One of the challenges we face in our mission of giving back is to identify programs that will help the Berber women of the argan region in a meaningful way. After numerous visits to the argan cooperatives, we have discovered a way that we can increase the number of women participating in the argan industry, a source of needed economic and social freedoms for these women.
While all of the argan nuts that are harvested in Morocco's argan forest for the oil are grown without chemical fertilizer, the current demands of the argan trade in Europe and the US require that oil be certified organic. The certification process is expensive and requires a cumbersome amount of paperwork, two hurdles that can be insurmountable for these poor, illiterate Berber women.
With the help of a Berber argan distributor in Morocco, we have identified a cooperative that badly needed help paying for the certification of their oil in order to sell their oil on the foreign market. Kahina has paid for the certification costs for this cooperative and has plans to provide them with the seed money they need to get their business started.
We are truly excited about our first giving back initiative and look forward to seeing the progress of this group of 43 women.