by Jude Jacob Kayton April 06, 2020
FRÉ’s mission is to protect the earth and to empower women. In order to carry out this mission, FRÉ has partnered with the Izourane Women’s Cooperative located in Southern Morocco. The cooperative was established in the late 1990s with the aim of supporting local women and replenishing the argan forests. FRÉ purchases all its argan oil from the cooperative, and also plants trees and funds empowerment workshops for the cooperative’s members.
We are happy to introduce the President of the Izourane Women’s Cooperative, Lalla Amina, who was exclusively interviewed for FRÉ.
What is your role in the Izourane cooperative?
I am the president of the cooperative.
How long have you been involved in the cooperative?
I have been involved in the cooperative for 9 years.
How was it founded?
My Mom, Aljar Fadma, worked with argan in very traditional ways. She taught me the importance of argan and inspired me to develop argan production in my community.
How has the cooperative impacted your life and the life of your community?
The cooperative has helped me to be more confident and to be financially stable. In regards to the community, the cooperative has engaged 30 women, changing their lives for the better. Now, they have regular work and a steady income.
What are its major activities/efforts?
We focus our efforts on harvesting the argan nuts and preparing the argan oil.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I work to produce the argan oil alongside the other members of the cooperative. I also clean and cook. Some days, I have meetings with the local agricultural authorities in the province.
What are the main challenges facing women in Morocco in 2020?
Unfortunately, in Morocco in 2020, women continue to have limited job opportunities and there are very few women in positions of power.
Why is argan so magical?
Argan is magical, because it is so pure and natural. The nuts are taken directly from the tree to the stone press to create the oil. There is no artificial treatment in between.
What are the roles of argan trees in your community?
Argan trees provide the community with a source of income. People can stay in their hometowns; they do not have to leave in search of work. The argan trees also give the community the opportunity to develop their own resources.
What’s unique about the Izourane argan oil?
My clients always praise the quality of the Izourane argan oil. It is all natural which is a very important factor.
How can we buy the oil?
Customers call the cooperative and order a quantity of oil. Then, we will prepare it and send it to them.
How have HAF and FRÉ contributed to the cooperative?
HAF and FRÉ have positively contributed to the cooperative by planting more than 2,000 argan trees and providing the women’s empowerment training. They really encourage all the members of the cooperative, including me, to keep making this priceless product.
In addition, I will never forget all the beautiful visits and memories that I have with HAF and FRÉ. “Whenever they visit me, it's like a wedding.” This is an expression that we use in Morocco to describe how happy we are when we meet with dear friends.
What inspires you most?
My mother was and is my biggest inspiration; she taught me so much and encouraged me. Now that she has passed away, I also look to myself for inspiration.
What is your vision for the future?
I want to export my argan oil.
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