This week marked a truly exciting milestone in Anou’s development: Brahim, Anou’s Director and artisan, has officially taken over the Anou’s operations in Morocco from me. This is a significant step as we work to make Anou a fully artisan run platform.
Up until this point, much of my work focused on supporting our pilot group of artisans as we worked through the growing pains of Anou’s prototype phase. Now, Brahim will not only support existing artisans on Anou, but also take the lead outlining and pursuing Anou’s strategy as it expands its artisan network throughout Morocco. My role will evolve into a supporting role for Brahim and enable me to focus more on the messaging and marketing of Anou.
I am confident that Brahim will succeed in his new role simply because he embodies Anou’s vision of empowering artisans in Morocco. For those who may be just learning about Anou, Brahim was my counterpart during my Peace Corps service from 2008-2010. Our work together outlined many of the challenges artisans faced in Morocco and it was Brahim who convinced me to return to Morocco to build Anou and fully address the challenges we identified.
The decision to return to Morocco was easy because of Brahim’s belief that artisans could sell to global markets with independence, and most importantly, with dignity. Since we started early last year, Brahim’s belief in artisans proved to be much more than just words. Brahim, an apple farmer, has logged countless hours on the road away from his family, orchards and woodshop in order to become a reluctant leader for Anou’s vision in a culture that often shuns initiative. Most tellingly, he did all of this without pay.
With Brahim’s resolve combined with our growing and talented team, I am certain that Brahim will not only do an outstanding job, but that the rest of 2013 will be an incredibly exciting time for Anou.