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Coca-Cola Morocco and UN Women Maghreb, allies for rural women’s economic empowerment

Written by Amal Asebriy

UN Women Maghreb and Coca-Cola Morocco joined forces to support rural women’s economic empowerment through the investment in climate-resilient agriculture. Their  program was presented on March 9th in light of International Women’s Day.

This initiative supported by the Coca-Cola Foundation, and set up by UN Women Maghreb, was presented at an event organized this Friday, March 9, in Rabat, with the participation of Ms. Mbarka Bouaida, Secretary of State in charge of Maritime Fisheries, Mrs. Nezha El Ouafi, Secretary of State for Sustainable Development, Ms. Leila Rhiwi, UN Women Maghreb Representative and Mr. Abdou Kadiri, General Manager of The Coca-Cola Export Corporation Morocco.

This program, launched in June 2017, aims to support several groups of women farmers leaders in the regions of Ouarzazate and Essaouira (and Agadir in a future time), through advice, training and strengthening of skills and provides necessary equipments to help them develop agro-ecological activities that generate income.

Two specific results are thus targeted by this program: Rural women’s development of capacities and technical knowledge in agro-ecological practices adapted to climate change, and women farmers’ management of their own cooperatives and income-generating  climate-resilient activities.

“Empowering women, and fostering women’s entrepreneurship, is one of the pillars of our citizen action, not just in Morocco, but around the world,” said Loubna Sabir, Director of Public Affairs, Communication and Sustainable Development of Coca-Cola Morocco, before adding “We are convinced that the sustainable development of societies, particularly rural ones, and their resilience to environmental change, whether it’s global warming or other phenomena, is necessarily executed by economically empowered women with stable incomes.”

With changing climate, women’s already unequal access to land, water and energy is further impacted. As pointed out by Leila Rhiwi, UN Women’s Maghreb Representative, only 1% of rural women own a land along with other barriers that hinder their economic growth like illiteracy, cultural resistance that eventually leads to low mobility in public spaces…

Moreover, Rhiwi highlighted existing gender inequalities and discriminations that constrain rural women’s decision-making power and  participation in their communities. On this note, the official put forward some HCP figures on inequalities of income between men and women: 8 out of 10 women don’t have access to sources of income, as opposed to only 3 out of 10 of men. And 9 out of 10 women are without profitable business compared to 2 out of 10 of men.

The support program aims to strengthen the leadership of women in cooperatives in the regions of Ouarzazate and Essaouira and to provide better market access while preserving the environment.