The High Atlas Foundation (HAF) concluded an extraordinary training in the Rural Commune of Toubkal (Taroudant Province) that truly epitomizes bottom-up development – and that we believe creates a vitally important model for Morocco.
Communes (the most local administrative level in Morocco) are required by their national charter to create Community Development Plans for their jurisdictions, and in doing so, they must involve local people in the process of determining projects that will meet their primary needs. It is a progressive Charter, but very hard to implement effectively without facilitators who have been specifically trained in participatory development planning. This is where HAF steps in.
With the financial support of the National Endowment for Democracy, HAF recently trained 65 local people from 43 villages of the Toubkal Commune in methods for facilitating planning activities that assist local people in analyzing their development challenges and opportunities and creating action plans that reflect their ideas for sustainable change. The planning meetings (which included men, women, the elderly and young) took place in each village, and were facilitated by the people themselves!
Activities including social-, resource- and dream-mapping and pair-wise ranking helped draw out the highest priority need of both gender groups for a clinic that will serve their Commune’s population of 10,000 people. The “learning by doing” training highlighted the local need for clean drinking water and agricultural irrigation ponds to ensure crop survival during the dry summer months. Building the irrigation infrastructure, combined with fruit tree agriculture, will address the severe problems caused by seasonal flooding and erosion.
The voices of the people of the Toubkal Commune were heard and embodied in their Commune’s development plan, which is submitted to the ministries of Interior and Finance. This report (in French) is from the most recent community meetings that took place during February 2012. Now the work begins, or continues, by building partnerships to achieve the projects of the people.
You can help support Moroccan university students and communal council members to receive experiential training so that they can facilitate similar community planning meetings, and help create the foundation for sustainable development. Partner with HAF to bring bottom-up development to scale in Morocco.