Health  Morocco Project #6694

Community Health for 4 Moroccan Villages

by Erickson Creative Group
The final stages of the refuse oven.
The final stages of the refuse oven.

For the past four weeks, Atlas Cultural Foundation and local association Amezray SMNID implemented the first stages of a long term community garbage program. In partnership with Montana State University we built a refuse oven, spent six days in the tutoring program doing garbage education with elementary school students and more.

The efforts are the first stage of a future zero waste program. We also interviewed community memeber, shop owners, mountain guides, guesthouse owners and women heads of household on their beliefs and challenges with garbage. This information will be developed into the long term plan of the refuse program.

Zawiya Ahansal has a unique opportunity to skip over the usual refuse problems rural developing regions have. We hope to go straight to beliefs of recycling and reuse.

Here are a few pictures of our efforts.

Our hands don
Our hands don't throw garbage!


Women and children will be targeted in the program
Women and children will be targeted in the program

The 2013 Community Health Awareness Days will focus on the two core villages of Zawiya Ahansal, Aguddim and Amezray. The program will be spread over a time frame of two weeks and incorporate a variety of activities including: roundtable discussions (community leaders and government officials, elementary school students, female and male heads of households); presentations at the elementary school and tutoring program; community educational workshops (garbage storage, composting, garbage disposal, connected health issues); fieldtrips to water sources, current garbage collection areas and specific areas of impending concern; and garbage clean up days.

The following goals have been set for the 2013 Community Health Awareness Days.

  • Compile the community’s concerns and beliefs about garbage and refuse.
  • Gain an understanding of current garbage disposal methods and locations.
  • Educate the community on garbage’s affect on individual, family and community health. Long-term and short-term. 
  • Discuss impact of untreated garbage on soil and water sources
  • Discuss impact of untreated garbage on domestic animals
  • Importance of clean homes and villages to detract flies
  • Importance of clean homes and villages as source of pride
  • Impact of tourism on garbage accumulation
  • Discuss relevance to the connection with climate change and current global strategies to slow current trends
  • How to separate garbage
  • How to reuse and recycle
  • How to compost
  • Provide an opportunity for all stakeholders to brainstorm and discuss their viewpoints.
  • Clean up the villages.
  • Create a list of potential options for attacking the garbage issues.
  • Prioritize locations and situations for improvement.
2012 Health Awareness Day
2012 Health Awareness Day

The first annual Health Awareness Days were held in the four villages of Amezray, Aguddim, Taghia and Tighanimin in May and early June 2012 in partnership with the Atlas Cultural Foundation and the Iqra Fund. The gatherings were a huge success and were received with great enthusiasm by the women, as well as leaders of these villages. In the setting of small, participatory discussions, the women expressed their challenges, concerns and accomplishments in many areas including health, nutrition, access to water, childbirth, sanitation and education. The information was gathered with the help of local students then compiled by Dr. Genevieve Chabot, Iqra Fund founder and MSU Faculty, and her team.

Using the information collected at these awareness days, we are excited to continue to develop our community health program for 2013. Some of the top items that were highlighted by the women that we will focus on include:

1). Topics on Community Health
2). Topics on General Health
3). Topics on Infant Health
4). Topics on Midwifery

The importance of clean water, sanitation, hygiene and nutrition cannot be underestimated in the overall picture of health, and that is where we are focusing our energies for the Community Health Program 2013. Expanding on the processes in place, our goal is to provide education and resources that achieve long-term health for these four remote communities of Morocco.
Specifically, the goals of the Community Health Program are to:
1. Increase utilization of the Zawiya Ahansal clinic and Azilal hospital by local villagers.
2. Provide education on safe water, sanitation and hygiene.
3. Provide education on improving nutrition, especially for women and children, and proper food storage strategies.
4. Provide general health education for the community.
5. Identify key community health promoters and facilitate leadership to ensure program sustainability.


Amezray women gather for their first health day.
Amezray women gather for their first health day.

The Community Health program launched with a series of four Health Awareness Days. The awareness days were attended by over 50 women and their children from each of the four villages of Amezray, Aguddim, Taghia, and Tighanimin. Included in the women were the region's traditional birth attendants (midwives), that will be learning more and more advanced skills through our continued workshops. They shared their concerns and ideas regarding their families' health as well as learned basic sanitation and hygiene practices for their homes and daily life. Atlas Cultural Foundation board member Leigh Taggert and Iqra Fund founder Genevieve Chabot led the days and taught general hygiene and sanitation practices. The day also included small group discussions in which the women had the opportunity to share their needs and desires for future awareness days. The small groups were led by a group of sixth grade girls from the Elementary School Tutoring Program. A big thank you to our local Moroccan partner Association Amezray SMNID for organizing these events.


ACF staff leads the day in Aguddim.
ACF staff leads the day in Aguddim.
Taghia women learn about hygiene.
Taghia women learn about hygiene.

American University Students and SMNID partners will learn more about Zawiya Ahansal’s traditional household practices related to food, water, nutrition, and mother-infant health.  This information will be collected to help inform partnering organizations and local associations as they develop future Community Health Workshops to present to the Moroccan government.  The Awareness Day will also help increase communication between women-heads-of-household, local community leaders, SMNID partners, and other people invested in increasing the quality of community health through basic education in Zawiya Ahansal. 

Topics addressed during Awareness Day

A series of four health awareness days are scheduled for the last week of May 2012.

The Awareness Days will involve storytelling and discussion with American university students so local women and community members can share their traditional practices relating to the following:  

  1. Traditional practices of cooking, food storage, and water collection
  2. Locations of water supplies for the village cooking, drinking, and cleaning
  3. Locations of human waste:  sewage and garbage
  4. Livestock housing, grazing, and handling of waste
  5. Nutrition and general care for pregnant women
  6. Nutrition and general care for infants, toddlers, and children

One specific topic that may be addressed is how poor sanitation practices leads to health problems like diarrhea.  Basic precautions like hand-washing and cooking with clean water will be discussed.  Topics related to prevention of illness like diarrhea will focus on hand-washing and water sanitation.     

This Awareness Day will NOT address: medical solutions to illness; changes to community practice of food, livestock, childbirth or childcare; or any other formal medical topics.  


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Organization Information

Erickson Creative Group

Location: Livingston, MT - USA
Website: http:/​/​
Erickson Creative Group
Project Leader:
Cloe Medina Erickson
Project Developer/Manager
Livingston, MT United States

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