Benefit 700 Moroccan girls through school gardens

by Global Diversity Foundation
Benefit 700 Moroccan girls through school gardens
Benefit 700 Moroccan girls through school gardens
Benefit 700 Moroccan girls through school gardens
Benefit 700 Moroccan girls through school gardens
Benefit 700 Moroccan girls through school gardens
Benefit 700 Moroccan girls through school gardens
Benefit 700 Moroccan girls through school gardens
Benefit 700 Moroccan girls through school gardens
Benefit 700 Moroccan girls through school gardens
Benefit 700 Moroccan girls through school gardens
Benefit 700 Moroccan girls through school gardens
Benefit 700 Moroccan girls through school gardens
Benefit 700 Moroccan girls through school gardens
Benefit 700 Moroccan girls through school gardens
Benefit 700 Moroccan girls through school gardens
Benefit 700 Moroccan girls through school gardens
Benefit 700 Moroccan girls through school gardens
Benefit 700 Moroccan girls through school gardens
Benefit 700 Moroccan girls through school gardens
Benefit 700 Moroccan girls through school gardens
Benefit 700 Moroccan girls through school gardens
Benefit 700 Moroccan girls through school gardens
Benefit 700 Moroccan girls through school gardens
Benefit 700 Moroccan girls through school gardens
Benefit 700 Moroccan girls through school gardens
Benefit 700 Moroccan girls through school gardens
Benefit 700 Moroccan girls through school gardens
Benefit 700 Moroccan girls through school gardens
Benefit 700 Moroccan girls through school gardens
Benefit 700 Moroccan girls through school gardens
Benefit 700 Moroccan girls through school gardens
Benefit 700 Moroccan girls through school gardens
Benefit 700 Moroccan girls through school gardens
Benefit 700 Moroccan girls through school gardens
Benefit 700 Moroccan girls through school gardens
Benefit 700 Moroccan girls through school gardens
Workshop with Dr. Omar 1
Workshop with Dr. Omar 1

The beginning of 2023 has been a very busy time period for our Dar Taliba (boarding school) girls in the Ourika Valley. Due to school exams, various school vacations, and the holy month of Ramadan, it’s been a busy season for the girls. However, we were able to get down to Dar Taliba at the beginning of March to host a workshop with the girls, despite all the scheduling madness. 

 

On March 3, 2023, Dr Omar Saadani Hassani, our agroecology coordinator, did a workshop with 20 girls from the Dar Taliba entitled Life in Our Soils, where he talked about the stages of soil formation, ocean formation and climate change. Our team is always excited to create safe spaces like these for the Dar Taliba girls because they allow the girls to explore who they are and their creativity, while also giving them the opportunity to learn about the environment and what they can do to protect it. 

 

The first activity of the workshop was a drawing activity, where Ourika’s most talented girls, at least in our opinion, drew countless drawings that portrayed the plant life cycle. Each drawing was unique and gave us an interesting window into the curious minds of these young ladies. 

 

During the workshop, Dr Omar taught the girls about the crucial role that soil plays in our ecosystem and the different stages of soil formation. As always, Dr Omar explained these topics, which can be a little dry, in a fun and lighthearted manner that kept the girls focused and engaged throughout the entire workshop. 

 

Initially, Dr Omar was only going to focus on the topic of soil. However, after seeing the excitement and enthusiasm of the Dar Taliba girls grow during the workshop, he decided to also talk about the ocean, the stages of its formation on the Earth and the water cycle. 

 

Dr Omar concluded the workshop with a discussion about climate change and the negative impact that it’s having on our environment, food security and economies. This topic created a lively debate among the Dar Taliba girls and gave them an opportunity to think about the global climate crisis and express their opinions on it. 

 

The end of the 2022-2023 academic year in Morocco is fast approaching. However, before it ends, we hope to deliver more educational workshops to the girls at the Dar Taliba in Ourika Valley on various topics including the benefits and uses of different medicinal and aromatic plants, biodiversity, sustainable eating practices for a healthier planet, and seed and plant care for independent growers. 

 

As always, we would like to thank you, our GlobalGiving family, for your ongoing support of the environmental educational activities that we do for the girls at the Dar Taliba in Ourika Valley. We hope 2023 has been an amazing year for you so far and we look forward to sharing our next update with you this summer. 

 

 

 

 

Student Drawings
Student Drawings
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Garden Workshop 1
Garden Workshop 1

The school year has begun in Ourika Valley and over 120 new girls from neighboring villages have made Dar Taliba (the boarding school) their new home. Before we could start our activities for the new students, we had to prepare the botanical garden. We've hired local community members to help our gardener, Mr. El Hossain, with deep soil flipping and expanding cultivation zones. Given the state of the soil as a result of excessive cultivation and invasive weeds, this mission took several weeks and is still ongoing.

 

However, we could not wait any longer to reunite with the girls of Dar Taliba, and launch our workshops for this year. Our first workshop invited over 50 girls to watch the film documentary “Ait Atta: Nomads of the High Atlas' ',  produced by Global Diversity Foundation in collaboration with The Moroccan Biodiversity and Livelihoods Association. The movie follows the Ben Youssef family’s arduous transhumant journey from the desert-like landscape of Nkob to the green pastures of Agdal Igourdane, throughout uneven terrain of steep climbs and descents of the High Atlas Mountains.

 

The workshop aimed to introduce the girls to the Agdal ancestral practice, which is a communal land management system that has been practised for centuries in the High Atlas Mountains. The practice consists of restricting access to chosen highland pastures in spring months, allowing plants to regenerate each year, and as agreed upon by participating tribes. The movie was followed by a discussion on the importance of preserving the Agdal practice and the role nomads and regulated grazing play in conserving local biodiversity.

Our second workshop provided an opportunity for over 30 new girls to become acquainted with the botanical garden, following a brief presentation of the space and our project, welcoming them to the garden and explaining how it is available to them at all times, even when our team is not present.

 

We also decided to dedicate this workshop to presenting the oyas irrigation system, which is an agroecological practice that consists of burying water-filled clay pots underground. This way, water can dissipate into the soil as needed. It is an extremely water-efficient method that prevents excessive evaporation and water runoff.

 

The girls assisted in burying ten oyas in the garden after our presentation. We were delighted to witness the girls' sense of curiosity and answer their questions regarding this practice and the plants they observed in the garden.

We concluded our workshop by asking them to come up with ideas for what they'd like to do next, and it seems that everyone enjoys being close to nature and soil, as everyone is set on cultivating vegetables for our next workshop. 

 

Find a short video of our workshop here.

 

Thanks to the support of our GlobalGiving friends, we are looking forward to another amazing year for the girls of Dar Taliba and we can’t wait to tell you all about it in our upcoming reports.

Garden Workshop 2
Garden Workshop 2
Garden Workshop 3
Garden Workshop 3
Film Screening
Film Screening
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Dar Taliba's school year has come to an end, and the girls have left the boarding school to enjoy the summer break with their families. However, this did not put an end to our work; we still needed to squeeze in one more activity before wrapping things up.

One of the things on our minds this year has been how to broaden our impact and convert the garden into a destination for the wider public of Marrakech and its surroundings, a space that welcomes everyone who is passionate about local biodiversity, or is simply curious to learn more about our environmental programme. Therefore, for our final activity, we've decided to invite urban schools to visit the Dar Taliba garden space and discuss the possibility of having their students participate in future activities.

Eleven teachers and administrative staff from six Marrakech schools joined us for a day in the garden, during which our team introduced the programme, its goals, and its action plan. Our visitors were very impressed and shared our interest to add the Dar Taliba Garden to their school's extracurricular activities agenda. This step will pave the way for new interactions and exchanges between Dar Taliba's girls and students from urban areas.

Aside from having more beneficiaries in the garden's activities, this could be a push for these schools to replicate our project on their school grounds and permanently implement an environmental approach to their curriculums. If this were to happen in the future, we would consider it a huge win for Morocco's biodiversity.

Speaking of replicating inspiring and impactful projects, you will be pleased to know that the Dar Taliba girls took part in the filming of a crowdfunding video produced by our partner, the Moroccan Biodiversity & Livelihoods Association. This project falls under their current mission to replicate the Dar Taliba project on the grounds of another boarding school located in the heart of the High Atlas Mountains.

You can watch the video here, and get a glimpse of what the harvest season looks like for our girls in Ourika Valley. 

Lastly, we'd like to thank all of our GlobalGiving donors for their generous contributions. You truly make a difference in the lives of the 154 Dar Taliba girls. Your contributions not only help to implement our activities, but also ensure that the Dar Taliba gardener has all of the necessary equipment and supplies to grow all of the plants, vegetables, and fruits for the much-awaited harvest season.

This year's harvest season meant that the girls were once again connected to the source of the food served to them during lunches; they get to help harvest the vegetables and aromatic plants and run to the garden whenever they want a quick fruit snack.

Until our next report, you can follow us on Facebook and Instagram or visit our website for more updates about new activities at the Dar Taliba school garden and the students.

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Our favourite season at the Dar Taliba school garden has arrived: it’s finally Spring! “I love how everything comes to life during this time,” says Dar Taliba gardener Al Housseine. “The garden is full of colours and the trees full of fruits,” he adds.

Since we reported last, we organised a series of workshops on seeds - the source of all life in the school garden. Our partner MBLA held an introduction session in early April, during which we talked about traditional seeds and the important role they play in maintaining healthy agricultural practices. We also demonstrated practical examples of how seeds are collected and stored after which we played some fun games.

During the game “Guess the seeds” each student was given a number of seeds in their hands after which they had to guess which plant or vegetable the seed was from. This game really taught the girls how diverse seeds are in size, colour and shape. 

At the end of the day, we held a small outdoor cooking workshop. To start, the girls went out in the garden to harvest fresh lettuce, coriander, peppers, lemons and other organic ingredients. We then enjoyed seeing all the students using their own recipes to prepare an organic and yummy salad.

Now that the students had learned all about seed diversity and their importance, it was time to learn some practical skills. Building on the first session, we organised a practical workshop on seed collection at the end of April. “Seeds are the source of all our food,” Meryem, MBLA agronomist and workshop facilitator, says. “Without seeds there is no biodiversity. It’s important that the Dar Taliba students learn about the important value of seeds and how they can conserve them.”

Having dried lots of plants and vegetables during the past months, we had bags of different seeds that had to be collected, cleaned and stored. Not an easy task, especially if you look at the size of onion seeds (see below). But the Dar Taliba girls did an amazing job and now have a collection of over 20 different seed species stored in their own seed bank!

We want to thank all our GlobalGiving donors for your generous donations. You truly make a difference for the 154 girls at Dar Taliba. Their school garden is not just any green space; it encourages young girls to explore their natural environment, to learn about cultural traditions of their communities and to connect with each other.  

We look forward to the upcoming activities during the next few weeks which include a knowledge exchange with a successful female cooperative from the central High Atlas, visits from surrounding schools and hopefully a second trip to Marrakech. Stay tuned!

Until our next report, you can follow us on Facebook and Instagram or visit our website for more updates about new activities at the Dar Taliba school garden and the students

Students during the "Guess the seeds" game
Students during the "Guess the seeds" game
Students collecting and cleaning seeds
Students collecting and cleaning seeds
Tiny black onion seeds
Tiny black onion seeds
Preparing yummy salads
Preparing yummy salads
Seeds ready to be stored in the seedbank!
Seeds ready to be stored in the seedbank!
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First of all, happy new year to all our GlobalGiving friends! Your support this past year has allowed us to continue supporting the Dar Taliba boarding house and growing the school garden despite the challenges we faced due to national Covid-19 restrictions. We hope we can continue to grow this project and our GlobalGiving community in 2022 and wish you all health and happiness!

As schools remained closed in Morocco until October due to Covid-19, we have been focusing our energy on creating an exciting new activities for the second half of the school year which will kick of this month for all 154 students that are currently in residence at Dar Taliba. Meanwhile, Dar Taliba director Fatema and gardener Al Housseine have been busy planting seeds and vegetables with the girls. The garden is bursting with life and greens, and the first-year students are discovering all the Dar Taliba school garden has to offer: fruits, vegetables, medinical herbs, endemic species and lots of seeds!

We are so pleased to share with you all that we organised our first rural-urban exchange in November with students from Dar Taliba and local students of the Tizgui primary school in Marrakech. We held an interactive workshop on agroecology during which students collaborated together in small mixed groups in order to increase levels of exchange between participants from urban and rural areas. The day also included a planting activity in local gardens, a tasting session of High Atlas food products and an art activity to create drawings of agro ecological farms (see photos below). 

The workshops offered the Dar Taliba girls an opportunity to learn more about agroecology in an interactive and fun way, while also interacting with a new group of students and exchanging their traditional knowledge with them. Moreover, they really enjoyed going to Marrakech city and changing their usual environment for a day!

Thanks to the support of our GlobalGiving friends, we will be able to offer more of these exchanges in 2022 between the Dar Taliba girls, other students and local actors in the region.

Until our next update, you can follow us on Facebook and Instagram or visit our website for more updates about new activities at the Dar Taliba school garden and the students.

Drawing agroecological farms
Drawing agroecological farms
Dar Taliba students planting bean seeds
Dar Taliba students planting bean seeds
Students taking care of the plant nursery
Students taking care of the plant nursery
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Global Diversity Foundation

Location: Bristol, VT - USA
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Project Leader:
Pommelien Da Silva Cosme
Canterbury , Kent United Kingdom
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