By Sanae Benaadim
Women of Taymat Cooperative in Zaouit Cheikh meet to create an action plan Photo Credit: Ilham Safi
Four women from the Taymat Cooperative and an additional seven women from their village of Zaouit Cheikh met with the High Atlas Foundation’s Family Literacy team in Beni Mellal province to discuss their priorities. The cooperative, created in 2013, works on artisanal products like carpets and clothes, and has benefited from training from a well-known man in their village.
The biggest challenges for the cooperative have been the repeated changes to membership and the current lack of human resources. Although the president has tried to recruit local ladies, she has had little success since most prefer to get paid in advance before they start their work in the cooperative. In other cases, there has been frequent turnover as some ladies have left after just one week.
A discussion with the women and the HAF team revealed that the women do not understand the concept of a cooperative or the meaning of cooperation: each person equally contributing her labor and talents in order to share equally in the income. The women, including those who have not yet joined the cooperative, were open to participating in a training by ODCO, which the HAF team will arrange for them.
The participatory discussion between the cooperative members and the other women that followed identified nine priorities: literacy classes, training on understanding cooperatives, training new members on artisanal production, adding workers to the cooperative, marketing, headquarter for the cooperative, professional training (OFPPT) for youth, participation in international exhibitions, and police security (after 6 pm, it is dangerous to be out of the house, especially for the women).
The program will provide literacy instruction to the group as funded by the EU. One young lady was motivated in the workshop, and she will send her resume so she can be hired as the literacy teacher.
The HAF team also met with the local Pasha and the President of the commune the previous week. They explained the EU project, and the authorities kindly offered support to the team for this project. They will provide a local where the women study in Zaouit Cheikh. The President also expressed interest in planting trees there in partnership with HAF and will provide land for a nursery to be built for that purpose.
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.