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.

Friday, October 14, 2016

SDG 5: Gender Equality

The fifth Sustainble Development Goal aims to "Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls".

Each of the Sustainable Development Goals includes a number of specific targets. In our lead-up to COP22, Dar Si Hmad will be highlighting a few of the SDGs and how we partner with local communities and global initiatives to make progress.

For the United Nations and SDGs, Gender Equality means:
  • ending all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere;
  • eliminating all forms of violence against all women and girls in the public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation; 
  • eliminating all harmful practices, such as child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation; recognizing and valuing unpaid care and domestic work through the provision of public services, infrastructure and social protection policies and the promotion of shared responsibility within the household and the family as nationally appropriate; 
  • ensuring women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic and public life;
  • ensuring universal access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights as agreed in accordance with the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development and the Beijing Platform for Action and the outcome documents of their review conferences;
  • undertaking reforms to give women equal rights to economic resources, as well as access to ownership and control over land and other forms of property, financial services, inheritance and natural resources, in accordance with national laws;
  • enhancing the use of enabling technology, in particular information and communications technology, to promote the empowerment of women; and
  • adopting and strengthening sound policies and enforceable legislation for the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls at all level.
For Dar Si Hmad, gender equality means making sure everyone has the opportunity to make the most of their lives and their communities. We do this locally, nationally, and globally through a variety of programmes.

Tomorrow for the International Day of Rural Women, we will highlight the work we do with Amazigh women in Aït Baamrane's fog villages. Dar Si Hmad conducts bi-monthly capacity-building trainings for women, teaching functional literacy and mobile technologies. The workshops also explore cooperatives as routes to economic empowerment. These seminars were created to ensure that the time saved by the in-home water access brought through our award-winning fog project is invested in future generations of female leaders. The women have subsequently developed tools and skills and are on their way to becoming economically autonomous.

Meanwhile with younger girls, Dar Si Hmad promotes a variety of educational opportunities. Women around the world are discouraged from pursuing science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields - as well as higher education in general - by persistent sexist stereotypes. These negative messages sink in at a very early age and are reinforced throughout girls' lives. The Water School seeks to dismantle these internalized ideas through lessons on environmental science, providing opportunities for Berber girls to explore STEM fields. Our Streaming the Water School episode on "Girls in STEM" highlights the Water School's impact on young girls. For teenagers, the Girls' E-Learning program brings computer-based tutorials to young women in rural areas to help them prepare for exams, improving their access to higher education. As young adults, the RISE & THRIVE programs engage university and vocational students in professional skills development.

Nationally, Dar Si Hmad is a member of the Search for Common Ground National Coalition on "Empowerment & Rights". The Coalition focuses on strengthening the advocacy of women's rights in civil society organizations and engages in collaborative, non-adversarial campaigning for legislative reform. Our own Souad Kadi serves as an NGO Representative to the National Coalition to work toward increasing cooperation with key society stakeholders and reducing economic constraints for women.

On the international scale, Dar Si Hmad is proud to be a part of Michelle Obama's Let Girls Learn initiative. Let Girls Learn works "to ensure adolescent girls get the education they deserve. The program recognizes that around the world, girls face complex physical, cultural, and financial barriers in accessing education. As a girl grows older the fight to get an education becomes even harder. Her family must be willing to pay school fees. She may have a long, unsafe walk to school. She may be forced to marry. And she often lacks the support she needs to learn. Yet, we know that educating girls can transform lives, families, communities, and entire countries. When girls are educated, they lead healthier and more productive lives. They gain the skills, knowledge, and confidence to break the cycle of poverty and help strengthen their societies. It’s time to Let Girls Learn."

In the documentary "We Will Rise: Michelle Obama's Mission to Educate Girls Around the World", the First Lady of the United States, actresses Meryl Streep and Freida Pinto, and CNN's Isha Sesay journey to Morocco and Liberia, where they meet young women overcoming incredible odds to change their lives. You can read more about Michelle Obama's passion for girls' education in this guest piece written by the First Lady for CNN.

Last Tuesday October 11th, in celebration of the International Day of The Girl, "We Will Rise" premiered at The White House. Two of our RISE Alumni, Zahra and Hasna, and our Director Dr Jamila Bargach were invited to The White House to attend the premiere.

We are proud to be working to Let Girls Learn - in Aït Baamrane, Agadir, and around the 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 to fight for global gender equality and promote sustainable development for all.

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