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

While the girls at the Dar Taliba boarding house will not return school until 1st October, we have a lot of exciting updates to share since our last report.

During the months of May and June, we continued our garden training programme at the Dar Taliba school garden with local partner Moroccan Biodiversity & Livelihoods Association. Through practical trainings, the girls learned about pest control and plant health by preparing an organic pesticide with baking soda and black soap. We also held a workshop on the commercialisation of medicinal and aromatic plants, which is an important source of income for local communities in the High Atlas. During this workshop, we introduced ways to valorise and transform local plants into marketable products such as essential oils, herbal teas, soaps and other cosmetic products. 

We celebrated the end of the school year with a delicious cooking workshop led by Dar Taliba cook Aïcha. To ensure knowledge transfer about traditional plant uses between generations, Aïcha shared some traditional recipes using local medicinal plants, which the girls have been growing in their school garden. The result was a healthy home cooked tajine (meal in a earthenware pot) and a delicious Tagula o'Asengar  (corn porridge), an Amazigh dish usually prepared to celebrate the new agriculture year.We are grateful for the support of our GlobalGiving donors, which allows us to continue growing our school garden and to offer an environmental education programme for the Dar Taliba girls.

Do you remember the educational manual we mentioned back in January? We are happy to share that we produced the final result “Biodiversity: in the Moroccan High Atlas and the World” and printed 500 copies for current and future students at Dar Taliba. The manual includes 5 chapters (Biodiversity hotspots, Climate Change, Threats to biodiversity, Plastic pollution and Sustainable development goals), and will serve as a great tool for students to increase their awareness on local biodiversity and ways on how to support its conservation. In addition, this resource can also be used by teachers to inform their lesson plans. 

We held a final workshop and manual distribution ceremony during which the Dar Taliba students and local team welcomed a special visitor: the Australian Ambassador to Morocco! In addition to generous donations from our GlobalGiving friends, our Dar Taliba school garden project received significant support from the Australian Embassy for this past year’s educational programme and the environmental manual.The students were proud to show the Ambassador and his family around the garden, and they all participated in an intergenerational workshop on traditional land use practices in the High Atlas towards the end of their visit.

While we are impatiently waiting for the girls to start school again, we designed and installed two educational displays in the school garden that showcase local fauna and flora and inform students as well as visitors on local biodiversity (see photo below).

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.

Traditional cooking workshop
Traditional cooking workshop
Distribution of environmental education manuals
Distribution of environmental education manuals
New educational display
New educational display
Traditional dish Tagula o'Asengar (corn porridge)
Traditional dish Tagula o'Asengar (corn porridge)
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Since we reported last, we launched an exciting series of environmental activities at Dar Taliba with our local partner Moroccan Biodiversity & Livelihoods Association. We kicked off our new programme with an interactive workshop called “What is biodiversity?”, during which we talked about biodiversity in the High Atlas, played a game to identify threats to biodiversity, and exchanged lots of ideas about what humans can do to take better care of nature. 

During our second activity, we organised a quiz on High Atlas fauna and flora, including some local aromatic and medicinal plants such as thyme and rosemary. We held an ethnobotanical tour in the school garden to discover other local plants and to learn about their different uses during a session on health benefits of medicinal plants. For example, we learned that lavender helps relieve stress and that sage can be used to treat digestive problems such as stomach pains, amongst others.

This year, and for the first time at Dar Taliba, we celebrated Earth Day on 22 April. We started the day with a plastic clean up in and around Dar Taliba, to raise awareness about how plastic threatens the health of our planet. In less than 30 minutes, we collected over 10 full bags of plastic waste, which encouraged us to come up with simple ideas to reduce our plastic waste, such as bringing a bag when you go to the store instead of accepting a single-use plastic bag. 

After our plastic collection, we continued to celebrate Earth Day by crafting a beautiful promise tree, colouring drawings and making paintings of the things we love most about our planet. We were impressed by the creative talent of the students and are proud of all the promises they made to the Earth.

In March, we also kicked off our annual permaculture training programme in the school garden. Building on the expertise of our team members, we organised several sessions on specific topics including on seed collection and seed saving. We also organised a training on vegetable cultivation during which we learned how to plant and grow tomato seeds. The tomatoes the girls planted are growing fast as you will see in the pictures below. 

“It's just amazing to see how young girls are curious about their environment, and how they interact with us during sessions,” Dar Taliba coordinator Sabah says. “I believe that thanks to these activities, they are now more aware about the richness of their landscapes and they appreciate it more.”

Thanks to the generous donations of our GlobalGiving friends, we are able to support all these wonderful activities to the 112 students in residence. We are grateful that we are able to continue to grow this green space for young women, despite all the COVID19 challenges we faced last year.

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.

Plastic clean up around the Dar Taliba grounds
Plastic clean up around the Dar Taliba grounds
Making promises to the earth on a promise tree
Making promises to the earth on a promise tree
(Left) planting tomato seeds and (Right) watching
(Left) planting tomato seeds and (Right) watching
Planting of a tomato plant
Planting of a tomato plant
Art activity on Earth Day
Art activity on Earth Day
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It has been almost one year since we last held any training in the Dar Taliba school garden, due to nationwide COVID-19 restrictions in Morocco that prohibited us to organise group events. However, things are looking up. The Dar Taliba girls and school garden project are ready for a fresh start this new year!

We are very pleased to announce that we are launching a new series of garden and environmental education activities at Dar Taliba, thanks to the generous support of our GlobalGiving donors and the launch of a new project. During the next few months, we will be carrying out garden trainings and some brand new activities such as plastic cleanup and Earth Day events to encourage personal responsibility towards the environment. 

As part of this new programme, we are also developing a creative and practical manual on local biodiversity, environmental challenges and best practices to protect the environment. This manual will be distributed to all 112 girls and will be used to educate future students at Dar Taliba and other schools in the region. We can’t wait to share more with all of you soon.

We also look forward to continuing growing healthy and organic vegetables on the Dar Taliba grounds, and to exchange knowledge with community elders on traditional foods and recipes, which we need to preserve for future generations. It will be a first at Dar Taliba and an excellent learning opportunity for all of us! 

Finally, last week a popular Moroccan TV network visited the Dar Taliba school garden to learn more about the project and to hear from students what they have learned during their garden training. It was such an exciting event and Dar Taliba director Fatema told us she was very proud of the students for handling the interviews so well. We are excited to share the feature with you all once it is broadcasted.

If this past year has taught us anything, it’s the importance of nurturing our relationship with nature and protecting the environment. Therefore, we are so thankful for the support of our GlobalGiving donors, which allows us to grow this wonderful green space for young girls where they can continue to learn about traditional plants and sustainable land use practices.

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.

Dar Taliba students on National Moroccan TV
Dar Taliba students on National Moroccan TV
Dar Taliba garden from above
Dar Taliba garden from above
Meeting with the Dar Taliba local team
Meeting with the Dar Taliba local team
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Since we reported last, the 153 Dar Taliba students left the boarding house to continue their studies remotely at home, due to the closure of schools in Morocco as part of national COVID-19 measures. Despite the start of the new school year two weeks ago, schools remain closed until further notice in certain regions, including in the Ourika Valley, where Dar Taliba is located. We were so excited to welcome new students and introduce them to the Dar Taliba school garden project but we’ll have to be patient a little bit longer.

Although we miss the girls at Dar Taliba terribly - and the life they bring to the garden - we continued to take care of the seedlings the students planted, as well as the vegetables and the medicinal and aromatic plants they cultivated during the last school year. “The girls have done such an amazing job in the garden, keeping up with the garden work these past few months has not been the same without their help and enthusiasm,” Dar Taliba gardener El Housseine said.

We recently spoke with Meryam, an ex Dar Taliba student who participated in our weekly garden training sessions two years ago. “I spent two years at Dar Taliba and I loved spending time in the school garden,” she said. “In the first year I learned a lot about how to take care of the earth and soil health. Later on, we started practicing techniques such as making compost and organic fertiliser.” Through our garden training programme, we are actively engaging Dar Taliba students with local biodiversity conservation efforts and rediscovering local cultural heritage related to plants. “I really miss Dar Taliba and the outdoor activities in the garden,” Meryam says. “I hope new students will learn as much as I did and have fun together with harvesting vegetables and planting seeds.”

We also met with Dar Taliba director Fatema, who is anxious to welcome the students back to the boarding house. “The school garden brings so much joy to the students in residence,” she says. “It breaks their daily routine of going to class and teaches them about important traditional plants as well as the values of teamwork.”

While we wait for the students to return to school, we are meeting with the Dar Taliba team to come up with an exciting plan and programme in order to continue our important work with the Dar Taliba girls and to discuss the impact COVID-19 has on their education. In the meantime, you can follow us on Facebook and Instagram or visit our website for more updates about the Dar Taliba school garden and students.

GlobalGiving is currently offering matching funds!

GlobalGiving’s 5-day Little by Little Campaign is currently on, which means donations up to $50 will be matched by 50%. If you’d like to make an additional gift to this project, please do consider doing so before 18 September 11.59pm ET (Friday).

With a $15 donation, we are able to buy 30 aromatic plants for the garden.

With a $50 donation, we are able to purchase 5 fruit trees for the orchard.

Thank you.

Dar Taliba school garden ready to welcome students
Dar Taliba school garden ready to welcome students
Dar Taliba team takes care of the garden
Dar Taliba team takes care of the garden
Hope stones crafted by the girls last school year
Hope stones crafted by the girls last school year
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A lot has changed since our last report in January. The world turned upside down due to a global pandemic, and so has our school garden project for 153 students at the Dar Taliba boarding house for girls. 

Due to COVID-19 lockdown restrictions in Morocco, all schools are closed until September 2020. Unfortunately, this means that the Dar Taliba students are currently unable to attend their classes and their weekly garden training sessions. However, we are pleased that we were able to carry out our outdoor garden activities as usual for the most part of the school year.

During the months of February and March, the girls participated in 13 garden training sessions and planted hundreds of seeds in their greenhouse, including aromatic and medicinal plants such as sage (Salvia officinalis) and lavender (Lavandula officinalis). They also made an additional pile of fresh compost, prepared a natural pesticide and planted dozens of  baby vegetables in the garden, including carrots, radishes, eggplants and turnips.

More recently, our Dar Taliba project was featured in Evidence of Hope: Women of Morocco, part of a series of portraits of people and projects from around the world who are successfully addressing global challenges. The Dar Taliba students proudly shared their skills and knowledge with the Evidence of Hope team and we can’t wait to organise a screening of the short film once they return to school. They also welcomed other visitors to their school garden over the past few months, including a host from Radio Amazigh, a local radio programme that highlights stories from Amazigh rural communities linked to the environment and women’s empowerment. Four students were brave enough to participate in interviews and they did an excellent job! 

Thanks to the generous support of our GlobalGiving donors, this project is flourishing and the Dar Taliba school garden continues to grow into a wonderful outdoor space for students to learn and grow together. We are so very grateful.

Luckily we ended this year’s school garden training programme with an exciting final activity before the lockdown started. Perhaps you remember the drawing activity we organised last year with a group of Dar Taliba students? Based on this activity and others, we developed a colourful booklet that features local and useful plant products selected by the students we worked with in different regions in the High Atlas, including Dar Taliba. The “Amazigh Household Basket” features beautiful drawings produced by the students, including olive trees, corn, cherries, carrots and thyme. We distributed this labour of love among the Dar Taliba students in March and they were so proud to see some of their drawings featured inside.The booklet is available online for anyone who is curious to have a look!

Although the students won’t be back at Dar Taliba until September, we are working hard to create an exciting programme for next school year with new educational materials that focus on the importance of health for humans as well as nature. Until then, you can follow us on Facebook and Instagram or visit our website for more updates about our future plans for the Dar Taliba school garden and students.

Proud Dar Taliba students show their drawings
Proud Dar Taliba students show their drawings
Baby figs growing in the Dar Taliba garden
Baby figs growing in the Dar Taliba garden
Dar Taliba students during a radio interview
Dar Taliba students during a radio interview
The students' aromatic and medicinal plants
The students' aromatic and medicinal plants
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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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