Project #6694

Community Health for 4 Moroccan Villages

by Erickson Creative Group

Through a parternship with Montana State University, graduate and undergraduate health and human development student wiThe Morocco: Sustainable Community Development is an International Service Learning program and field research practicum that provides students with the opportunity to participate in ongoing participatory research and field data collection, project planning, implementation, and management in the rural communities of the Zawiya Ahansal region in the Central High Atlas Mountains of Morocco.  This service learning program offers a five-week immersive experience for students to work directly with a faculty sponsor, the partnering organizations as well as key community stakeholders.

In May of 2012 a select group of graduate and undergraduate health and human development students from Montana State University will help with ongoing monitoring and evaluation of the program led by the partnering non-profit organizations, the Atlas Cultural Foundation and the Iqra Fund, as well as in-country associations.  Currently there are no specific data on infant or maternal mortality rates in these remote communities of Zawiya Ahansal.  Students will work directly with a faculty sponsor and partnering organizations to collect quantitative and qualitative data to help identify mortality rates, daily sanitation and nutrition home practices, and overall quality of community health.  The data collected during the 2012 field research will directly inform the ongoing monitoring and evaluation of the community health and education programs developed and funded by the partnering organizations.       

Students will collect data in one or more of the following areas:

Qualitative Data Collection:

  • Community observations:  Students will have the opportunity to observe daily practices in the community.  These observations may be passive or participatory depending on the program’s need. 
  • Community interviews:  Students will conduct informal interviews with strategic community members to identify community health practices and to describe the overall quality of health in households from the mothers, fathers, and children’s perspectives. 
  • Community mapping:  Students will participate in a community mapping project led by local school children to identify significant community locations that impact overall community health.  These include local water supplies, livestock boarding and grazing, and areas of open defecation and open sewage.
  • Traditional practices:  Students will collect stories from traditional midwives and local women regarding traditional birth and infant care practices.  These stories will be collected to help inform partnering organizations and local associations as they develop community health and midwife training programs. 

Quantitative Data Collection:

  • Infant and maternal mortality rates:  Students will help identify current infant and maternal mortality rates through document analysis (reports provided by local or regional clinics or the Ministry of Health) and through formal inquiry of community leaders. 
  • School attendance and drop-out rates:  Students will help identify how many students are attending school versus how many students drop-out or do not ever attend school through analysis of local Ministry of Education reports.  Education, especially for girls, is an indicator of community health.    
  • Adult literacy:  Students will help identify current adult literacy rates through document analysis (reports provided by local associations) and formal inquiries from community leaders.  Female literacy rates are direct indicators of mortality rates and overall community health.  


For the next month we will be meeting with all 12 of the traditional birth attendants in villages and homes.  The goal of the next four weeks is to document a variety of birth stories from the region.  These stories will help us plan the future trainings around current traditions in the region.  We also plan to learn more about time keeping methods that are used by the local women.  They are not familar with our traditional calendar or clocks but rather work according to the seasons.

It is important to take the time to learn about these things before beginning the medical trainings in order to present the materials in a culturally respected and appropriate manner.

View our work through the eyes of an Atlas Cultural Foundation board member.  Susi Dokken vividly explains her passion, the plight of the women in Zawiya Ahansal and the mission of ACF in this multimedia presentation.


Genevieve Chabot of the Global Midwife Education Foundation spent four weeks with me in Morocco this spring kicking off the program.  After many lengthy meetings with officials from the Ministry of Culture, local village leaders, and the women who will be trained, the program has been expanded from a one-year to a five-year program.  The goals of this expansion are to incorporate the Moroccan Ministry of Health and their medical professionals in the trainings to foster a relationship with the local women and to include a transfer of skills component to the program that will follow each woman back to their home villages and help them apply their new skills in a hands on manner. The five year Midwife Training Program is training 12 women selected by the local associations with the agreement of their families.

Chabot will return to Morocco in October to initiate the first of the trainings which will include blood pressure training and time keeping training among other basic skills that will be needed in the more medical trainings.

In these five years, we hope to be able to demonstrate a low-cost program that the Ministry of Health will be interested in implementing in other remote, road less, and nomadic regions of Morocco.

The training will focus on:

  1. Sanitation and Hygiene
  2. Nutrition
  3. Childbirth
  4. Care of Newborn Babies
  5. Identification and treatment of basic medical problems, especially infections

 The main goals of the five year GMEF-ACF Midwife Training Program are to:

  1. Reduce maternal and infant (0-12 months of age) mortality by 50%.
  2. Increase utilization of the Zawiya Ahansal clinic and Azilal hospital for births and medical care by 100%.
  3. Decrease infectious diarrhea through increased toilet use and water sanitation.
  4. Provide education and supplies for hygienic home births if transportation to the local clinic or Azilal hospital is not possible.
  5. Improve nutrition for pregnant women and children.
  6. Educate women regarding newborn care and identifying sick newborns who need medical treatment.


Helping with health and nutrition of the youth.
Helping with health and nutrition of the youth.

Dr. Genevieve Reid and her nonprofit organization, the Global Midwife Education Foundation (GMEF), was profiled in the March 2011 issue of Balance Magazine.  GMEF is the health and training specialist organization for the project Train 12 Midwives to serve 4 Moroccan villages.

Currently, we are working on finalizing all of the required paperwork with the Moroccan Ministry of Health and the local association Amezray SMNID to begin the training in 2011.  Dr. Reid or a representative from GMEF will travel to Morocco in May, 2011 to begin the initial field work for the five-year training in the villages of Amezray, Aguddim, Taghia and Tighanimin.  There is an extremely high illiteracy rate in these villages, reaching over 90%.  All 12 of the women that will be in the training are illiterate so we are creating a unique curriculum and pre-training efforts to help overcome this obstacle.

"My daughter Saadiya is not very literate. She did not finish her schooling. This program will give her an opportunity to work and to help the women and children of our village at the same time." 
Said Masaouidi, Village leader, father of midwifery student

This trip will include some or all of the following activities: visit to the Moroccan Ministry of Health in Rabat, Morocco for final approval and paperwork for the program; train local women on time-keeping (a skill that will be required by all of the women for their specific health trainings over the next five years; begin health and nutrition training.



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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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