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UN Supports Clam Cooperatives in Morocco
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UN Supports Clam Cooperatives in Morocco
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Women living in rural agricultural areas in Morocco have begun to boost their incomes through clam farming in the country's local lagoons. The Moroccan government and the United Nations Development Program, UNDP, have created a project to teach women essential skills allowing them to manage profitable businesses.
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Produced by UN in Action.

Find out more about the UNDP's work with cooperatives in Morocco.

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Segment 1

VOICEOVER
In a rural village, framed by the ocean along the peaceful Atlantic coast of Morocco, tensions are flaring. Earning a living is hard in this region, especially for women, who rarely receive an education. But there is something these women are doing that is making them a lot more prosperous, and it certainly has caught the men's attention. Kaboora Moutaki, and her sister Halima, grew up here.
KABOORA MOUTAKI
We never had a chance to go to school. The only thing for us to do is work with our parents, or in the lagoon.
VOICEOVER
These sisters, like other women in their village, have few options other than to work long days on the tidal flats, ankle deep in mud, gathering clams at low tide, and selling them at local markets. Their income is an average of less than 50 dollars a year. But now, the government's Ministry of Fisheries and the Rural Women's Development Association created the Women's Clam Association project. Its goal is to teach women to turn clamming into a profitable business. First, women learn the basics of shell fishing. They're taught how to separate out the large clams ready for immediate sale, and how to nurture the small ones into maturity for future sale. To do this, they create beds of mud, place these clams in the dirt, and cover them. After a year, they're ready for sale, and the women are ready to do something most have never done before - enter a classroom. The United Nations Development Program, UNDP, created training programs that help teach women how to market their products and how to negotiate with clients like restaurants and wholesalers. Emmanuel Dierckx de Casterlé is the UNDP representative in Morocco.
EMMANUEL DIERCKX DE CASTERLÉ
We have to tell them how to organize the commercial products and the commercial marketing of all this.
VOICEOVER
Women also develop literacy and math skills, useful for pricing and business management. The program has been a big success. Last year, the women more than doubled their usual haul and sold their shellfish at record prices, more than tripling their income. Today, Kaboora is the president of the Women's Clam Association in her community.
KABOORA MOUTAKI
We share the profits, and then we put aside a certain amount in savings.
VOICEOVER
For Kaboora and her sister Halima, and the other women in their cooperative, this means having financial independence for the first time in their lives. For the men in the community, it means big changes. Now many men are demanding a piece of the action. They want their own cooperatives and their own training programs.
MAN
We can earn a living if we have a cooperative.
VOICEOVER
The UNDP and the Moroccan government are considering expanding their programs to include men. But in the meantime, both sides must learn to adjust to the many changes taking place. Kamil Taha prepared this report for the United Nations.