On May 14, a fair of traditional Palestinian products (agricultural and textiles) was held in the town of Al-Jalameh on the occasion of the celebration of the Zara and Zajal festival.
The fair, organized by the A.M. Qattan Foundation was attended by several of the cooperatives with which we are currently working under the cooperation project financed by the Regional Government of Valencia and implemented by our local partner Rural Women’s Development Society (RDWS). Specifically, the cooperatives of Anza attended, who exhibited samples of their natural soap, Al Jalameh, producers of luffa and Palestinian embroidery, and Jalboun, producer of freekeh.
The fair was held at a time when cooperatives are already beginning to see the fruits of improving their administrative and commercial work.
Since last January, 7 young interns have been working in the cooperatives with the aim of introducing new accounting tools and launching new marketing strategies that contribute to giving more visibility to the products produced in each of the cooperatives.
Participation in fairs of this type is one of the strategies that the fellows have explored to publicize the work of women among the local population.
Shatha Saban, who is currently doing her internship at Al Jalameh, was responsible for organizing the fair in the town and inviting the rest of the participants. Thanks to opportunities like these, her cooperative has managed to employ 10 new women to increase the production of luffa, a plant used to make natural sponges.
The rest of the cooperatives have also seen their commercial networks expand in recent months thanks to the work of these young interns. The Anza cooperatives, for example, already exhibit their products in Mawares, a well-known sales area in Ramallah specializing in local products with whom an agreement has been reached. In the Faqqoua cooperative, on the other hand, they have managed to negotiate 5 new points of sale to distribute soaps, freekeh and thyme made in the traditional way.
The involvement of the scholarship holders in these local cooperatives has also resulted in greater social cohesion and increased participation of the women who are part of them in community life. Among the social projects promoted by the cooperatives during these months, the start-up of microcredit initiatives in the Burqeen, Deir Abu Deef, Meithaloun, and Faqqoua cooperatives stands out. Through this initiative, each cooperative has created a small savings fund to grant one-year loans at low interest to its members who need to pay for their studies, or start an initiative.