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Closing Event & Announcement of Winners of the Best Olive Paste

Business Women Forum concludes its olive paste promotional campaign of the project “From Grove to Market” and announces the winners of "Elyom Enta el Chef” “Today You Are the Chef" Competition

Under the patronage of H. E. Mr. Shawki Al-Essah, Minister of Agriculture, BWF held the closing ceremony of the promotional campaign of the project "From Grove to Market" supported by the European Union and the Swiss Agency for Cooperation, and Oxfam-UK in the Grand Park Hotel in Ramallah on Monday 22/12/2014.  The ceremony was attended by representatives of the private sector, BWF members, and the target women cooperatives.

Ms. Maha Abu Shusheh, BWF Chairwoman, opened the ceremony with a speech where she expressed her great pride in the work and the paradigm shift that have been achieved through this project by working with women cooperatives in the various provinces of the country.  She emphasized the importance of the olive in our culture that respects this fruit but Palestinian product is exposed to many obstacles that make it become uncompetitive in global markets.  Ms. Abu Shusheh called for the access to the world by new and distinct products by encouraging farmers and women cooperatives.  Ms. Abu Shusheh thanked all the donors, partners, and those in charge of the program.

On his part, the Palestinian Minister of Agriculture, Mr. Shawki Al-Essah, thanked Oxfam for its support to the Palestinian people and for its distinguishing human rights and political dimension of the funding pattern, especially to Palestine and its political status, where he emphasized that the scientific development requires us to open up new areas to deal with the Olive oil sector.  That what gave the “Grove to Market” project and the work BWF with cooperatives the distinction and which significantly impacted the economic empowerment of women and the opening of marketing prospects to such products in all aspects of production, promotion and marketing.

Ms. Fezna Cosmoc, Director of Oxfam-UK in Palestine, expressed her great pride in working with BWF, and emphasized the joint work with cooperatives that have a lot of women as active members of such cooperatives.  She also expressed her delight that Oxfam is a part of the positive change on the lives of women and their empowerment in their communities.  She concluded her speech by thanking the donors, involved in the project, for their constant support.

Ms. Khitam Sulieman, as a representative of all the women cooperatives targeted by this project, expressed her happiness for the achievements of the cooperatives.  She added: "Thanks to the project from Grove to market, the cooperative have become more distinctive and organized, especially in the areas of coordination, management and marketing.”

It is worth mentioning that through the project “From Grove to Market”, BWF worked, through its technical arm, the Business Development Center, with seventeen women cooperatives for three years on olive products "Olive butter and hard and liquid soap providing machines to manufacture such products In addition to technical training to get the product to the quality required by the Palestine Standards.  In addition to working on the product, the cooperatives were provided intensive training to build the administrative, financial, and marketing capacities through workshops, and networking with traders and marketing companies in addition to participation in numerous local and international exhibitions.  The BWF launched a promotional campaign via a tasting cart that went through the streets of the governorates of Ramallah, Hebron, Bethlehem and Nablus allowing people to taste olive butter.

At the end of the ceremony, BWF Executive Director, Ms. Doa Wadi announced the results of the "Today You Are the Chef” Competition for the best recipe using olive butter as part of the promotional campaign launched by the Forum to introduce the consumer to the products of the Palestinian cooperatives especially olive butter.  Eleven women and men participated in the competition from all the cities of the West Bank.  Kitchen Club in Ramallah hosted the practical exam with the presence of chef experts.  Sbitany presented prizes to the winners.   In addition, a recipe booklet to introduce olive butter and methods of using it was distributed.

Project Partners: Applied Research Institute – Jerusalem (ARIJ), the Palestinian Center for Economic and Social Development, Community Partnership Institute – Bethlehem University.

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