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    The Decentralization of Renewable Energies: Youssoufia, a City with Potential

    By Zainab Hachoumi
    HAF Volunteer

    A meeting of the MSP steering committee members with the citizens of Youssoufia, March 2021.

    Youssoufia is one of the rapidly growing provinces in the region of Marrakech-Safi. It is known for its phosphate production, crafts, and traditional textiles. The area where it is located allows it to have a promising potential for future socio-ecological growth.

    It is within this framework that HAF together with GermanWatch and the steering committee of the Multi-Stakeholder Partnership (MSP) has chosen Youssoufia as a potential site for their upcoming project.

    The selection criteria of the site have taken into account two major factors. The first consideration is the overflowing underground water of the area. Second, there is constant sunlight radiation throughout the year. Mrs. Touria Berradi, a member of the steering committee, has highlighted that the present two factors are what we require to meet the needs of the local community and the vision of the High Atlas Foundation.

    HAF’s and the MSP steering committee’s visit to the site on March 27, 2021, as part of the general assembly of the Moroccan Platform of the Decentralization of Renewable Energies (PMDER) program, was an opportunity to set the building blocks and give shape to the project. It was also a chance to evaluate and diagnose the area up close, gather necessary data, and build a base upon which the foundation can rely to better capitalize on the available resources it possesses. The visit also provided an opportunity to socialize with the local community and the concerned parties to get to know their needs and wants and how the project will benefit the totality of the Jnane Bouih commune.

    The project depends largely on the harmony, understanding, and mutual cooperation between all the members of the community, as was highlighted several times. The solutions to the problems of Jnane Bouih’s community do not come from without but rather from within. Adopting a bottom-up approach to mitigate the obstacles that handicap the development of the community is paramount for the HAF as this constitutes a key element in the decentralization of renewable resources.

    As a start, the stakeholders agreed that the first aspect to prioritize is facilitating easy access to clean water by digging wells depending on the community’s needs. Having access to water will not only eradicate the problem of drought during summer but also supply the population with the needed water for ranching and planting fruit trees. To make this aspect even easier and more achievable, solar panels will be implemented to make the pumping of water for irrigation effortless and, most importantly, eco-friendly.

    It is important to note that the scope of problem-solving goes beyond the obvious. Putting an end to the community’s problems in relation to water will lead to overcoming other obstacles, namely joblessness, rural migration, and illiteracy. The project will have a positive impact on the people of Jnane Bouih commune as it will provide them with the necessary tools they need to exploit their competencies and evolve socially and economically.

    Mrs. Touria Berradi talking with the women of Youssoufia about renewable energies, March 2021.

    Given HAF’s commitment and dedication to women’s empowerment and for the decision-making vis-a-vis the project to be gender inclusive, the steering committee insisted on connecting with the women of the community to get to know their needs and problems on a deeper level beyond any excessive small talk. The women’s point of view has proven to be more or less similar to that of the men. However, according to the young girls and the women of the community, little attention is given to them. They often feel excluded and do not receive the recognition that they deserve. The present members made sure to take into account this aspect within the project’s framework.

    In brief, using the full potential of the region will not only benefit the local community to meet their needs and have a promising future but will also help the High Atlas Foundation and the Moroccan Platform of the Decentralization of Renewable Energies to reach their vision of the decentralization of renewable energies, which constitutes an important key element in the socio-ecological growth of Jnane Bouih commune in particular and Morocco’s rural communities in general.

    To contribute to making these goals a reality as well as to support HAF in its goal to bring renewable energy to communities across Morocco, please consider visiting our website or our Global Giving Page.

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