Water School - Environmental Education in Morocco

by Dar Si Hmad
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Water School - Environmental Education in Morocco
Water School - Environmental Education in Morocco
Water School - Environmental Education in Morocco
Water School - Environmental Education in Morocco
Water School - Environmental Education in Morocco
Water School - Environmental Education in Morocco
Water School - Environmental Education in Morocco
Water School - Environmental Education in Morocco
Water School - Environmental Education in Morocco
Water School - Environmental Education in Morocco
Water School - Environmental Education in Morocco
Water School - Environmental Education in Morocco
Water School - Environmental Education in Morocco
Water School - Environmental Education in Morocco
Water School - Environmental Education in Morocco
Water School - Environmental Education in Morocco
Water School - Environmental Education in Morocco
Water School - Environmental Education in Morocco
Water School - Environmental Education in Morocco
Water School - Environmental Education in Morocco
Water School - Environmental Education in Morocco
Picture with Water School Participants
Picture with Water School Participants

After a successful turn out last year with our pilot e-learning and water school projects in Southwest Morocco, We are meticulously planning this year's mobile educational caravan, merging both the e-learning and water school programs.

Last year 18 rural girls, ambassadors of the first generation of young women who left their villages with the main goal of completing their secondary education. This is an accomplishment that only few girls pride themselves with in rural southwest Morocco.

Our water school last year comprised a three week intensive camp revolving around the thematic of water and the environment. With 49 rural children from the rural commune of Tnin Amellou, still in Southwest Morocco, we explored water from various angles via hands-on workshops, ecological education and excursions, most of which fulfilled our vision of stimulating children's curiosity and intelligence.

This year we are preparing to launch our e-learning project in May. This year we are increasing the number of beneficiaries by almost 200% and we tapped into the wide pool of high school curriculum available online in Morocco, which we plan to use as part of the multimedia material during implementation.

We are also redesigning the concept of the Water School by developing new curriculum targeting rural children in areas where water education is quasi-absent.

We deeply thank our donors for their support, and for believing in our mission and vision.

Drawing Workshop: Paint Your Experience
Drawing Workshop: Paint Your Experience
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A group photo from 2014 water school
A group photo from 2014 water school

Dar Si Hmad continues its preparation for its School on Wheels educational caravan. We will officially launch the project at the end of February 2015 which coincides with the beginning of the second and last official school semester before final exams and the end of the academic year. Our summer Water School in 2014 focused on water as a source of learning and curiosity for the environment, but School on Wheels will broaden the scope and not only focus on coaching pupils and students with test-prep but also introduce basic science, math, theatre and play.  This will give the participating pupils and students increased chances for passing their exams and for continuing their education.

 

We are in the process of renting a suitable van for this program, one that will be large enough to carry our team and all our supplies for workshops. Most importantly, this van will need to reach remote mountain schools, some that may be difficult to access. The members of our team are doing all the necessary legwork to design interesting and engaging workshops for the rural children and young pupils who remain seriously underserved by the system in place.

 

We thank all of our supporters for believing in our ideas and for giving us the opportunity to be of service for the youth of Ait Baamrane. Stay tuned for more information soon to come!

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The Number of schools we will be servicing: We plan to reach 30 schools in the region, spending 4 days in each and servicing an average of 900 rural students.

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There is a need for the Water School in Ait Baamrane. We, at Dar Si Hmad, plan to make the Water School a sustainable project with the rural children of the Ait Baamrane region. Our commitment and belief in the power of education, along with cooperation with our communities and the motivation of the participants, has made the pilot Water School program a success.

Having reflected as a team on our first Water School experience, we have drawn conclusions which we will implement for the next program. Our ultimate goal is to be creative with the concept and be more present in the field with the children at least twice a year instead of just once. More specifically, we aim to implement the Water School during the children’s school breaks, once in the month of April and once again in the month of June.

Our belief in education as a means of growth and prosperity led our team to brainstorm our next Water School plan for 2015. The children have no opportunities and spaces where they can learn by doing, develop their communication skills, meet new people and simply consider school to be a valuable resource for both formal and informal education. We consider the Water School to be a positive and engaging response to the needs of Ait Baamrane’s future generation.

In order to meet and satisfy the up-cited needs, we plan to grow next year in parallel with the children’s intellectual growth. The following are some collective ideas that will help guide us for the next Water School:

  • Increase the amount of field trips because it gets the children out of the school space and into a different sphere. These trips help the students acquire learning that is not restricted to neither a specific space nor a specific time;
  • Conduct more scientific experiments and workshops by professional scientists;
  • Include more art workshops since we all observed and agreed that the children are diversely talented in numerous artistic areas such as theater, painting and gardening. Our goal is to ignite and foster these talents by conducting workshops that can encourage them to explore various forms of self-expression. Thus, students can evolve from being a mere pupil to an agent of change in their community.

We visualize our future Water Schools to offer a combination of science, arts and hands-on activities as a way to inspire the children of Ait Baamrane, ultimately encouraging them to evolve and proposer individually and collectively. We are grateful for all the amazing support from our generous donors, board members and fellow community members in making this pilot Water School a memorable experience.

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Exploring the Microworld for the first time
Exploring the Microworld for the first time

Dar Si Hmad has successfully completed its first edition of its Water School in the region of Ait Baamran, Southwest Morocco. The 7-13 aged rural kids participated in a series of workshops revolving around the topic of water, the environment and technology from June 5 till June 26.

From the 46 children who have assiduously participated in the pilot project, we’d like to tell the story of one child, only one child.  His name is Masinissa, he is 6 years old, and unlike all his peers, Masinissa has a motor-skill problem (notably one atrophied hand and leg) limiting, thus, his physical mobility, but especially impacting negatively on his social life.  Everyone treated Masinissa as an impotent, incapacitated child; because of concerns of him tripping, falling, hurting himself… he was barred from games and sat, sadly, alone and frustrated  in a corner. Even within the regular school-year or when at home, everything was brought to Masinissa and everyone talked about him as though he was unable to comprehend, mistaking his physical impairment for imbecility.  His family insisted he participates, and how happy are we they did!  Despite remontrances of the teacher and his classmates, our team insisted he plays (though we paid attention to him not be roughed up), our team included him in each and every activity, and our team insisted that he speaks up and voices up his experience.  Just like a shy flower blooming little by little, Masinissa ran in a staggered way, held his cup alone even when he was able to bring to the table only half of its liquid, and participated in each and every activity eagerly.  Masinissa revealed himself to be extremely smart, started conversing with us and had insights about water-use that his peers did not have.  Perhaps his marginalized position of an observer gave him an advantage that the others, way involved in fetching water, did not see.  He often suggested that the buckets brought to the well, should not be filled because the water gets wasted. When we had our sea-side trip, Masinissa was bubbling with life and happiness, his frustration having totally been dissipated and is now enjoying being the child he is;  thank you for participating in making this happen.  

Kids reflections on the sources of water
Kids reflections on the sources of water

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Children who will be joining our water-school
Children who will be joining our water-school

This June we are implementing a pilot water-school for 50 children in the community of Ait Baamrane. As the summer approaches, we are reaching some of our main goals when preparing for this pilot water-school. So far, Dar Si Hmad has created a cohesive and detailed plan of activities and curriculum for the three-week program. This plan includes themed days such as forms of water, microscope creatures and discovery, local plants and wildlife, sport and health, hygiene, theater and environment, maintaining a clean and tidy school, technology and finally, a beach trip to see the ocean, which for most will be their very first time.

Additionally, Dar Si Hmad has partnered with the delegate for the Ministry of Education and three local teachers to help guide the children through activities and teach them the curriculum in their native-language of Amazigh (Berber). Ensuring that the curriculum will be taught in Amazigh is a focal point of this project as it allows for the transfer of knowledge to be easily-understood, encouraging the students to ask questions in their native language; our goal being to nurture curiosity of the world in which they live. In addition to the teachers, we will also have a local Moroccan student work as the videographer and later produce a short film about the water-school to be used for future events and fundraising.

This coming month we will be meeting with the delegate for the Ministry of Education, the parents and the children themselves to confirm the curriculum for the water-school. We believe in the participatory approach because the children’s feedback and input is vital to the sustainability of this project.

Our main challenge now is mobilizing funds. So far, we’ve been able to secure funds from additional sources to purchase two microscopes, three books, microscope slides and various games. However, we have many items on the list to acquire before the school begins such as magnifying glasses, disposable cameras, two scales, one telescope and more environmental picture books and puzzles. We are also preparing a file for local companies to sponsor this project in order to help with our expenses.

We ask our friends and partners to please share our water-school campaign with your networks. We thank you all for your continuous support as Dar Si Hmad launches this new and exciting project for the rural youth!

As always, we welcome your comments and questions. Please feel free to e-mail us at dar@darsihmad.org to let us know what you think.

Best regards from Morocco,
The Dar Si Hmad Team

Children with L'Hussain, our water-project manager
Children with L'Hussain, our water-project manager
Fatima and local teachers preparing the curriculum
Fatima and local teachers preparing the curriculum
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Organization Information

Dar Si Hmad

Location: Agadir, Souss-Massa-Draa - Morocco
Website:
Project Leader:
Jamila Bargach
Agadir, Souss-Massa-Draa Morocco

Funded Project!

Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
   

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