Today was the last day of Imagine workshops in Oujda, but the first day to think about the journey of Empowerment in the Oriental region for 58 women of different cooperatives.
From August 10st to August 17th, 2018, the High Atlas Foundation (HAF) facilitated an eight-day women’s empowerment workshop in Isly Golf Hotel in Oujda for more than 25 cooperatives.
HAF and the Empowerment Institute ork together to enhance women’s liveshoods. Specifically, we aim to help them identify their goals and visions that will lead them to become a powerful force in society—fighting for their rights and dreams without any confusion or self-doubt.
To start the initiative in the oriental region, the U.S.-Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) took action and added its value to improve women’s capacities in specific areas, such as finances. The women also explore topics such as explore self-discovery. For example, each woman learns how to identify her needs and start transforming her beliefs into a vision and then into reality; each woman becomes motivated to realize her strengths and utilize them to enhance her life, family, community, and her country.
In the two workshops I observed, I discovered the women had great interest in both the empowerment program—including the sustainable development of building capacities step by step starting from the self discovering—and the cooperative building program—including the creation of cooperatives based on the participatory approach.
Many of the women participating in the workshop had never before thought to ask themselves where they are now in life, where they would like to be—their goals—and what steps they need to take to get there. Most of them were introduced to the technical term “growing edge,” which is a concept involving constant advancement in one’s life by consistently making and working towards achieving goals.
HAF created a Moroccan model that combines many components (i.e., the Moroccan Modowana law, the Koran, and the participatory approach) to effectively build capacities of women’s cooperatives through the Empowerment program. This adaptation helps women find themselves and discover their self-confidence in not just one area, but in seven: Emotions, Relationships, Sexuality, Body, Money, Work, and Spirituality. Through these workshops, most of the participants become more confident in themselves and identify clear visions. One of the participants said,
“I’d never say ‘no’ to anyone because I might lose people if I say ‘no,’ but I suffered more and more because of this. I couldn’t appreciate myself and I didn’t care about it. The more important thing for me has always been to give to others, and not put me first. But, in this exercise of core beliefs I found today that I need to appreciate myself before all, and don’t say ‘yes’ if this ‘yes’ will cause me pain and suffering with others. I have self-esteem and I love myself as I am.”
I appreciate the opportunity that HAF gave me to go to the Oriental region and learn from a powerful group of women that have many, many strengths and just needed the tools to discover them. I think the Imagine workshop gave them the resources to do so and to excel in their lives.