I founded Hrayer Bechni, an agricultural development group in my hometown of Bechni, Kebili, with 11 local women. The hard-working women of this region deserve recognition and respect. Our goal is to gain financial independence and recognition for our region’s unique know-how and agricultural products, such as dates and palm wood.
We started by showcasing our products at local fairs, and quickly established strong ties with clients in major Tunisian cities. In response to demand for new products, like essential oils and handicrafts, we recruited even more members.
The COVID-19 pandemic presented major challenges to our growth, however. Due to the crisis, most trade fairs were called off in 2020 and we could not meet many clients in person. As a result, we had to adapt to new technologies to market our products online. During this time, we received a grant from the COVID-19 Enterprise Recovery Fund established by the US government as part of its USAID Tunisia JOBS program, which we used for training in social-media marketing and to buy two new tillers to improve the soil at our palm plantations.
Since then, I have learned to manage orders and deliveries remotely. With the border with Algeria now open, I am delivering products there every week. Next, my goal is to export to Paris.
Mabrouka Chniba - Founder of GDA Hrayer Bechni