Project and Training Manager Abderrahim Ouarghidi reports:
The remaining 8,000 olive trees in the Aarbat and Aabidat villages project (Ben Guerir) will soon be transplanted to their permanent homes.
Digging of the trenches (in which to install the drip watering system) has just been completed. As explained in an earlier report, this is particularly difficult work in such rocky, steep terrain. Wherever possible, a truck was brought in to dig, but wherever it was too steep to operate the truck, the villagers came out en masse to dig the rocky terrain manually.
The painstaking digging has finally been completed, and as of last week, the trenches and 4 irrigation wells had been completely dug, as had the holes, which are now ready to receive the 8,000 transplanted trees after the drip system has been installed.
Once the materials arrive, the drip system will be installed in the trenches, at long last delivering water to the holes. In the meantime, the olive trees will continue to be cared for in their temporary homes until after the drip irrigation system has been completely installed, at which time they will be transplanted into the newly dug holes (their permanent homes) in the rocky terrain.
May 2012 report from the field: 8,000 olive trees planted in the rural commune Ait Taleb
Because of its rocky, eroded terrain and its geographic situation, this is considered one of the most difficult sites for agricultural development projects.
A drip irrigation system is being installed in Aarbat village along with 3 wells — 2 in Aarbat and 1 in Aabidat. It took nearly 1.5 months to drill the wells in Aarbat (120m each). These drilled wells will ensure sufficient water to irrigate nearly 5,000 olive trees and will contribute to other projects in the future. Next, electrical specialists would have to find a way to run electricity to the water pump, but we are currently looking into a solar energy solution instead.
At Aabidat, the community members have so far planted 1000 olive trees and the rest are about to be planted. The drip irrigation system is especially difficult to install here due to the the irregular sloping and rocks covering the ground, so our technical expert will develop a special drip system to work here. This will also be greatly useful for other projects wanting to plant olive trees on similarly difficult-to-manage, damaged terrain.
May 2012 report from the field: 4 additional villages in the Ait Taleb Commune
A new project has been proposed to plant 20 hectares of olive trees to serve a population of 160 households (approximately 800 people).
May 2012 report from the field :
Olive tree planting with schools in Rhamna region, Ben Guerir province
With the objective to raise consciousness of the school children and teachers toward their environment, this project used educational materials and programs to change the way children view their relationship with the environment. Teachers, local nonprofit community groups and the department of education collaborated to choose 4 schools, based on availability of water, oversight, available land for planting, and interest expressed by the teachers in the region’s schools.
As part of this initiative, 90 olive trees were planted at 3 of the schools.
Besides teaching about the environment, such programs are very important because these rural children learn from an early age how to plant, care for and appreciate the value of trees and what the trees can provide them and their families when cared for properly. These programs create future stewards of the land.
This project is moving right along, slowly but steadily.
Community planning meetings have determined the projects that the residents feel are necessary. Planting 10,000 olive trees in this region will transform the lives of the remaining elderly, women and children left behind when their husbands, fathers, sons, and brothers left to seek work in larger cities or abroad.
This project will enable these remaining residents to send their children to school for longer and become adults who will stay and learn the skills to farm in their community rather than have to leave and never return.
The community members are ready to move forward with this project, and we are awaiting more funding to enable its implementation. As always, we appreciate your support.
This project is made possible through the High Atlas Foundation partnering with dedicated Peace Corps Volunteers Samantha Dinar and David Pesnichak, who live in and work with the community of Ait Wafqa, outside of Tafaraoute in southern Morocco. Attached is the detailed proposal of the project, written by Samantha and Dave.
This project will plant almost 1400 fruit trees including 250 endemic and endangered Argan trees, help stabilize the household water supply through the incorporation of an additional well (to a total of 2 wells for 800 people) to the Douar-wide water supply system and provide 42 cubic meters of additional waterstorage, increase both local biological and agricultural diversity, help control erosion, and provide revenue for both the local Development Association and the local women’s cooperative.
By focusing on basicin frastructure and education, this project will not only bring a necessary solar water pump and piping for irrigation and household water, but it will also provide trainings to men and women in the village on argantrees, solar energy and the use of drip irrigation in conserving water. Through the implementation of this basic infrastructure, this project will directly benefit the health and well being of the entire community in the form of a more secure household water supply that will help people adapt to seasonal and long-term climatic changes.
Further, this project, which is strongly supported by the Development Association, focuses on providing social and monetary benefits that will encourage ongoing literacy and other classes to the local women at the Neddi. Because the women of the Cooperative and Neddi understand that they will reap social, monetary and educational benefits from this project, they are hence vested in the success of this project and will play an integral role in both the trainings and implementation. In addition, as this project will aid in the long-term success of the Women’s Cooperative and Neddi it will, in effect, escalate the women’s self-confidence, independence and ability to govern and control their organizations and activities. In the end, rural women and children will not only benefit economically and socially but environmentally as well.
With the planting season from now until mid-March, now is the time to make this project happen, and we hope you will support it.
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