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Enhancing the Socioeconomic and Environmental Situation in Douar Lkdirat’s Women

By Hajiba Boumasir, HAF Program Coordinator, and Sanae Benaadim, Program Manager, Office Manager & Volunteer Coordinator

2 October 2021—Step by step, Douar Lakdirat in the Jnane Bouih commune of Youssoufia will be one of the Moroccan villages to benefit from High Atlas Foundation (HAF) services and open for the new world, enhancing the socioeconomic and environmental situation.

In June, members of the HAF team with leader of women’s empowerment training, Fatima Zahra Laaribi; Zineb Laadam; Sanae Benaadim; and Hajiba Boumassir facilitated an Imagine workshop with 23 village women. Four days with these women revealed a powerful and capable group of women who are making positive changes in their Douar.

Women in Douar Lakdirat [Photo: Sanae Benaadim]

Amina El Hajjami, another expert trainer from HAF, continued meeting with the women for another workshop with the objective of discovering what they would like most to do and to see if they are willing to create a cooperative. in this case, they want their children to have the opportunity and good fortune to live in better conditions than they do.

The question remains: how? To respond to this question, participants focus on their real needs and gain clarity that Douar Lakdirat has as human and natural resources that can be used to resolve their challenges.

Three hours of thinking and discussion showed the team that the women’s first priority is the primary school and the second is the fruit tree nursery, as well as twelve other identified priorities: a water well for drinking and farming, literacy, school infrastructure and transportation, a mosque for women, a communal hammam and oven, and electricity. The team explained the necessary steps for creating a cooperative, and it will be necessary to follow up with training from the Cooperation Development Office (ODCO). They definitely know what they want, so the next step will come soon when an ODCO member helps them to create their first local cooperative with the added help of seeing one in Youssoufia.

Preparing for a well [photo: Karam-Yane Azzabi]

Members of the HAF team—Karam-Yane Azzabi and Sanae Benaadim as well as two technicians—visited the village in early September for a field study to detect a potential point where a well could be dug for the project. The pilot project consisted of building a water tower, a nursery that will be managed by a local women’s cooperative, a traditional public bath, and a reservoir where cattle can access water.

All HAF activities are conducted using the participatory approach as it is the key to knowing exactly what a community wants. In Douar Lakdirat, the community meeting demonstrated to the local residents the importance of participation to ensure meeting the goal of adequate water quantity and quality.

After two hours of water prospection, the technicians detected a potential point to dig the well: a place with sweet-tasting water, 31 meters in thickness and 172-203 meters in depth, with an 82 percent density. Upon return to Marrakech, the HAF team was delighted at the progress. Drilling for the week took place the following week.

Water Testing [Photo: Mustapha Tarhbaloute]

Abdelghni Kastih and Mustapha Tarhbaloute also joined the HAF team on that visit, testing the depth and quality of the water. They informed us that the pumping test the technician performed showed that the water for the project is currently insufficient, as it gives only 5,000 liters in forty minutes. We will have to bring in another company to dig another well and do the pump testing; if there is no water from that, then we will only pay the workers. HAF staff members are working on securing someone to do this.

Regardless of this setback, it is not about what we have or what we are missing, but about how we can manage and use what we have even if it is small, still knowing that we can use whatever resources we have to achieve our goals. The biggest dream will come with the smallest steps.

Participatory meeting, Douar Lakdirat [Photo: Sanae Benaadim]

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