Ifrane, Morocco- Empowering Women in the Atlas (EWA) initiative launches personalized coaching sessions for 100 women entrepreneurs from the Middle-Atlas starting February as part of phase II of its project. Coaches are working closely with the selected women cooperatives over a period of 2 months in order to help them ensure better profitability prospects for their green income-generating projects.
According to the founder and director of the initiative Lamia Bazir, “the main objective of the coaching missions is to establish a mentoring relationship between the rural women and their coaches, which will enable them –for the first time- to get the attention and support of experts in developing their projects.”
“Because of their isolation and the lack of financial means and educational opportunities, rural women entrepreneurs have very rare opportunities to make new connections, meet experts, and get the adequate advice for ensuring the efficiency and sustainability of their enterprises,” Bazir further noted.
“Hence, this project aims to break this isolation, to challenge stereotypes that depict rural women as passive and needy, and to provide these women with equal chances and an equal status than women entrepreneurs in urban areas,” Bazir closed.
It is worth reminding that whereas Phase I of the initiative focused on the selection of 100 women from active cooperatives in the Middle Atlas region and the provision of training in various topics across the fields of business, entrepreneurship and environmental protection, the second phase provides women with customized coaching for the development of their ecological income generating projects. Through a participatory work, strategic advising, and a global audit, the coaches will work closely with the women to assess and improve their current working methods and processes, in 3 main aspects: internal management, production and commercialization/access to markets. In fact, the intervention will be spread over a period of 2 months and will include workshops in the site of each cooperative, comprehensive diagnoses (Intervention 1), recommendations (Intervention 2) and the implementation of concrete action plans (Intervention 3). The experts and the women will also produce deliverables at every stage in the form of reports to ensure the continuity and capitalization for their ecological income-generating projects.
The success of the coaching missions will be measured based on the level of improvement of the organizational capabilities and work processes of the targeted cooperatives, as well as on their increased productivity and profitability through the development of connections with key market leaders and investors. Knowing the human and social dimension of this project, this activity also aims to build new connections and a durable mentoring relationship between the experts and the women.
Empowering women in the Atlas is a one year program that targets 100 rural women leaders from marginalized areas in the Middle Atlas by providing them with training, equipment, coaching, and market connections to enhance their impact on the economic growth and sustainable development of their villages. EWA was launched in partnership with the U.S. Middle East Partnership Initiative in September 2016.