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Integrating Advocacy and Women’s Empowerment: Imagine Workshop in Sefrou

 Imagine Empowerment Workshop participants in Sefrou on June 1, 2021.

By: Zineb Mellouki, Clinician, USMBA Legal Aid Clinic

Over a period of four days, from June 1-4, 2021, the High Atlas Foundation (HAF) in partnership with the Legal Aid Clinic (CFJD), housed in the Faculty of Social, Legal, and Economic Sciences at University Sidi Mohamed Ben Adbellah in Fes, organized a local event in the city of Sefrou.

The objective of this activity was to both educate and raise awareness among its 20 participants of the importance of personal development for the growth and improvement of one’s life.

The activity, the Imagine Empowerment Workshop, was specifically dedicated to female community members. The participants represented a diverse group of different ages, educational backgrounds, and lived experiences. We gathered in a traditional guest house, Dar El Karaz, and were led by Amina Hajjami, one of HAF’s Empowerment Trainers, who introduced us to the concepts of emotional growth, everyday therapeutic practices, and the importance of self-awareness.

Over the course of the program, we participated in numerous sessions on several subjects, diverse in their conception but mutual in their finality.

An Imagine Empowerment Workshop participant shares her perspective on one of the elements of personal growth.

Discussions during the workshop focused on topics such as growth, feelings, fears, doubts, and dreams – all assets to one’s development as an individual if taken seriously and handled with caution.

The sessions did not consist of a simple transfer of knowledge with passive listening but an interactive discussion, colored by the participant‘s sharing of their own experiences, struggles, fears, moments of pride, and achievements. In such a manner, every discussion was exceptionally nourishing to all of us present, participants and organizers.

In addition to the topics of self-development and empowerment, a session focused on the protection of the natural heritage and environment. The participants were guided through a global perspective of climate change, which indeed impacts everyone individually, as well as a more local perspective.

The participants discussed the importance of nature preservation, especially in relation to the particularities of their city, Sefrou. We talked about the environmental obstacles the city faces, such as pollution, lack of afforestation, and lack of awareness among the population. The discussion led us to form a global idea of the situation so as to propose solutions and furthermore advocate proposals for action to the local authorities.

Such advocacy goes hand-in-hand with the objectives of the Legal Aid Clinic in Fes. The CJFD staff and clinicians who participated in the workshop alongside the other women shared the goals of the clinic, which include raising awareness, promoting leadership, and supporting others in becoming agents of self-growth. The CJFD staff will continue to work with community members in Sefrou to support them in their advocacy efforts.

One participant shared what she took away from the workshop:

“The experience has taught me to wake up from within and that nothing will stop me. Whatever the circumstances and problems are, hope and positive thinking will empower me to help others, eliminate the complications that hinder the achievement of my goals, and connect me with others so I will live my life as I want.”

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