Gaza women running cooperatives learn skills to boost success
For seven days, a group of Gaza women recently came together to focus on honing their skills in marketing, administration and finance. It’s all aimed at improving the chances of success for women’s cooperatives in Gaza.
Anera provided the specialized training for 19 women working in local food production co-ops across Gaza. We held the training at the Arab Orthodox Cultural and Social Center in Gaza. Our trusted longtime local partner organization CSSL selected the women to participate in the training. The participants will share what they learn at this training with other women involved in the cooperatives.
Most of the women are small farmers who provide the primary income for their families. The food coops that the women belong to make and sell everything from maftoul, a savory dish often described as a Levantine take on couscous, and meat dishes, to bread and pastries, dates, cheeses, honey, and medicinal herbs. Some of the women participate in preparing the hot meals we provide to kindergarteners through our Farms to Fosool project.
Anera's program coordinator, Suad Labbad, says the training aimed at helping the women better manage their projects.
Hala Kitkut says the training included topics like how to create the strategy of a project and its economic feasibility, as well as the administrative and legal aspects. The 43-year-old says the cooperatives help her and other women in southern Gaza to support their families.
"One of the important topics," Kitkut says, "is the skills involved in reaching donors and networking with institutions to present their projects. We have so many women who work hard to support their families and they need material and moral support."
Hala hopes the trainings will continue. "Thanks to Anera, we get good training that can raise awareness and help us improve our skills."
Maryam Abu Mohsen is a member of the Rafah Women's Cooperative and underscored the benefits of the training. "Especially the legal aspects and e-marketing through social media platforms." She says women in Gaza lack sufficient legal experience and knowledge of how to address weaknesses and search for new opportunities.
Participants in the training highlighted the benefits of working in a cooperative too. "It’s a wonderful experience,” says Maryam. “I love the teamwork in our projects, from food processing to preparing and serving meals."
Another participant in the training has to support her family because her father is too sick to work. Amal says she will apply what she learned from the training to start a new project in food production.
"We bear a great responsibility for the welfare of their families, especially under the difficult economic and social conditions in Gaza."