Palestine : Open Day for Women’s Cooperatives in the West Bank and Gaza Strip

(Hebron, august 2015) – the Union of Agricultural Work Committees organized an open day to show the products of 35 women cooperative in the West Bank and Gaza Strip within “the transition from relief to sustainable livelihood” project – to enhance food security in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, funded by the Canadian International Development Agency in partnership with CARE International Foundation.

Assistant Undersecretary for Economic Affairs in the Ministry of Agriculture Dr. Ali Gayatha, UAWC’s Acting Director Fuad Abu Seif, the Deputy Governor of Hebron Governorate Marwan Sultan, and CARE International Foundation’s Director in the West Bank and Gaza Strip Rene Seleia launched the open day activities.

Gayatha confirmed that women cooperatives are a main source of income for many Palestinian families, pointing that 23% of the paid workforce are women, while the unpaid women workforce constitute over than 70% in agriculture sector. The Ministry of Agriculture’s priorities include strengthening Palestinian farmers’ steadfastness on their land through strengthening the women’s role especially in rural and marginalized areas, he added.

In his speech, the deputy governor of Hebron, Marwan Sultan, mentioned that these projects are the basis of building Palestinian institutions; since Palestinians are still suffering from food insecurity due to the Israeli control over natural resources.

In the same context, Seleia extended his appreciation to UAWC, the Ministry of National Economy, and the Ministry of Labor for their roles in the project’s success, pointing that this project gathered different Palestinian parties from the West Bank and Gaza Strip, especially agricultural cooperatives, to exchange experiences and skills.

UAWC’s Acting Director Fuad Abu Saif, confirmed that women’s cooperatives are one of the most important programs for UAWC, since it aims at strengthening Palestinian steadfastness on their lands.

Abu saif queried the Ministry of National Economy to allocate a suitable budget for cooperatives, and the Ministry of Labor to facilitate their work. He also queried them to create a cooperative school to act as a reference to all Palestinian cooperatives for knowledge and experience.

The project manager Eng. Doaa Zayed, summarized the project goals and target area. It targets a number of cooperatives in Hebron, Nablus, Bethlehem, and Gaza Strip. This activity aimed at allowing successful women’s cooperatives to network with each other and with the Governmental bodies, she added.

The event included presenting cooperatives’ products and honoring the participants.