By Hassan AHMATAY, HAF volunteer
Women of the Aboughlou Cooperative, Ourika Photo credit: H. Ahmatay
When I remember my visit to the Aboughlou Cooperative as a volunteer for the High Atlas Foundation (HAF), it is immediately the very beautiful smiles of the women of the cooperative that come to mind, and the pride declared in their eyes.
On that summer Saturday morning, staff members for HAF, Hajiba, Safaa and Omar, who are responsible for supervising the cooperative, accompanied me to visit the women of Aboughlou.
We took the road towards the cooperative—the road to Ourika, the road of a thousand and one gardens. When we arrived, we appreciated the warm welcome of all the cooperative team, who were quite lovely.
The cooperative was built in 2015 with eight women at the beginning and has grown thanks to HAF, which devoted all of its efforts to supporting and encouraging these women with training and counseling workshops. The women appointed Lalla Rachida as president, and they all started working on local organic products, such as couscous, Moroccan cakes, and other items.
And thanks to these efforts and also to the united commitment of all the women, the cooperative has been able to establish partnerships with national and international organizations and have its products certified by the National Office for Food Safety (ONSSA), and involved in significant exhibitions in Morocco and elsewhere.
Aboughlou Cooperative sign showing professional product packaging Photo credit: H. Ahmatay
My visit to the Aboughlou Cooperative was different from what I expected. I was really surprised to see how well the cooperative is developed in all dimensions (through organization, work strategy, and even the sophisticated and refined packaging of the products provided) and how confident and proud lalla Rachida was of her collaboration with HAF, which has enhanced the cooperative to its current level.