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, February 14, 2020

DSH Highlights of January 2020

Dar Si Hmad kicked off 2020 with the return of our Executive Director, Jamila Bargach, from the Oak Institute of Human Rights at Colby College. Energized by her return, Dar Si Hmad has already had a busy start to the new year and has laid the foundation for many exciting projects for the upcoming months.

Here are some highlights from this past month:

  • Dar Si Hmad was nominated for the « Terre De Femmes» prize from the Yves Rocher Foundation. The prize recognizes the achievements of women in promoting biodiversity efforts. This month, representatives from the Foundation came to learn about and film our work in both Agadir and Ifni. 
  • We are currently working on connecting a 16th village to the fog water system. This month we achieved several milestones with the procedural work that is necessary for extending the project and providing the Taloust Valley with fog water. 
  • With our educational programs, we ran hands-on lessons on permaculture both in Agadir high schools and in schools near our fog project in Aït Baamrane. These programs encouraged students to reflect on their own consumption habits and the environmental impact of these habits. 
  • We hosted many specialists and consultants at our pedagogical permaculture farm. These specialists helped us develop long-term plans for our farm and specifically discussed strategies for restoring the top soil. 
  • On January 13th, Dar Si Hmad participated in a celebration of the new Amazigh new year (2970), organized by students from Ibn Zohr University. As part of this event, we held an art exposition featuring paintings from our Rhizomes Arts Artistic Residency that took place last September. 
  • Finally, we are in the process of preparing for our 2020 Ethnographic Field School programs. We will be hosting a group of professors from Quinnipiac University in February, and a group from Lewis and Clark University this March. Our Executive Director and Ethnographic Field School Manager have already visited a permaculture farm with the Lewis and Clark students as part of their Marrakech-based program, and the students will soon be joining us for a full program in Ifni and Agadir!
Dar Si Hmad has kicked of 2020 with many projects, and we are excited to see what else is in store for the new year! Stay tuned for our annual report recapping all of 2019.  

Friday, January 24, 2020

DSH, an eco-friendly working space: Minimizing electricity consumption

Dar Si Hmad NGO supports its environmental mission with changes in its own working space. Among the many decisions that our organization took to contribute to the world’s big climate movement, even though in a small way, is the minimization of electricity use in the office. Thus, we have adopted three main measures in order to make our work place more eco-friendly.

To start with, Dar Si Hmad replaced the incandescent light bulbs in the office with led light bulbs. The latter aren’t only more environmental-friendly, but they also have a longer life cycle, use less energy, produce less heat and are safer as they contain no mercury. On a published article on the Energy Saver governmental website, it was cited that “Residential LEDs -- especially ENERGY STAR rated products -- use at least 75% less energy, and last 25 times longer, than incandescent lighting”. Hence, the led light bulbs in our office are both durable and energy-cost savers. And above all, we rarely have to turn the lights on in the work place since it is generally naturally illuminated.

All rooms in Dar Si Hmad contain large windows that keep them full of light during the day time, a reason why we don’t frequently run for artificial light. In fact, this wouldn’t have been possible if we didn’t supply the windows with second glass panes that protect the place from the cold and stormy weather all by  allowing the sun rays to reach the inside of the office when the outside wood panes are completely open.

The third step Dar Si Hmad follows to make its office more eco-friendly is by unplugging the appliances that are not being used. On October 2019, The New York Times pointed out statistics from the Natural Resources Defense Council that say that the cost of plugged-in but not used devices is about $165 per household, or $19 billion across the U.S. That amounts to about 44 million tons of carbon dioxide, or 4.6% of the country’s total residential electricity generation.

All in all, it appears that controlling the electricity consumption in the workplace isn’t only ecological, but  also more economical.