SIDI KACEM, Morocco - Visiting Morocco for the first time, Ivanka Trump received a warm welcome Thursday from women in a region of the country where they are benefiting from changes that allow them to own land.
One woman expressed her gratitude by hugging Ivanka Trump and kissing her hands.
At an olive grove in a province two hours north of the capital of Rabat, President Donald Trump's daughter and White House adviser met four women, all of whom inherited land or bought it. She later strutted her way into a ceremony as participants banged drums and blew horns. Inside, women ululated to show their approval.
"When you invest in women, they invest back into their families and communities and countries flourish," Ivanka Trump said.
She is visiting Morocco to promote the Women's Global Development and Prosperity initiative, a U.S. government program she spearheads that has a goal of helping 50 million women in developing countries advance economically in coming years.
The initiative focuses on helping women develop job skills and succeed as entrepreneurs, along with changing cultures and laws.
Morocco is changing its land ownership laws and "we are here to support and encourage the full implementation of that," she said.
The women she met among the groves of trees bearing black olives thanked her.
Aicha Bourkib, 59, embraced her, clasping her hands and kissing them. The housewife and mother of four grows olive trees and vegetables on land she recently bought. She has two cows and wants to create a dairy cooperative in her village in the province of Sidi Kacem.
Bourkib and the other women told Ivanka Trump through a translator that the changes "help us and all the families in the area."
The olive grove is a project of the Millennium Challenge Corp., a U.S. government aid agency working with Morocco to promote literacy and equality in land ownership.
Later, Ivanka Trump, Sean Cairncross, CEO of the Millennium Challenge Corp., who accompanied her on the trip, and women leaders met over tea a restaurant to discuss how to increase economic opportunities for Moroccan women.
Ivanka Trump strolled through the medina, a popular street overflowing with local artisans selling rugs, clothing and other crafts on her way to the restaurant.
She and Cairncross met separately with Prime Minister Saad-Eddine El Othmani and Foreign Affairs Minister Nasser Bourita. Ivanka Trump was also attending a dinner at the Royal Palace, where she has been staying, hosted by Princess Lalla Meryem.