Al Atayeb (The Delicacies), a Lebanese women-led cooperative primarily based in Kfardebian city, north of Beirut, makes a speciality of producing Lebanese native and conventional meals, akin to citrus marmalade, fruit jam, fruit paste, and the well-known Lebanese Makdous (Pickled eggplants in oil).
The 13 girls who make up the cooperative every obtain a share of the income, in addition to a wage, earned from their work getting ready and processing the meals. The native farmers who promote their crops additionally profit.
‘My approach of empowering girls’
“Instructing meals processing expertise was my approach of empowering girls”, says Samira Zoughaib Akiki, the chairperson of Al Atayeb. It additionally empowered me, on condition that I used to be surrounded by beneficiant girls with a imaginative and prescient”.
Ms. Akiki began out within the meals business round twenty years in the past, working meals processing workshops and coaching periods for ladies. This expertise led her and her colleagues to kind Al Atayeb as a cooperative, create job alternatives, and be certain 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 realized that UN Lebanon was offering important help to cooperatives akin to Al Atayeb.
“The UN supplied month-to-month salaries for ladies to maintain their earnings, the oil and sugar we use to supply our meals, and the jars obligatory for preserving produce,” says Ms. Akiki. “This addressed our monetary wants, replenishing our capital and compensated our losses: we have been capable of resume our actions at a time when many companies have been shutting down”.
In all, UN Lebanon has supported 94 cooperatives from totally different villages in Lebanon akin to Deir Al Ahmar, Fneidek, Qana, Harissa, and Lehfed, with a deal with girls. This help has been within the type of money for work and in-kind help akin to uncooked supplies, gear, and instruments. At the least 6,000 people have benefited from the $4.4 million venture, funded by the German Growth Financial institution KfW, by means of the UN Growth Programme.
Al Atayeb cooperative has been a key consider 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“.