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Empowering Communities for Sustainable Development: Insights from the Fifth Regional Forum in Bir Gandus

byBernhard Fritz
onFebruary 2, 2024

In the heart of Bir Gandus commune, the Fifth Regional Forum unfolded on 23 October 2023 drawing together a diverse assembly of over 71 individuals, including decision-makers, representatives from the U.S. Embassy’s Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI), and local stakeholders. The theme, "The responsibilities of the local CSOs in promoting sustainable development: challenges and implementing effective solutions," resonated throughout the discussions, addressing economic, social, and cultural issues facing the southern region.

Diverse Representation:

The forum witnessed a convergence of voices, with 19 men and 52 women in attendance. Among them were 13 women’s cooperatives, 5 associations, and 11 government officers representing the Education, Agriculture, and Fishing sectors. Local authorities and elected representatives also enriched the dialogue, creating a holistic platform for collaboration and problem-solving.

CSOs’ Crucial Role:

Throughout the forum, participants delved into the multifaceted challenges faced by the South and emphasized the pivotal role of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in navigating sustainable development. The collaborative efforts of CSOs, government officers, and the community were highlighted as essential to identifying and implementing effective solutions.


Empowering Women for Economic Growth:

The Women's Alliance for Preparing the Moroccan Couscous underscored the transformative power of women in promoting sustainable development. Women's cooperatives, they argued, not only generate employment opportunities but also serve as a vital income source for families. However, they mentioned that these cooperatives require increased support in terms of assistance and financial resources to realize their potential.

Healthcare and Cultural Preservation:

Addressing the healthcare landscape, participants shed light on the urgent need for improved health services, especially with marginalized communities. The plea for accessible healthcare resonated strongly, underlining its critical role in the well-being of vulnerable populations.

Moreover, there is a shared commitment to preserving the Hassani Culture. Participants emphasized the importance of safeguarding cultural heritage by showcasing traditional tents and imparting knowledge to the younger generation. This cultural preservation initiative was seen as not just a tribute to the past but a foundation for the identity and resilience of future generations.

The Fifth Regional Forum in Bir Gandus was a testament to the power of collaborative discourse in addressing the intricate challenges faced by communities in the south. As the dialogue unfolded, it became clear that sustainable development is a collective endeavor, requiring the active participation of CSOs, government entities, and the community at large. Through these shared insights and commitments, the forum set a promising precedent for future collaborations and initiatives aimed at fostering a more sustainable and resilient southern region.