Moroccan Social Enterprise Iffasen Turns Plastic Into Ethical Artisan Bags
Iffasen, a pilot recycling project turned social enterprise in Morocco is making headlines for its ethical bag designs. Faïza Hajji, president of Docteur Fatiha Association (ADF), an organization with aims to protect and empower women in Morocco’s economy is the mastermind behind Iffasen. Hajji came up with the idea for a social project in 2006 when she entered the French CCE competition. She is originally from Northern Morocco’s citrus fruit capital, Berkane, and recalls seeing plastic bags surrounding her village; it had a major impact on her.
Iffasen, a pilot recycling project turned social enterprise in Morocco is making headlines for its ethical bag designs.
In 2008 Iffasen was created and opened three women’s cooperatives manufacturing baskets and market bags made from plastic bags and Alfa, a plant fiber. Originally, the project was intended to assist and train the craftswomen, however, in 2016 Iffasen had to restructure their model to align with Morocco’s Zero Mika policy (zero plastic). Single-use plastic bags were strictly banned in Morocco sales, import, or export.
Iffasen took the obstacle and turned it into an opportunity. They partnered with the European Union’s SwitchMed program and also entered into a collaboration with Zero Zbel ( Zero Waste) to produce 200 recycled bags; their bags are now made from flour sacks.
Today Iffasen employs 60 women and uses seven designers to create new bag models; profits support the craftswomen’s work and ADF activities. The brand is forward thinking and has also begun investing in the Moroccan Initiative for Craft, Art, and Technology (MICAT) project. The aim is to recycle plastic bags and bottles and turn them into wire for 3D printers to produce artisan lamps. The new project is hoping to raise $69,000 USD so they can present their innovations at the Venice Biennale held from 11 May to 24 November 2019.