Environmental education in Morocco’s oases

Our friend and collaborator Lahcen Kabiri, president of AOFEP (Association Oasis Ferkla for the Environment and Patrimony) initiated a Project which is founded on fomenting awareness of environment issues through education, and for the sustainable development in the oases of Errachidia, in the south east of Morocco.

Let’s not forget that AOFEP has worked for the last ten years on the sustainable development of the oases. This association has an accredited status has been accorded an accredited status by the Convention of the United Nations for the Fight against Desertification.

AOFEP is primarily dedicated to the conservation of the oasis of Ferkla, and carries out a highly valuable work as regards the back up to local associations, the implantation of environmental political policies and the whole process which defines sustainable development.

The relevance of the work of the various local partners (associations, farmers, schools, development agencies, workwomen and Young people) is outstanding, which as it is a key element that promotes the interchange of experiences and work in collaboration.

The project: context and description

Morocco’s oases are under threat by various factors: Demographic (emigration or rural exodus); Economic (minimum earrings from agriculture with Little return to thin vestment in the land); Social (poverty, migration, the loss of local wisdoms and traditions, the division of territories and the rights of succession/inheritance), and finally Environmental (the diminishing of the phreatic layer, waste of water, droughts, climatic change, illnesses such as ‘bayoud’, loss of fertile soil and biodiversity, and the advance of desert). However above all it is the over-exploitation of fragile ecosystems with the associated waste of resources and the diminishing perceived value of this that is to blame above all.

Since 2013 the AOFEP has been a pillar of RADOO (Associated Network for the Sustainable Development of the Oases) and together they have cooperated on the program of actions in the oasis (Paco 3) in favor of the sustainable development of the oases in the south east of Morocco.

In this program it was agreed to prioritize the role of education about the conservation of the oases environment and sustainable development, to be directed at children and students in the different schools in the area. AOFEP will establish an agreement in cooperation with the delegation of MEN and with the Spanish associations ACAM and APIP, in collaboration with AECID and ACC, with whom they already worked in projects from 2008 to 2012 for local development and back up to local agencies.

Raising and awareness

Workshops and round tables about natural resources were designed in order to raise awareness and environment education in the heart of local associations, all from a fully-participative viewpoint.

This program of environmental education has enabled Young students from Injad (Ferkla) and the surrounding areas to increase their knowledge about the environmental problems of where they live. These activities were very well received by students, parents and teachers alike and they were the starting point for an environment education Project that was initiated this year. In addition to the Princess Lalla Hasna highlighted concerns about all these issues in the 7th Congress of Environment Education (WEEC) which took place in Morocco in 2013.

Thus the Project called ‘Awareness raising and environment education for sustainable development in the oases of the south east of Morocco’ may be considered as another opportunity for the association to contribute to the environmental dynamic of the country.

Through this it is intended to promote concrete activities directed to raising awareness about specific issues related with the environment, as well as social, economic and cultural issues in the oases.  Without question it will motivate local parties to generate respect for Nature in local development. A process of identification of interested parties who have worked on these areas will be undertaken, and with this an invitation to participate in the Project of the School of Ferkla.

After this step the AOFEP will sign a collaboration agreement with all the schools who are interested in forming part of the Project which will be organized into different stagees with activities, workshops nad action grouops in each stage. All this will be transmitted through drawings, articles and reports in a local newspaper created by ‘young reporters’ and in this way creating a more direct impact on the student community.

From Med o Med we are convinced that the Project will contribute to a better managementment of the oasis and will serve as an experiment that can be repeated in other parts of the country.

Ana Martín

Translation: Winnie Matos

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