French Development Agency Lends €50 Million to Improve Moroccan Water Supply
The Moroccan Electricity and Drinking Water Bureau (ONEE) received €50m to implement a drinking water resilience project in Morocco’s northern provinces, including Al-Hoceima, Driouch and Taounate. The project will strengthen water production, increase storage autonomy and improve performance of supply facilities.
The project will benefit 300,000 people, and comes alongside another development grant of €20m by the French Agency to improve resilience of agriculture to climate change and combat desertification in Errachidia province.
Read more: http://northafricapost.com/26899-french-agency-extends-morocco-e50-million-loan-to-improve-water-supply.html
Waste of Citrus Fruits in Morocco Related to Overproduction
2018 saw the overproduction of over 60,000 tons of excess citrus fruits in Morocco, left to rot by the roadside, largely a result of good weather conditions. This glut flooded the market and led to a high reduction in price.
As new plantations go into production, it seems that distribution and valuation of product lags behind. The export market reached only 50% of its objective- only 650,000 tons of fruit were exported in 2017-18, despite the target being set at 1.2 million tons.
Some reasons for this deficit are a lack of operational processing facilities, the time needed to adapt production to international quality compliance and the lack of provision of financial support to small farmers.
Read more: https://www.freshplaza.com/article/9056699/morocco-big-waste-of-citrus-fruits/
Morocco Urged to take Action to Promote Amazigh Language
A UN special rapporteur has urged Morocco to “adopt a comprehensive anti-racial discrimination legislative framework”, expressing concern that there is no adopted legislation to implement the constitutional recognition of Tamazight as an official language. She highlighted the lack of adequate Amazigh language facilities, certified interpreters, its integration into education and administrative institutions, and into documents such as passports.
Although she commended Moroccan constitutional provisions which prohibit discrimination, guaranteeing non-citizen rights and promote equality, the human rights approach that Morocco has adopted with regards to migration, and the assurance of the rights of Moroccan Jews, the UN report notes the marginalisation and discrimination that Amazigh communities continue to face, including limited access to infrastructure and state support.
Read more: https://www.moroccoworldnews.com/2018/12/261267/un-expert-action-against-racism-amazigh-morocco/
Funding Granted for Moroccan Wind Farm
The developers of the 850Mw land based wind farm, located in Midelt, have stated that they are ready to commence the first phase of its project, which enable Morocco to offset 400,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions.
Morocco has a target to generate 52% of its total electricity usage from renewables.
The new facility is expected to produce enough energy to power a city the size of Agadir, home to 500,000 people.
Read more: https://www.enr.com/articles/46125-morocco-first-phase-wind-energy-project-secures-funds
Combatting Violence Against Women in Mohammedia
An EU-funded programme, South III, organised a workshop last week at the Faculty of Arts and Human Sciences in Mohammedia, on the theme of Activism Against Gender-based Violence. The programme, running from 2018-2020 aims to reinforce human rights, rule of law and democracy to combat all forms of violence against women.
A range of stakeholders gathered to openly discuss mechanisms to prevent such violence, as well as how to protect victims.
Read more: https://www.euneighbours.eu/en/south/stay-informed/news/morocco-eu-funded-programme-raises-awareness-combating-violence-against
The High Atlas Foundation (HAF)--partnering with the Holling’s Center for International Dialogue (DC/Istanbul) and the Prince Mohammad Bin Fahd Program for Strategic Research at the University of Central Florida--hosted a conference from November 15th-17th for the community and government partners, other thought leaders, and the staff and volunteers of HAF. Together, we explored the complexity and serious difficulty of rural poverty in Morocco, and closely considered how the work of the HAF and its partners can more effectively alleviate these conditions and fulfill the opportunities identified by local communities.
The strategies we developed together in so many ways become advanced upon by essentially implementing a critical action: telling the stories, life-situations, limitations, great hopes, and transformative potentials that rural Moroccan families face everyday.
If we can effectively convey to audiences of the Moroccan public, the internationally-concerned, governments, civil, and business groups at all levels and places, individuals, and everyone who seek to hear and know the perceptions of Moroccan families and communities, then we can best serve the local people through building more inclusive sustainable development movements.
We came to this conclusion--to communicate in multiple forms of written and spoken descriptions of rural projects and life--by first identifying a wide gamut of needs of both the people and how the HAF may better serve them. What we together discovered was that, for example, in promoting girls’ full participation in education and developing clean drinking water systems for all, so much comes down to raising awareness so that Moroccan and global people and institutions will clearly understand the challenges and the essential part they can play as partners for change.
We are so thankful for the exploration that we took together during the Experiential Conference. The momentum and the strategic drive carry on, and will continue to, as we everyday consider how we may best share the life experiences of rural Moroccan people as a powerful measure in order that we fulfill, together, their beautiful dreams.
Thank you so much to those who travelled to be with us from afar, and who helped enable the institutional support to make the Conference possible
Yossef Ben-Meir Ph.D., President at the High Atlas Foundation undertaking a Pairwise Ranking training exercise with community members, OCP company volunteers and school directors.
In a world where we create a living from shared resources, live in shared communities and all of our actions have flow-on effects, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is essential. It is also becoming more and more common, and we all know the benefits that CSR can provide. Though how can this be harnessed for sustainable community development?
We have seen a creative solution implemented by the private sector in Morocco. One such example is the OCP Group, which is making ‘human capital’ – their approximately 3,000 employees – available to work for one month in every year for civil society organisations and local community groups.
The incentive for company employees is a paid volunteer experience that releases them from daily duties, and applies their skills for the benefit of both communities and the company in which they work. Companies gain valuable insight into community development challenges, while also flipping power structures by working directly for community groups and placing them in the driving seat.
The High Atlas Foundation (HAF) has worked with companies to conduct training in the ‘participatory approach’ methodology giving company volunteers the tools they need to engage in meaningful and bottom-up development conversations with communities. The methodology provides a means for communities to communicate their needs and then prioritise their solutions (using a ‘Pairwise’ Ranking Assessment and other tools). Through this process communities agree on the highest priority projects and avoid ad hoc project implementation. Top priorities have emerged for many communities as the provision of drinking water, electricity, security and co-curricular resources for schools.
Results of the participatory training with OCP employees with school directors for CSR have so far been extremely promising. A number of projects for community organisations are progressing in a short timeframe with the additional human capital available to them. Expertise can also be committed with a long-term project horizon that transcends short-term funding cycles.
As examples, a number of projects are being developed to provide water pumps to schools in the Marrakech-Safi province, to provide drinking water as soon as possible. Another progression has been the scoping of an organic tree nursery at the Alkhawarizmy Technical High School in Safi aiming to provide applied environmental and agricultural education to students through high-value industries of the future (STEM). This is not only a necessary complement to their electrical and mechanical subject offerings, but may also provide a potential income stream to fund other essential community infrastructure.
Providing human capital for development is a creative solution to CSR, providing a real investment in the form that many rural communities need – personnel and expertise – and not just cold hard cash which on its own may be misdirected.
This is a great strategy for more companies to come forward for the benefit of human development, especially in regions and rural areas where communities are being left behind.
For more information regarding the participatory approach methodology training or working regional communities in Morocco please contact email@example.com
Amelia Haigh is a volunteer Proposals Writer for the High Atlas Foundation, Marrakech.
HAF staff, company volunteers and representatives of the Alkhawarizmy Technical High School on a project site visit.
In a little under just one week, the High Atlas Foundation (HAF) has met with members of 21 cooperatives throughout four provinces of the Oujda Region in Morocco. We have learned the stories behind the development of their cooperatives, about their products, unique manufacturing techniques, the highs and the lows of establishment, ongoing challenges, and impressive achievements. These details, of course, differ across each cooperative, but one common sentiment was reiterated time and time again: members from provinces stretching across Oujda have all shared gratitude for the knowledge and skills they acquired through HAF’s cooperative-building training, made possible by the Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI).
While we are overjoyed to hear the different ways in which our MEPI-funded training has significantly impacted the progress of cooperatives in Oujda, we recognize that is just the beginning of how we can help pave the way to success. We assist along many steps, such as helping cooperatives build relationships with their provincial authorities. On September 9th, HAF staff met in one large room with members of seven cooperatives of the Guercif province. It is perhaps no coincidence that facilitating a meeting utilizing the participatory approach—the very core of all of HAF’s sustainable development projects—proved to be extremely fruitful.
One result of having a participatory meeting with multiple cooperatives was the revelation of the commonalities and shared needs among the large group, followed by equally beneficial solutions. For example, Haoud Jdi and Elmanousri are two women’s cooperatives, both established in 2017, that sell food products: olives and couscous, and cookies and couscous, respectively. Each cooperative expressed a need for a central location for production as it would not only be more able to acquire certification from the food inspectors and thus enable the product to reach national markets, but also increase the quantity of their products made daily. Seeing this shared need between two similar cooperatives, HAF President, Dr. Yossef Ben-Meir, suggested Haoud Jdi and Elmanousri join forces for shared benefit. The women agreed and identified a goal to submit a proposal to their local governmentto create a coalition, including an invitation to a third women’s cooperative, and identify with them available land and a building structure for their production activities.
The participatory meeting also consequently highlighted the importance for cooperatives to consider how they can bridge their internal resources (i.e., skills) with their external ones (i.e., funding, land, etc.). For example, the TamzrayneCooperative, created in 2009, sells oil from different medicinal plants, mostly rosemary flowers. They have a partnership with Morocco’s High Commission of Waters and Forests, which has provided 3,000 hectares from where they can harvest the wild medicinal plants, and they also have members who skillfully sell their products. Again, seeing the cooperative’s strengths, Dr. Ben-Meir suggested Tamzraynemaximize the use of their resources and widen their cooperative’s production, based on the vision of the cooperative members. Specifically, since theyalready have land, water, and members skilled in selling plants and plant products, it would be feasible to establish fruit tree nurseries and cultivation (carob and nuts), thereby giving them the opportunity to make more profit from additional products.
Further, the meeting exposed to cooperative members the significance of considering what resources they already have or that they can access on their own. Several cooperatives reported utilizing the ministries and other agencies to submit project proposals for potential partnership-building and financial support. The Hikma Agriculture Cooperative, for example, submitted a proposal to the Ministry of Agriculture to fund land, water well construction, supplies, and a building for production. On the other hand, the men’s bread-baking cooperative, Chebab Hamria, used their existing network to secure a production site rent-free for six months.
Over the course of HAF’s Oujda trip thus far, it has been made clear that trainings such as our MEPI-funded cooperative-building training is vital for giving members the tools, resources, and confidence to pursue their goals. Attending the workshop gave participants knowledge about how to establish their cooperatives as well as helped them acquire or build upon skills necessary for managing successful businesses. However, it has also been made clear that beyond knowledge and skills-building training, cooperative members need guidance on how to utilize not only already-existing resources but also how to team-up and utilize each other for shared benefit. The participatory planning meeting in Guercif proved to be a crucial tool that cooperatives can utilize to identify common needs and share experiences. Moving forward, HAF will urge members of different cooperatives within one municipality or province to develop a supportive network through the participatory approach as we continue our efforts to help cooperatives throughout Morocco excel.
Agricultural fields in Amizmiz, Region of Marrakech (Morocco)
Six months ago, when I learned that I had been accepted as an intern with the High Atlas Foundation, I knew nothing of Morocco; not its peoples, its culture, or its challenges. Upon first deciding to pursue a rural community-based assignment rather than a job in the office in Marrakech, I was nervous due to the unfamiliarity of such a lifestyle and the preconceived notions that occupied my brain. I held expectations that now embarrass me for their naïve generalization: expectations of poor sanitation, unsophisticated technology, and lack of contact with the outside world.
To be certain, there are definite lifestyle differences between the societies of Amizmiz and Charlottesville, VA, where I study at the University of Virginia. But from my first day in Amizmiz, I realized that my expectations did not exactly match the reality of this community. I found myself comfortable situated in the small but welcoming house of my host mother, who I will call Kotar. Not only did I find myself with electricity, running water, and consistent cellular data, but I found that Kotar spoke English with enough fluidity to understand me and serve as de facto translator when I met with people in town.
But rather than disrupt my purpose here, the disparity that I found between original expectations and reality actually granted me some freedom to smoothly adjust to life here and refocus around the core goal of my time here: to diagnose and address the primary aspects of need and desire in this community through personal observation.
Whilst designing a plan for my time here, I researched the High Atlas Foundation’s previous efforts, notably a women’s empowerment program and a nursery of almond trees planted in the nearby Atlas Mountains, leading me to assume that these projects would factor prominently in my work here.
However, from my initial observations and interviews, I began to understand—as is reasonable considering the complicated nature of entrenched systematic problems in any society—that the strengths and challenges of life here are more complicated than can be easily summarized. Indeed, beyond the general themes of women’s empowerment and economic stimulus, complex and variable issues such as barriers to health care access and lack of employment opportunities have emerged as potential areas of focus. To truly understand which areas of community development to focus on, I am prepared to patiently witness life here and listen to the concerns voiced by the people around me.
Moving forward, it is only with the companionship of Kotar and my status as a semi-permanent resident that I hope to develop trust with locals to access more candid opinions and also to demonstrate the High Atlas Foundation’s continued interest in being a community partner of Amizmiz. Only as a welcome, familiar guest in peoples’ lives will I hope to learn genuine opinions about what challenges they face.
As I have begun to observe daily routines, ordinary interactions, and cultural norms, I have also grown to realize that one of my primary challenges on assignment will be reporting my observations in a way that feels thorough but not objectifying or reducing people to mere characterizations. Although I am fortunate enough to witness events and interactions wholly foreign and new to me, many of these instances are ordinary and commonplace to any local.
In this regard, I face a challenge in presenting the facts as I experience them while maintaining that they are only the facts according to my version of the truth. While I hope to only present my experiences through the lens of a well-meaning observer, I would be remiss to ignore the fact that I will be representing the lives of others, giving them no chance to review or edit how I present their lives. Given that I will be here for several weeks, I am hoping to gain a thorough understanding of the lives of the people around me so that the narrative that I create through these articles aligns closely with the narratives that these people would write for themselves.
Although I have been here but a short time, I feel already at home in Amizmiz and hope to do justice to it’s peoples and culture through my reportage of observations. Indeed, I will consider my time here successful if I accurately represent life here through these written updates and develop potential future projects to improve upon an already wonderful society.
Aurora’s host family in Amizmiz
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