If I had a chance to meet government leaders, I would say that Boujdour “the city of Challenge” is calling for help.
From my experience of these few months in this place I see that Boujdour region has two important capitals: Human resources and natural resources, but both of them require good management to thrive.
I would like to say to government leaders that Boujdour province needs support to increase its level of human development. Although Morocco has spent a great deal of money, human resources and energy, no satisfactory and sustainable local development results have been achieved. The people are still poor at all levels of life: social, educational, economical and environmental. The local population needs to be completely integrated in their local development projects. They need the agencies of development responsible for development of the Southern areas of Morocco to talk with them, to listen to their suggestions, ideas, to make them participate in taking decisions, planning and designing and managing their development projects. It is not time to continue feeding these people but it is time to make them able to feed themselves. And this can be achieved through the real application of the participatory approach. To sum up, the agencies of development responsible of this area need to build trust bridges again with the local population.
The High Atlas Foundation can offer help at this level through series of community participatory planning meetings. Its team can provide the agencies of development for the Southern provinces with all the data gathering once they have an authorization to work in Boujdour region. The HAF team is ready to make many series of community meetings with different group of the local population: youth, women, men, children, social and administrative agents to involve all community stakeholders in identifying, designing, planning, managing, monitoring and evaluating their local development projects. This can lead to skill and capacity building of the local population.
The region lacks agricultural projects. Some youth have begun agricultural projectsthat take into account the unique climate of the region, however they have no support for their proposals or further development. HAF has years of expertise identifying community dreams and priorities and converting them into reality. HAF listens to these ideas for local agricultural development projects of the region and can assist in providing the data to the agencies responsible for encouraging the development in this region.
Boujdour province lacks green spaces. Most of the trees planted already are damaged because of the tree species planted were not suitable for the climate of the region. The HAF can help identify the tree species that can adapt to the local climate. This again would be through the participatory dialogues with the local population, who best know the region and its needs. Why not entrust the people who live, raise their families and wish for better futures in Boujdour to take charge of their development?
If I had a chance, I would like to say to the all of those responsible offices and leaders, please have a wide open heart and listen to the youth, to children, to women and men. Listen to the population of Boujdour, listen to your Morocco’s dreams because the sustainable development you are seeking for is there, in these local people’ ideas, dreams and suggestions.