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, October 18, 2016

SDG #4: Quality Education

Thanks to Environmental Youth Ambassador Abdelhaq Ait Boulhous for this guest blog post about the fourth Sustainable Development Goal! This post is part of our "Road to Marrakech" social media campaign leading up to COP22. The next Sustainable Development Goal we are highlighting is SDG 4: Quality Education. Happy learning from Dar Si Hmad!

The fourth Sustainable Development Goal aims to "ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all".

Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”
-Nelson Mandela

According to the UN, Quality Education means to:
  • Help poor countries benefit from better education.
  • Create equity education between boys and girls.
  • Encourage the students to be more creative and innovative.
  • Build peace in parallel with education.

As every country, minister, and responsible parent must know, education is a fundamental human right and essential for the exercise of all other human rights. It promotes individual freedom and empowerment and yields important development benefits. Yet millions of children and adults remain deprived of educational opportunities, many as a result of poverty.
Not long ago, education was only accessible to the rich, furthering a domination of this category of society. Girls often didn't have the right to be educated like boys due to mainstream sexism, as many people - including parents - believe that a girl's primary purpose is to get married at an early age and have children, take care of her family, and rely on men. For many poor countries (especially in Africa, Asia and South America), education for both sexes continues to be lacking.

Today, the world has changed with the help of technology. 99% of world's families have television, so they can know what is happening in the world and get updates. It is increasingly possible for us to make quality education for all a possibility.

In Southwest Morocco, Dar Si Hmad has innovated many projects and programs to resolve the problem of inequitable access to quality learning and teaching.

The Water School is an environmental program which aims to educate schoolchildren about the concept of water, environmental conservation and sustainability using innovative teaching methodologies. This program helps children know what happens in their environment and learn about animal and plant biology, fog, the water cycle, and more. 

The Water School includes a focus on girls in science, made possible by the fog harvesting project. Thanks to the fog water, women in rural Aït Baamrane don't have to travel long hours in order to fetch a few liters of water. Girls are thus able to focus on their studies and no longer have to worry about waking up very early for water. This is helping encourage families to keep girls in schools, decreasing the region's high female drop rate.

Last year, the RISE and THRIVE programs offered 120 young university students 8 months of professional development training led by very experienced facilitators and mentors. Participants acquired technical skills on information technology, project management, career planning and entrepreneurship. Learn more about this project here and catch some of last year's highlights in the video below.

Last but not least, there is the Environmental Youth Ambassadors program - something I am part of. The EYAs are an environmental education & advocacy initiative driven by Moroccan youth, using visual storytelling to generate dialogue on environmental challenges & solutions. 7 young RISE participants have been selected to join Dar Si Hmad in tackling the world's biggest problem, global warming and climate change. The EYA program aims to engage youth to add their innovative ideas to come up with solutions and strategies for climate action. Thus far, we have organized national online campaigns and 4 events in Agadir to spread and share our environmental message. These have included a “Film & Ftour” night during Ramadan, a “Clean & Green” garbage removal activity in Paradise Valley in Agadir, and a special lesson on water and health at the SOS Village for abandoned children. You can learn more about this program by following our Blog, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Youtube.

Dar Si Hmad works to be part of the change through projects with a long-term vision. We are committed to next generations and believe that education is a vital part of creating a sustainable world.  

Follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook to learn more about how we are doing this, the Sustainable Development Goals, COP22, and our work in quality education for all.

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