My first solo participatory meeting in Tororde, Azzaden Valley
Another big day today: my first solo participatory meeting! I met up with Farid and Hamid in the building of their organisations, which doubles as classroom and day-care for the smallest children due to lack of sufficient classrooms. At first I feared it was only going to be the three of us, but I clearly overlooked Moroccan planning: meeting up at 5pm actually means all participants will arrive around 6pm. And so they did, about 15 of them. Half of the group were young people, aged 16 – 30, while the other half were in the 35 – 50 category. All of them were male, owing to the fact that organising meetings for women if the organiser and facilitators are male isn’t done in Moroccan culture. I was willing to continue on as a start, to build on relationships I had and expand to all going forward including through women’s facilitation. After some tea, sweets and small-talk, we kicked of the meeting.
First, I gave some more information on the High Atlas Foundation, the way we try to help a community identify their problems and link them with donors, our other operational projects and the outline of the project to come in Tassa Ouirgane. Afterwards it was time to hear from the participants themselves. We split up into three groups, with each group mapping out their community as it is in one colour and adding the problems and difficulties in another. Afterwards all of the groups presented their results to me and the others in Darija/tashelhit, with me getting the translation from Farid. It turned out that all three groups identified mostly the same problems, albeit in different order of urgency.
After hearing all groups present their community, its challenges and possibilities, we started the pairwise ranking exercise. The problems that had appeared were as follows: The mosque needed renovations and maintenance, most notably the toilets and electrical infrastructure. The bridge connecting the two halves of the Douar was, as mentioned before, also in need of restoration. With regards to the roads, different aspects were mentioned: the smaller roads within the douar needed to be redone in cement in order to facilitate life during heavy rainfall, while the larger roads connecting the douars needed to be restored, modernised and redirected in order to better include the village of Tororde. A next big item of concern was the need for a new well and basin for drinkable and agricultural water. Furthermore, all groups mentioned the town’s soccer field needed to be levelled out and restored in order to make it safer and more playable. Lastly, one group mentioned there was a need for more infrastructure for the local schoolchildren.