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Socio-economic development of the poorest women from desert regions of Morocco

The oasis in the region of Tata is situated in the southern part of Morocco. Most of the inhabitants are Berber tribes and Tata Arabs. Tata is located about 300 kilometres from Agadir and 400 kilometres from Laayoune and comprises about 400 rural municipalities. The region is known for its dry climate and very sparse rainfall. These factors slow down the development of agriculture, leading to unemployment and chronic poverty of the residents. The harsh climate also contributes to the very low level of local trade.

Women and children are the most vulnerable social groups, having the most difficulty overcoming poverty. In addition to this, women from rural areas are discriminated against because of their social origin and also due to local tradition. Most projects initiated by the administration are addressed solely to men. In 2015, a group of local women organised a production cooperative. The aim of this project is to support the cooperative by providing equipment and organising professional training.

The project’s beneficiaries consist of a group of about 30 women, aged 25 to 55, who are involved in making couscous and other cereal-based products. Their products are prepared, packaged and distributed using home methods. The working conditions limit the possibilities of development of the cooperative and in consequence of attaining higher profits. Most of the women work in the cooperative to meet their most basic needs. Often, they are the only providers in the whole family.

The project partner, the Mayshad Foundation, operates mainly in the southern desert regions of the country: Tata and Tan Tan. In 2015, the foundation coordinated six training and educational projects in these regions involving such issues as observance of hygiene, projects addressed to children and young people, distribution of foodstuffs for the local community and the purchase of equipment for cooperatives.

Socio-economic development of the poorest women from desert regions of Morocco

The project was implemented from 1 September to 31 December 2015 in cooperation with the Mayshad Foundation. The project’s measures covered the area of the oasis in the Tata region, located in the southern part of Morocco. Tata is located about 300 kilometres from Agadir and 400 kilometres from Laayoune and comprises about 400 rural municipalities. Under the project, equipment was supplied and professional training was carried out for women associated in the production cooperative.

The aim of the project was to provide support for women so that they could become self-reliant and to create for them an opportunity for a decent life. Thanks to the programme, the organisational structure of the cooperative and a professional production line were created, complying with the standards in effect. Women acquired vocational skills, increased their economic independence and improved their living conditions. The project encompassed a group of about 30 women, aged 25 to 55, who are involved in making couscous and other cereal-based products through the cooperative.

The project contributed to the achievement of goals 1 and 3 of the Sustainable Development Goals: elimination of extreme poverty and hunger by reducing by half the number of people whose income does not exceed 1 US dollar a day as well as promotion of gender equality and social advancement of women.

Socio-economic development of the poorest women from desert regions of Morocco

The project was implemented from 1 September to 31 December 2015. Measures included the purchase of equipment for making couscous and other cereal-based products. A professional production line was created. Training was organised for 30 women associated in the cooperative and a marketing strategy was created for the products. In the course of the project, training was adapted to the needs of the cooperative, thanks to which all the funds planned for the project were not spent. The money saved was used for renovation of additional premises for the production of couscous and other goods. The measures taken made it possible to increase the assortment of the cooperative’s products and increased profits of the venture. Thanks to better logistics, it became possible to hire all women at the same time. Until the time of renovation, the women had been working in a rotation system.

Thanks to the essential equipment and materials provided, the infrastructure needed for efficient operation of the cooperative was created. The vocational skills of 30 women were raised. Their knowledge in management and enterprise promotion was improved. Also, a training model was created that can be used in other cooperatives in the region. The expected durability of the cooperative’s equipment is 10 years.

The project significantly equalises the opportunities of the beneficiaries in obtaining an education and financial independence. The measures also enable the women involved to regain faith in their worth and to lead decent lives in society.