Updated: Jul 10
By Hajiba Boumasmar HAF Program Manager
A remarkable candle was lit with a group of women in Bir Gandus commune. Forty civil society representatives attended the women’s empowerment workshop conducted by HAF trainers Hajiba Boumasmar and Hana Ezaoui under the program “Participatory Planning and Implementing of Community Initiatives in Dakhla Oued Ed Edahab Region,” in partnership between HAF and the U.S. Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) that began on the first of October 2022.
Bir Gandus is one of the municipalities selected for this program along with two others – Dakhla and Bir Anzarane. From January 5-8, 2023, the team facilitated the women’s empowerment workshops with the women of Bir Gandus.
All the participants are members of a cooperative or association, which confirms the public service work and commitment of the women in this municipality. They have diverse activities and visions, but the link between them is empowerment and this new program that we are working on together to promote and encourage their community initiatives that will help to develop their livelihoods.
The women’s cooperatives of couscous, sewing tents, producing traditional perfumes and cosmetics, and sheep and camel ranching are their major projects. Therefore, the women requested to develop their cooperatives, are focused on generating new revenue, and seek to benefit from different training, such as financial management, marketing, partnership-building, and communication.
Halima, a young mom of three children, shared her experience as a persevering woman, who challenged the odds and difficult situations five years ago and created a cooperative for producing couscous. She is a brave person who stood up in front of 40 people and gave suggestions for changing one’s mindset and lifestyle, making no excuses and no more procrastination. She said, “Since we have good health and we are able to move, we can drive a car, see the light in people, and we have everything to work and be responsible.”