The Oriental Region, located in the northeast area of Morocco, near the border with Algeria and the Mediterranean sea, has been historically isolated from the rest of Morocco, and the country’s major development zones. This region covers a vast extension of land, which is mostly rural with a weak and poorly industrialised entrepreneurial fabric. The role of women in this country is fairly restricted; the level of illiteracy among women is as high as 73%. This relegates women to playing a secondary role which limits their professional possibilities.
In this context, cooperatives in the agri-fishing sector are an important driver for women’s economic development. For this reason, CODESPA has been encouraging the creation, support and reinforcement of production initiatives in Morocco’s oriental region. Specifically, we are working with eight women’s sewing cooperatives, in strengthening them as cooperatives as well as in training the women involved in them.
These women’s cooperatives have been selected to take part in the “Pilot programme for the production and use of eco-friendly cloth bags”, promoted by the Ministry of Energy, Mines, Water and the Environment and the Ministry of General Affairs and Governance. This programme falls within the national strategy for protection of the environment and the fight against pollution.
This means that these cooperatives, made up of women, will start to produce this type of bags and can obtain income from selling them. This programme will help to improve their stability, benefits, income and even more people may be incorporated to work to meet the order. Women will be able to foster their leadership and organisational skills within the Oriental Region.
At the same time, the development of alternative eco-friendly products through the use of these eco-friendly bags made of biodegradable cloth, seeks to replace the use of plastic bags with bags that are more environmentally-friendly and less harmful for people’s health. In addition to the environmental impact, the programme seeks to have an impact on changing consumers’ behaviour.
This gives continuity to the work we are carrying out with our local partner, AMAL, aimed at supporting the self-employment of these entrepreneurial women. This alliance between the public sector and the associations sector makes it possible to improve the quality of life of these women, at the same time as representing an improvement to the environment, and the appearance of new synergies and opportunities for Morocco.
The AECID funds this project for the Integration of young people in a situation of poverty through the Agreement “Improving the social and job integration of vulnerable young people by strengthening public professional training programmes in Morocco.”