Impact : Technical development and jobs creation

Dhekra Touhami, an entrepreneur from Béja in Tunisia, comes from a farming family with a passion for processing dairy products. She runs SMSA Matmour Roma, a cooperative dedicated to developing and marketing local products from Béja, with the aim of promoting the region's culinary heritage and supporting rural development.

A cooperative of women entrepreneurs to promote Béja cheeses
Dhekra's project came into being thanks to a collaboration with rural women from the region. Together, they have formed a collective to produce traditional cheeses and yoghurts flavoured with local herbs and cereals, and to promote the regional heritage specialities of Béja. Their products include cheeses and yoghurts with dried fruits such as figs from Djebba and apricots from Testour.

CheesyVaga's activities take off with the support of WIDU
While her cooperative has enabled her to learn her technical skills and build up a network, it is by turning to the WIDU programme implemented by GIZ that Dhekra is developing her entrepreneurial activities. Thanks to a WIDU grant of more than 14,000 DT, the CheesyVaga's founder has been able to purchase equipment essential to the smooth running of her cheeses and dairy products production unit, such as a pasteurisation machine and a skimmer. These materials have helped the entrepreneur to optimise her production processes and improve the quality of her products.

An ethical, sustainable and innovative cheese dairy 
Today, Dhekra's CheesyVaga not only produces quality dairy products, but also promotes sustainable farming practices. The entrepreneur encourages the use of organic and ecological methods. Besides, their innovative sales strategy includes a fully-equipped mobile caravan, which enables her to sell directly to consumers at international trade fairs and in shopping centres across Tunisia. 
In addition to a sustainable production process, Dhekra also supports the traditional know-how of rural women and provides them with economic opportunities, thereby helping to revitalise rural areas and create local income.

Cheesy Vaga

Recognition at the WIDU Awards 
Her commitment was recently recognised at the WIDU Awards ceremony held in Tunisia on 29 February. By winning the first prize in the 'Women Call' category, Dherka's company 'Cheesy Vaga' was recognized for its significant impact on local development and innovation in the ecosystem.