On Monday the 9th of August, we went with Amina, Project Manager at High Atlas Foundation, to Oukaimeden, a little village in the mountain Atlas, close to Marrakech, to assist to the meeting with the represents of the different villages nearby and the responsible of the different associations. The aim of these periodic meetings is to talk together about the principal problems that villages are facing, trying to find the best solution for everyone.
The topic of the day was related to the places to choose for planting new trees. The partecipating have identified 4 villages that have more urgencies, but considering the different conditions of the villages, different plants are needed.
The participants of the meeting discussed about the principal problem, which is represented by the soil erosion: it is a huge problem because it reduces the productivity of the lands and contributes to the pollution of rivers, lakes and water in general. One solution to fight against soil erosion is, precisely, planting trees because they help saving water and making the soil more stable. For these villages, the represents decided to plant both carrots and cactus.
Another solution is to build some terracing, with the help of cooperatives and benefactors. The terracing put near rivers can avoid water to overflow. In this way farmers can use their resources in the most efficient way possible. By working on the soil productivity, farmers can plan to increase the level of agriculture activities and ensure a better level of life quality for the whole village. Together with terracing, also basins can help regulating the water flow and reaching results in agriculture.
A second important project discussed during the meeting regards the recycle of waste water, that will be collected all together in order to save it and use it in a proper way.
What has been discussed regards also the future of the villages and of the whole area: the associations and the represents of the villages want to start planting trees and plants that can help not only with the soil erosion and with water saving, but that can also help the region to grow and produce more. In order to do so, it is fundamental to understand which types of trees are more suitable to the need of the people and of the soil and how High Atlas Foundation can help the communities to reach this goal.
Considering this, during the meeting they have identified two areas: one in which the focus will be to plant trees for agriculture and a second one in which the focus will be to solve the problems related to soil erosion and water saving.
One of the most amazing thing of this meeting is that we had the opportunity to see how the different responsible and represents are working together to improve the conditions of the villages, even though they have different point of views. We understood how the foundation is helping these villages to grow in a sustainable way, having a real impact on the local reality and enhancing the living conditions. The action of cooperatives is fundamental for the agricultural development in these areas: they give local people the opportunity to collaborate and do something good and useful for themselves and their villages.