Empowering Morocco's mountain women : The MountainHer project boosts rural cooperatives

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Women's cooperatives play a central role in empowering rural women in Morocco, actively contributing to the social and economic development of local communities. OXFAM Morocco, in partnership with the Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA) and the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA), is working to strengthen this movement through the MountainHer project, according to a press release.

The project, funded by the PRIMA Foundation, aims to establish rural women as pillars of socio-economic progress in mountainous regions. It focuses in particular on women's cooperatives producing cereals such as durum wheat and barley, but also on processing these grains into marketable food products such as couscous.

There are currently 7360 women's cooperatives in Morocco, according to the Office du Développement de la Coopération (ODCO). This represents over 13.5% of all cooperatives in the country. The MountainHer project aims to improve the governance of these cooperatives and promote equity within their organizations. OXFAM is contributing its expertise to strengthen the women's skills in entrepreneurial management, administrative logistics, access to finance and markets, as well as sales and marketing.

In addition, researchers from INRA and ICARDA are providing their scientific expertise by developing cereal varieties better adapted to the climatic conditions of mountainous areas. These varieties, tested at INRA's experimental station in Annoceur, help to increase the resilience of women farmers to the challenges of climate change. In addition, cooperatives are encouraged to use local cereals of superior nutritional quality and to adopt more sustainable farming practices.

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