On 14th of November 2016, Al Reef Fair Trade welcomed a delegation of 20 women from women's cooperatives and feminist activists in Tulkarm governorate. The goal of this visit was to transfer Al Reef technical expertise in the field of food processing to the women of cooperatives, raise awareness on the importance of quality factors on competitiveness abilities, motivate and inspire women through Al Reef success stories in the export field to the international markets and create networks between cooperatives to exchange knowledge, experience, views and benefit from each other’s.
Hanan Salman - Director of Palestinian Women Development Center
The center was established in 2004 to enable women economically, socially and politically in the north governorates through capacity building and small business projects to create job opportunities and enable women to access decision making positions. Our role is an educational role and creating awareness and we also offer food processing courses for women. These women produce white cheese, thyme and couscous (maftool) for the local market based on pre orders. This visit was enriching for them to increase their knowledge and acquire new expertise, for example they call us the people of the North and the people of the olive oil but the women cooperatives members did not know many quality information about olive oil production like (efficient plucking, how and where the storage should be, processing and testing ... etc.).
Rajaa Abu Eid - program coordinator
These visits are very beneficial and must be repeated; they are like educational visits and contribute to develop the capacities of women and motivate them to increase their competitiveness in the local market.
Hala Abu Zant - Member
This visit is amazing, it lifted our spirits! To recognize the achievements of Palestinian production abilities despite the occupation and restrictive conditions and our ability to innovate and export abroad is a huge push for motivation and a beautiful surprise to be honest. I liked the technical innovation yet combining the traditional side of the Palestinian heritage as the case in couscous processing. This visit has increased my knowledge and motivated me as I didn’t know a lot of things such as how to achieve equal sizes of couscous grains and to store olive oil in stainless steel tanks to preserve its quality and now also as a consumer i will be more cautious regarding the quality aspects of products that I buy.
Results of the visit:
Women were happy and amazed of the development of Palestinian products and food processing methods and the ability of Palestinian products to be exported to international markets and compete abroad. It was agreed on that Al Reef will accept women from these cooperatives to train at al Reef olive oil filling station and Moon Valley dates factory. Al Reef will also give these women training on hygiene, storage and laboratory analysis in addition to accounting and bookkeeping and management courses. Finally Al Reef will provide these cooperatives with free testing for their products at its laboratories.