Econostrum | Economic News in the Mediterranean

"One village, one product", and women at the helm

on Friday, May 15th 2015 à 11:15 | Read 1280 times

With the support of the Secretariat of the UfM

The European Neighbourhood Policy's "One village, one product" scheme aims to promote the emergence of women in agricultural area development.

Maja Kocijancic,  European Commission spokesperson
Maja Kocijancic, European Commission spokesperson
In the Egyptian governorate of Béni Suef, to the south of Lake Qaroun, women have taken charge of milk production and, in turn, of their own destiny. The female dairy producers take their milk to the local cooperative. There, at the purchasing desk, they negotiate the price directly, depending on its quality.
These female producers, trained in hygiene and milk processing techniques, have acquired a new skills-based power.
This €50 000 project involves 700 small producers. It was made possible by a partnership agreement between the cooperative, a local NGO, the Social Development Fund and the Danone dairy group, with a budget granted by the European Union.
"The "One village, one product" schemes are meant to promote women's access and full participation in economic and public life. They tackle the barriers that prevent women's involvement" believes the European Commission spokesperson, Maja Kocijancic, quoting the explanatory statement for the project from the EU, which is co-financing the programme.
It's a question of giving the necessary legal, technical and economic resources and training to women in rural areas to help them become economic actors.
This model is based on shoring up local women's know-how, developing their understanding of economic aspects and fostering partnerships that generate employment" the spokesperson explains.

400 women start their own business

This type of project is part of an umbrella programme launched in 2012 by UN Women and the European Union, for more than eight million Euros. The programme, entitled "Spring Forward", focuses on Libya, Jordan, Tunisia and Egypt.
Through the scheme, female farmers in the Béheira region south of Cairo were invited to develop their own artichoke processing companies.
The scheme has already allowed 400 women to start their own business. It takes at least five people to process an artichoke harvested early in the morning into an exportable artichoke heart. Approximately 8000 new jobs have been created so far. These have gone mainly to women, but also to unemployed husbands, brothers, etc.
The issue of how to create added value was on the agenda of the Conference on the socio-economic empowerment of women, organised by the UfM Secretariat in 2014. In the same year, the Union for the Mediterranean launched a project on "skills for success - women's employability", implemented by AMIDEAST. This project improves the skills of young disadvantaged or job-seeking women in Tunisia, Morocco, Jordan and Lebanon. Only 25% of women are active in the labour market in the southern Mediterranean region, and the numbers are increasing extremely slowly; indeed they have risen by only 0.17% per year for the last 30 years. 

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