Co-ops in Palestine Demonstrate Economic Strength at "Prosperity is in the Hands of Women" Bazaar

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June 25, 2018

As part of their ongoing work with women entrepreneurs, WLP’s partners in Palestine organized the “Prosperity is in the Hands of Women” bazaar for women’s cooperatives, or co-ops, on November 6 and 7, 2017 in Ramallah, Palestine. The event was a demonstration of Palestinian women’s economic fortitude and solidarity as well as a sensory display of artistry. Government officials, activists, and citizens alike meandered through the bazaar where 17 women’s co-ops sold Palestinian-made artisan goods such as olives, cheese, clothes, and cookies.

The businesswomen featured in the bazaar were members of a Coalition of Cooperatives, which was established a year earlier as a capacity building program for women’s economic organizing. The Coalition is comprised of 35 member co-ops based in Gaza and the West Bank. Working in coalition, the co-ops support each other in developing and promoting their businesses rather than compete against each other. The bazaar was the culmination of the Coalition’s first long-term, collaborative effort to raise support for women’s co-ops. Member co-ops worked tirelessly to promote the event and market their products before the bazaar.

The Coalition’s democratic model provides a forum for members to share knowledge and best practices, enhance their leadership and communication skills, and products and businesses. The Coalition also encourages its members to apply these skills not only to business practices, but to political engagement, too. With their collective voice, Coalition members can lobby lawmakers to make decisions that favor cooperative businesses and Palestinian-made products.

Palestinian politicians are already acknowledging the Coalition’s political strength. Minister of Women’s Affairs, Dr. Haifa al-Agha, visited the “Prosperity is in the Hands of Women Bazaar” where she voiced support for co-ops and recognized the importance of policies that support and protect women’s economic and social rights.

View photos from the bazaar below.

 
 

 
   
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