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Fair trade women's cooperatives have introduced many traditional Palestinian handmade products to the world market – couscous, za'atar and olive oil soap among them. These products give women an opportunity to earn income and empower them as they gain experience and skills in management, problem-solving, and cooperative relationships. Economic success has led to greater self-confidence, greater civic participation, and greater influence for many women.

Our women's cooperatives have evolved from single item cooperatives to year round businesses.  Now village cooperatives are creating their own women's centers, where the women will own the center, making their business sustainable and viable and giving each member a share in the land and the profit.  Deir Ballout village, our most advanced women's cooperative, is building now!  See exciting photos on Facebook.

The Riwaq Center for Architectural Conservation has agreed to renovate an old house that will serve as a women's cooperative center in Deir Ballout. The agreement is that Riwaq will cover 90% of the restoration expenses, and the women will cover the remaining 10%, around $5000. If you would like to donate to the women's center, contact for information on making a tax deductible gift.


The micro-loan project of the Palestine Fair Trade Association (PFTA)  is designed to enable small producers with little or no resources, especially women, to become producers and benefit from the fair trade returns. The PFTA micro-loan project extends two-year loans to individuals who otherwise would not have the means to start a business. All recipients are organized in women-owned fair trade producing cooperatives under the umbrella of PFTA, gaining collective membership and representation for their cooperative.

PFTA and its exporting member Canaan Fair Trade ensure the success of micro-loan recipients by providing specific production methods, quality specifications and proper training, then marketing the products produced.

This program has been made possible by the support of grassroots organizations abroad.  Special thanks to the generous support of Resource Center for Non-Violence, Santa Cruz, CA,Project Hope, Canada, and Islamic Aid, UK. Organizations and individuals abroad may support this program by funding a cooperative or one woman to become a producing member in a cooperative. To learn more and support the Micro Loan project contact the PFTA at