Library for 10,000 Moroccan Berbers

 
$50,163
$18,037
Raised
Remaining
Oct 26, 2011

Girls' Scholarship and Tutoring Program

We are very excited to announce the foundation of a girls' scholarship and community tutoring program that will compliment the community library.  In parnership with the Iqra Fund and the local Association Amezray SMNID we will be launching the program in 2012.  The first group of scholarship girls will begin attending middle school in September of 2012.

Currently, the region only offers education up to the sixth grade.  And many families cannot afford to send their kids on to junior high school and high school at the nearest available schools; 80 kilometers away.  Additionally, girls' families are hesitant to have their daughters stay in the government dormitories, where there is risk of drinking, smoking, and hanging out with boys.

The scholarship program will provide private housing for all of the girls, including a live-in chaperone, cook, and a strict set of rules that will help ease parents' concerns.

Additionally, the tutoring program will help prepare primary school students for continuing their education and ensuring that they will receive the marks necessary to succeed in secondary and high school.

"The future of the region is in the youth," said SMNID president Youssef Oulcadi, "we must invest in them to change our future and improve the well-being of all of the people in the region."

Zawiya Ahansal is considered the second poorest region of Morocco with extremely high illiteracy rates; over 90% of women and 70% of men cannot read or write. 

Links:

Jul 25, 2011

Community Finalizes Library Management Plan

Oulcadi meets with project responsibles.
Oulcadi meets with project responsibles.

The local association, Amezray SMNID and the owners of the igherm have reached the final stage of drafting the library's management plan. Once this management plan is signed by both the association, the igherm owners, and project manager, Cloe Medina Erickson, the final stage of construction can begin. This spring the drafting of the management plan for the library was given to Amezray SMNID, which is a local and legally registered Moroccan community association.  Throughout the spring and summer, Youssef Oulcadi, the association president has been working with the community to draft a community-wide plan that will discuss all details of the library management including income, financial reporting, librarian job description, operating hours, and more.

"The process of creating a community-wide agreeable plan is very important for the sustainability of the project,' stated Oulcadi.  "Without taking the appropriate amount of time to draft this plan we would risk the outcome of the entire project."

Oulcadi anticipates that the plan will be finished by September 2011 and signed by all responsible parties in October.

Additionally, in July the Moroccan American Commission for Cultural Exchange (MACECE) visited the project with their Fulbright-Hayes Summer Seminar group, which included 15 American academics and scholars representing their affiliated universities.  The MACECE group visited the igherm and learned about all of the Atlas Cultural Foundation's work in the region.

Links:

Apr 18, 2011

2011 Field Work begins

I arrived in Zawiya Ahansal, Morocco a few days ago to oversee the field work for the next three months.  The first week or two in country is always busy with administration and paperwork. Yesterday we solidified an official partnership agreement between Atlas Cultural Foundation and the local association Amezray SMNID.  Atlas Cultural Foundation is an American NGO that was formed last winter to manage and house the philanthropic work of Erickson Creative Group in Morocco.  ACF is a registered 501c(3) non-profit project under the umbrella of Adirondack Sustainable Communities, Inc. Amezray SMNID will act as the local representative of the people and will also be able to collaborate and communicate with our Moroccan Ministry partnerships in the absence of ACF staff.

Today we signed an agreement with the owners of the Amezray Igherm to begin construction of the library and community room portion of the project. We also began discussion about the initial management of the library and training of young men and women to become the eventual librarians. We finished the restoration of the building in the Fall of 2010 and will now focus our efforts on the construction of the library.  We hope to complete the construction this spring and finish the interior in Fall of 2011.  Youssef Jini, the gate keeper for the igherm, was very excited about starting the next phase of the project.

“This project is for the next generation,” he said. “It is for our children and the future of Zawiya Ahansal.”

In addition, this spring we plan to begin the restoration of a second igherm in the village of Aguddim.  The Moroccan Ministry of Culture will be paying for the restoration of this building and will send a project contractor and architect to meet with me. ACF will act as the on-site manager of this restoration. We are continuing discussions with the locals about the best use for this building; some of the ideas are a preschool or women’s birthing center.

Genevieve Chabot, a representative from the Global Midwife Education Foundation, will visit us in May.  She will accompany Youssef Oulcadi, the president of Amezray SMNID, and myself on a trip to Rabat to visit the Moroccan Ministry of Health with the hopes of securing the necessary permissions to begin the Midwife Training Program.  During this trip to Rabat we will also meet with officials at the Moroccan Ministry of Culture and Ministry of Education.

All programs and projects are progressing well and the spring is shaping up to be fruitful.

Links:

Jan 14, 2011

Moroccan Ministry of Culture partnership approval!

Igherm slated for restoration by Ministry partner.
Igherm slated for restoration by Ministry partner.

I am very pleased to announce that the Moroccan Ministry of Culture has approved our partnership proposal.  They have agreed to fund the restoration of a second igherm in the region (there are eight historic igherms). Work on this igherm will begin in April of 2011.  The community is currently deciding on the best use for this igherm and is contemplating renovating it into a preschool or women’s birthing center.  Either of these uses will compliment the library in the Amezray igherm.

The partnership from the Ministry means that as an organization all of our fundraising dollars will go directly to the uses within these historic buildings and to the management and operation costs of the development projects. The actual restoration will be funded by the Moroccan government.

“The ighrems (fortified granaries and saints’ houses) in Zawiya Ahansal have a great value and give beauty to the whole region because they are old historical monuments. “The igherms are our future and through them we can create future projects.  They are everything, we don’t have anything else.”

Ahmed Amahdar, the Sheikh of Zawiya Ahansal.

Oct 11, 2010

Project expands to include women and newborn health

October 4, 2010
By Cloe Medina Erickson, Project Manager

Over the past six years I have had the opportunity to work intimately with
locals on the Igherm Restoration Project in the remote region of Zawiya
Ahansal, Morocco.  We have successfully restored one of the region's eight
igherms (fortified granaries) and are in the initial phases of two more
restorations through the generosity of American Donors and partnerships
with the Moroccan Ministry of Culture and the local community association
Amezray SMNID.

The initial goals of the Igherm Restoration Project were to preserve the
region's cultural heritage, through the restoration of their igherms, and
increase literacy rates in the region and supplement the inadequate
government education through the establishment of community education
projects within the restored igherms.  Through our work other community
needs have come to light that are too great to ignore, especially that of
women's and newborn's health.


Rural Morocco has one of the highest maternal and infant mortality rates
in the developing world.  This is due to many circumstances, including
remoteness, traditional beliefs and distance from clinics and hospitals.
Partnering with the Global Midwife Education Foundation,
www.midwifeeducation.org, we are currently in Morocco establishing a
program that will train 8 to 12 traditional birth attendants in 2011.
These birth attendants, along with a newly establishment government
clinic, will ultimately serve the region's population of over 10,000
people.


This initiative compliments the goals of preserving the region?s cultural
heritage and decreasing illiteracy and will brighten the future of young
women such as Saadiya.


Saadiya's bright eyes reflect the energy and innocence of a 17 year old.
She lives in the village of Aguddim; with a population of just over 1000
people it is one of the largest villages within 100 kilometers.

Saadiya giggles when she mentions her engagement to a
young man from Ouarzazate.  Ouarzazate lies just over the rugged Atlas
Mountains to the east and is a big city in her eyes; it has hotels,
schools and even a hospital.  She will get married when she turns 18, the
youngest legal age for marriage in Morocco.


She is able to read and write only a little due to her third grade
education.  She desperately wanted to continue her schooling but
sacrificed her education because her family needed her at home to help
with field work, house work and her two younger sisters.
At this point in life she will probably never accomplish her hope of
higher education but because she has the rare opportunity to marry a man
from the "city" she will have an opportunity most women from Aguddim never
will, to give birth in a hospital.

"I am afraid to die in childbirth," she admits.

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Organization

Project Leader

Cloe Medina Erickson

Project Developer/Manager
Livingston, MT United States

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Map of Library for 10,000 Moroccan Berbers