Lebanon’s women-led cooperatives are serving to communities to deal with the nation’ latest wave of crises: the COVID-19 pandemic, the monetary disaster, and the infamous August 2021 Beirut Port Explosion.
Al Atayeb (The Delicacies), a Lebanese women-led cooperative primarily based in Kfardebian city, north of Beirut, focuses on producing Lebanese native and conventional meals, equivalent to citrus marmalade, fruit jam, fruit paste, and the well-known Lebanese Makdous (Pickled eggplants in oil).
You are reading: Ladies working collectively, to outlive Lebanon’s financial disaster
The 13 girls who make up the cooperative every obtain a share of the earnings, in addition to a wage, earned from their work getting ready and processing the meals. The native farmers who promote their crops additionally profit.
Al Atayeb CooperativeA basket of freshly made produce by Al Atayeb Cooperative.
‘My means of empowering girls’
“Instructing meals processing abilities was my means of empowering girls“, says Samira Zoughaib Akiki, the chairperson of Al Atayeb. It additionally empowered me, provided that I used to be surrounded by beneficiant girls with a imaginative and prescient”.
Ms. Akiki began out within the meals business round 20 years in the past, operating meals processing workshops and coaching classes for girls. This expertise led her and her colleagues to type Al Atayeb as a cooperative, create job alternatives, and make sure that all members would share within the success of the enterprise.
When Lebanon’s financial disaster was compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic, Ms. Akiki discovered that UN Lebanon was offering important assist to cooperatives equivalent to Al Atayeb.
“The UN offered month-to-month salaries for girls to maintain their earnings, the oil and sugar we use to provide our meals, and the jars crucial for preserving produce,” says Ms. Akiki. “This addressed our monetary wants, replenishing our capital and compensated our losses: we had been capable of resume our actions at a time when many companies had been shutting down”.
UNDP LebanonSamira Zoughaib Akiki, Chair of Al Atayeb Cooperative, selecting recent apples for processing.
In all, UN Lebanon has supported 94 cooperatives from completely different villages in Lebanon equivalent to Deir Al Ahmar, Fneidek, Qana, Harissa, and Lehfed, with a deal with girls. This assist has been within the type of money for work and in-kind assist equivalent to uncooked supplies, tools, and instruments. At the least 6,000 people have benefited from the $4.4 million mission, funded by the German Improvement Financial institution KfW, by way of the UN Improvement Programme.
Al Atayeb cooperative has been a key think about serving to many households in Kfardebian survive the crises, making girls happy with themselves and their neighborhood. “Our cooperative represents the values we imagine in”, continues Ms. Akiki proudly. “We work with ardour. We assist our neighborhood and serve the general public good“.