Conclusion of the Second Phase of MAVA Rural Entrepreneurship Project

BY YOUSSEF ROCHDANE, TRANSLATOR AND CONTENT WRITER

28 February 2023

Photos by IBTISSAM BOUSETA and ILYAS NAZIH

We are very happy to announce that after multiple three-day workshop sessions, the second phase of the Rural Entrepreneurship (RE) Project finally concluded. This phase focused on organising several workshops in favour of 12 rural cooperatives from three High Atlas hubs: Demnate, Azilal and Al Haouz on topics they have shown interest in since joining our project.

The second phase was fruitful, from bringing experts to facilitate workshops that will improve the work of rural cooperatives to creating a synergy between the attending members and encouraging partnerships. Their experience and products might vary, but their goal is common: promoting local products and improving the quality of life in their region.

The tackled topics included marketing, branding, certification, management, product development and funding, all of which were chosen based on a needs assessment conducted by our team prior to planning the workshops. The facilitators, having experience working with NGOs and Moroccan cooperatives, knew what the cooperatives needed and were able to effectively deliver information that will help them develop valuable skills in their fields. This will eventually improve how they manage their cooperatives.

The rural cooperatives involved in this project want to produce high-quality local goods to highlight biodiversity in the High Atlas and the benefits of organic products. They just needed a push, especially with administrative and organisational procedures. We were able to assist some cooperatives in applying for the ONSSA (National Office of Food Safety) and OMPIC (Moroccan Office of Industrial and Commercial Property) certifications. This will be invaluable to the cooperatives since these certifications will allow them to broaden their customer reach by targeting hotels and restaurants, participating in local product exhibitions and starting the procedure to export their goods.

It is safe to say that the participants have benefited from the second phase of the RE Project. Not only did they share the knowledge acquired during the workshops with the other members of their cooperatives, but they were also able to implement the learned strategies and are starting to reap the fruits of their hard work. Some cooperatives have launched up to four new products since learning from the workshop on new product development. Others have upgraded their value chain, changed their project management strategy, started applying for grants and worked on their digital presence.

As part of the support and assistance provided to the rural cooperatives, we were also able to help them create new logos, update their visual identity and take packshots of their products. This will ease the process of levelling up their digital presence and facilitate advertising products on various digital platforms.

Watching the participants form these collaborations is truly heartwarming because this highlights one of our values: acting collectively.

However, the highlight of this phase has to be seeing the bond established between participating members. Some cooperatives even started collaborations because their goals align. Watching the participants form these collaborations is truly heartwarming because this highlights one of our values: acting collectively. It is always delightful to see that our core values have reached the people we work with as we keep helping changemakers achieve their goals!

This may be the end of the second phase of the Rural Entrepreneurship Project, but one thing is certain, it’s only the beginning of a more ambitious programme helping rural cooperatives in the Atlas Mountains and its surroundings. Stay tuned to learn more about our upcoming projects and our work in the Atlas Mountains. Follow us on Instagram and LinkedIn for more updates.

We thank our funders MAVA Foundation and Darwin Initiative, as well as our partner the Moroccan Biodiversity & Livelihoods Association (MBLA), for their valuable support in completing this phase. We also thank the implementation team—Project Coordinator Hafida Mazoud, Project Assistant Fatiha Tachakourt, Liaison Officer Nihad Aassimi—and all our trainers, including In-house Translator Youssef Rochdane, for their thorough work during the period of the workshops. We look forward to more creative and fruitful collaborations.