Resilience and Crisis Recovery – Leading Locally, the Cooperative Way

Part 3: Success Story – Women’s Cooperative IATIBAR

The Women’s Cooperative IATIBAR (WCI), a producer of couscous and olive oil in the rural areas of the Marrakech-Safi region of Morocco, was growing at a steady pace before the pandemic, with cooperative employees earning enough money to meet the needs of their families.

The lockdown instituted at the beginning of the pandemic meant that the women could not sell their olive oil, drying up their savings. The country’s worst drought since the 1980s also led to excessive fruit loss, sharply increasing the cost of olives. WCI could no longer afford buying olives, putting the operation in danger.  

“We plunged overnight into poverty, hunger, despair, and uncertainty,” said Nezha, a WCI member, mother to five children, and wife of a husband with ongoing health needs. “We were struggling to feed our children.”

Receiving the CFP capital infusion was a major event, as the WCI women were previously barely getting by. This funding helped them get back on their feet, and olive oil production resumed quickly. WCI president Touria Abounaouafil also led the charge to diversify and grow the business. WCI began producing and selling couscous, acquired product labeling equipment, and purchased a computer to increase the customer base by going digital. 

Back to Leading Locally, the Cooperative Way