Analyzing interviews conducted by students.
The rehabilitation of the gardens at the Lalla Aouda Saadia high school continues through ongoing discussions and coordination with local authorities, high school teachers, an association of the parents of the students, and students. This includes discussions with local authorities to have their support in order to facilitate the reports of the high school with the neighboring houses so that they are conscientious of the importance of the garden for the school, and with the Regional Academy of Education, Marrakech-Tensift-Al Haouz, in order to have permission to proceed with the rehabilitation of the garden.
In the meantime, effort to train students at Lalla Aouda as herbalist researchers has continued. Intern from Connecticut College, Joanna Smith, dedicated much time with the students from Lalla Aouda during her summer internship with Global Diversity Foundation (GDF). During this time, the students were further encouraged to be involved in the ethnobotanical study of five traditional women’s recipes. They received training on the use of a database containing the results of the field research previously conducted by thirty students from Lalla Aouda, who went into the Marrakech Medina to interview Marrakechi herbalists on important cultural recipes. All the traditional compositions collected in the field are available in the herbarium at the school, allowing the girls to re-examine, analyze, and discuss their own data. This is in line with the aim to build an educational framework at the school that allows students to explore their own city’s rich ethnobotanical traditions. Information from the database will published in a brochure for Lalla Aouda students and other residents of Marrakech.
Apart from this, several clean-up activities were carried out in September and October, funded in the majority and supervised by GDF, involving paid workers and aided by teachers of the school to clear rubbish that had accumulated in the school grounds over the years. These cleanup actions are helping to provide a safe space and conducive environment for the girls.
It is only with the support from its generous donors that GDF has been able to provide the opportunity to the students at the all-girls Lalla Aouda school to advance their appreciation and knowledge of the important uses of traditional plants, allowing them to discover, through this, a deeper understanding of their unique culture.
Joanna (back row, in black) having a discussion.