Under the project “Enhanced Socioeconomic Status of Women in South Lebanon” implemented by the Lebanon Family Planning Association in partnership with the Italian NGO Ricerca e Cooperazionne (RC) under AFKAR III project funded by the European Union and managed by the Minister of State for Administrative Reform, eight women from the women’s cooperatives of Kawkaba and Hasbaya along with LFPADE project manager Cecilia Al Chami, assistant manager Amira Al Saghir and project coordinator in Hasbaya Angela Al Kalaani participated in a study tour to Italy. The one-week tour organized between 24 and 30 September aimed to learn about successful small projects that were started by women and developed to become great success stories.
The tour included an acquaintance visit to the governor of Salento Pascal Palav where the partnership between the Lebanese and Italian associations was discussed. The delegation came to know about successful small initiatives led by women while preserving the heritage and history of the region.
The delegation also visited a women’s cooperative specialized in the production and conservation of organic tomatoes, a family cow dairy farm, a beverage factory, a jam factory, an organic farm and a restaurant that serves its products, and a guesthouse. The delegation participated in a workshop on the production of soap and the use of local flowers and herbs to enhance soap utility. A visit was also paid to the Legal Action Group, which supports through a EU fund, innovative projects in the areas of agriculture, tourism and handicraft.
The tour allowed participants to learn about investing local raw materials and institutional work. The women expressed their appreciation of the visit and highlighted the expertise they gained. Adele Sayagha from Hasbaya described the experience as being “a new one for me. I learned that small initiatives with ambition can grow.”
“We learned about a new country and we came to know new ideas including how to make liqueur, which I will make in Christmas and serve to my guests, and how to make cold soap which I tried upon my return. More importantly, I started elaborating a study on the implementation of organic farming and I bought the necessary equipment”, said Olina Bou Nkoul from Kawkaba.
In the testimony of Lina Sayagha from Hasbaya, she said “We gained additional information on how to establish an integrated project, and on organic farming, insect control, conservation of crops like tomatoes, dairy production and cold soap preparation with natural scents. We learned as well how to prepare paste from natural fruits to conserve it and use it later.”