ADVANCING WOMEN’S EMPOWERMENT AND ENVIRONMENT CONSERVATION IN TASSA OUIRGANE
By Elouahsoussi Rachid
On the 9th of April, the High Atlas Foundation team visited the Village of Tassa Ouirgane (in the Al Haouz province) in order to conduct environmental activities with women and children. Girls and women, who are planning their own cooperative for medicinal plants and local natural products, are highly motivated for their project. The village residents warmly welcomed the HAF team and prepared a delicious breakfast made from local products. The participants that day, in addition to 41 women and girls, included 25 boys as well as men, and their civil association representatives.
The first activity during the fruitful visit to Tassa Ouirgane was an interactive session led by Amina El Hajjami, the HAF Director of Projects. The session was about the importance of preserving the environment. Amina started by attempting to define the term “environment” interactively with the ideas of mainly school children. Amina highlighted the components of the environment (trees, water, air, soil, etc) and the dangers that threaten their sustainability. School children suggested a list of irresponsible acts and threats that endanger the environment specifically in their area. These include: cutting trees, soil degradation, urbanisation, and others.
Amina highlighted certain actions that are in favour of preserving the environment and helping to guarantee its sustainability. The school children suggested a number of them, including: collecting waste and recycling, respecting the environmental regulations, and organising educational campaigns. Finally, Amina did an overall evaluation of the session with the groups. Women and schoolchildren each talked about the importance of what they learned and its relationship to their daily lives.
The practical action of the environmental session involved the entire community collecting trash and waste in the village. The objective of this activity is to sensitize the people about the danger of waste to the environment. Trash and waste were collected in various places including the centre of the village, the farms and school, and next to the river. Four mobile containers for waste were provided by the High Atlas Foundation (funded by the United Nations Development Program) as part of the environmental partnership with the Association of Tassa Ouirgane. Youth and adults were happy and motivated throughout the process of the collection.
Finally, Amina El Hajjami, facilitated a session about composting and waste management. Amina demonstrated how to make natural fertilizers out of bio-degradable waste. Waste management via composting involves the use of foliage, tree parts, grass, and animals’ waste. The day’s activities were of great added value for all participants in terms of environmental education and the collective action in favour of achieving sustainable human development.
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