Mariam Ait Omlil from Asni, a bright young woman with a degree in sewing and embroidery, to conduct the training for the women. Mariam joined Malika Kassi, HAF Site Manager, in Tassa Ouirgane to meet the group and to discuss their needs and their goals. With Mariam’s expertise, the group identified the materials and equipment necessary for producing goods to sell.

The women of Tassa Ouirgane have been busy harvesting olives over the past two months, but with the harvest finished, they are in great need of a mechanism to generate income for their families. After HAF’s community meetings and close relationships with these women, HAF hopes to continue to support them so that they can achieve their goal of producing high-quality embroidered and sewed goods to sell to tourists and to other villages.

Most recently, the men of Tassa Ouirgane have agreed to offer their labor in kind to build the women’s coop. This is an enormous recognition of the importance of women’s projects in Tassa Ouirgane. Malika Kassi participated in multiple meetings with the men’s association to reach an agreement that suits all of the parties’ interest. Now it is up to the women of Tassa Ouirgane to design the layout of the coop, and for HAF to supply the 18,625 dirhams needed to purchase sewing equipment.

Just a quick addition: Peter Jupp, HAF’s Chair of the Board of Directors, not only made the CEO Morocco College possible, but is a visionary in making humanitarian dreams come alive.  What else can we say but that we love him.

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