Dar Si Hmad for Development, Education and Culture is an independent nonprofit organization founded in 2010 promoting local culture and sustainable initiatives through education and the integration of scientific ingenuity in Southwest Morocco. We operate North Africa's largest fog harvesting project, providing villages with access to potable water. Our Water School and Girls' E-Learning Programs build capacity in the Anti-Atlas Mountains. Through our Ethnographic Field School, researchers and students engage with local communities in Agadir, Sidi Ifni, and the rural Aït Baamrane region for meaningful cross-cultural exchange.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

EYA Mahdi Lafram reflects for World Water Day

In recognition of last Wednesday's worldwide celebration, Environmental Youth Ambassador and Project Manager Mahdi Lafram recently shared his experiences with water, fog, and environmental action in Aït Baamrane. From all of us at Dar Si Hmad, Happy World Water Day!

Since childhood, I have always felt a special connection to water. My family owns a small farm in a remote village in Southwest Morocco and has always been concerned with water issues -- and so have I. The problem is real and has a deep impact on our daily life. Water issues are endangering my family’s - and my village’s - traditional ways of life. Agricultural production is threatened by the soil degradation, erosion, crop damage, and reduced harvests that result from extreme weather events such as drought, heat waves, and floods.

Inspired by their innovative fog water collection project, I got involved with local NGO Dar Si Hmad (DSH) which runs the world’s largest operational fog-harvesting project -- fog harvesting is an innovative technology based on the fact that water can be collected from fog under favorable climatic conditions. Last fall, I was so excited to join the organization to help prepare for the United Nations Climate Change conference (COP22). I was offered a unique opportunity to work directly with Executive Director Dr. Jamila Bargach and DSH stellar team to make sure that the organization looks its best at the international meeting in Marrakech, Morocco.

As my first real professional experience (while being enrolled in a full-time Grande École Master’s program), the organization set high expectations for my position and I had the opportunity to make a strong impact from day #1, which allowed me to learn so many things in a short amount of time. In fewer words, I've been drinking from a firehose.

Among the contributions that I am proud of are announcing our win of UNFCCC Momentum for Change award on the organization's blog/social media, presenting our projects to hundreds of visitors and journalists at COP22, and publishing various external communications materials (including the organization's 2016 Annual Report). It was both a culturally-immersive and intellectually-challenging experience since I had to do my job in three different languages with people from all around the world.

Happy International Water Day!

P.S.: Next July, I will be giving a talk about my experience (and especially my contribution to an environmental education and advocacy program in Morocco) at the American Middle Eastern Network for Dialogue at Stanford (AMENDS) conference that will take place at the University of Oxford.