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.

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

The UN 2020 Water and Climate Change report summary - Chapter 10: Regional Perspectives

 

The tenth chapter of the UN 2020 Water and Climate Change discusses existing processes and challenges in the world from different regional perspectives. Despite the water-related impacts of climate change transcending borders, regional perspectives are often missing from climate change dialogue, agreements, funding mechanisms, and action. Instead, climate change policy is often framed at the national level.

The report breaks down water-related climate change activities by region, but this summary will only focus on North Africa and West Asia because of Dar Si Hmad’s work in Morocco. The region’s vulnerability to climate change is high across the region, but vulnerability increases in southern areas like the Horn of Africa, the Sahel, and the southwestern part of the Arabian Peninsula.

In North Africa and West Asia, the effects of climate change intersect with complicated socio-economic and political dynamics that affect water at subnational, national, and regional levels. These new dynamics can come from the politicization and weaponization of water resources and displacement, particularly for countries experiencing violent conflict. What further complicates climate change and water management in the region is how “almost all Arab states “are highly interdependent,” because of their shared reliance on transboundary water resources, making integrated regional water policy difficult to achieve. To add further complications, the World Bank estimates that water scarcity exacerbated by climate change will cost up to 6% of the region’s gross domestic product by 2050.

When considering appropriate policy responses in the region, the report focused on Jordan, Mauritania, and Tunisia. All three countries have included water-related measures in their national plan, NDCs, and Adaptation Plan – all at the national and transboundary level. Morocco’s neighbor Tunisia is part of a project called Regional Cooperation in the Water Sector in the Maghreb (CREM), which is funded by German development agencies BMZ and GIZ, along with the Sahara and Sahel Observatory. The goal of the CREM is to improve water resources in Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia by improving regional cooperation and information-sharing platforms.

The report suggests regional communities around the world should assess the impacts, vulnerabilities, and potential adaptation measures for countries. This is done successfully with the Regional Initiative for the Assessment of Climate Change Impacts on Water Resources and Socio-Economic Vulnerability in the Arab Region (RICCAR), which prioritizes strengthening institutions to act on climate change in the national and regional scale.

Countries and regions should be adopting integrated approaches, which strengthen existing infrastructure across sectors and take action at all levels. Some examples of integrated approaches include investing in better and more accessible information or transporting and treating water, as well as harnessing both adaptation and mitigation benefits.

Instead of regional integrated approaches, many countries operate with nationally determined contributions (NDCs) from the Paris Agreement. Although water-related issues are the most often-cited priority for NDCs adaptation measures, there are variations in how water is mentioned. Countries within the Economic Commission for Europe, for example, place little emphasis on water and instead focus on mitigation measures with their NDCs and have transboundary climate-water initiatives. On the other hand, more than half the NDCs for countries like those in Economic and Social Commission for West Asia do mention water-related measures for institution-building and infrastructure.

Overall, however, there is room to improve the water-related measures of NDCs. The report stated that only half of countries had climate change strategists who were aware of the water sectors plans to adapt and mitigate climate change. Additionally, not all countries are committed to water conservation, especially the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific countries. All regions, however, have few concrete proposals that relate to water-related climate adaptation.

Written by: Gari DeRamos, Dar Si Hmad's former Intern
 


Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Dar Si Hmad January 2021 Highlights

Should you have guessed that l’3mART n’Id Yennayer is what made the highlight of Dar Si Hmad in January 2021, then you are right!! In addition to this inspiring celebration, other events took place this January in DSH and find them below.

You’re out of the loop? No worries! read through this article to get all the information!

    

So, let us start with this special event that took place in Dar Si Hmad at the beginning of January. We named it L’3mART, an Amazigh word that signifies “presence, assembly, charisma or company.” A two-day webinar discussing the history and the symbolism of the new Amazigh Year celebration  called Id Yennayer by North Africans. The event included also a culinary component, performance by some artists; everyone enriching this event in a special way.

Watching the recording of these insightful webinars is like a door leading to an inspiring cultural celebration. Click on the following hyperlinks to take you straight to them!

Day 1 Webinar   - Day 2 Webinar

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Before the diffusion of L’3mART, Dr. Jamila Bargach, the E.D of Dar Si Hmad, signed a partnership with a third space named Espace Hashtag, to introduce our organization to their followers in a live video on Instagram. Espace Hahstag is an open space that welcomes and encourages young people to meet the space’s mission of  promoting entrepreneurship, engage in social economy, and create networking possibilities for its members -- and of course all of it in a fun and friendly atmosphere. 

The live idea was part of the communications plans of Espace Hashtag to have also celebrated L’3mART distantly with us from their center. But that wasn’t the only thing; on its end Dar Si Hmad released 8 videos with powerful Amazigh sayings that prepared the ground for the upcoming webinar’s theme. To watch them, check our Youtube Playlist entitled L’3mART !

Much logistical planning was  going on behind the scenes to make this event successful.

Enough talking now about L’3mART and let us tell you about the other highlights of January 2020 as we got back into the swing of things!

Again, Dar Si Hmad has welcomed a new employee to the organization. Leo, who's very special and resembles none of the staff. It is a German shepherd to be the guardian of our pedagogical farm and all the precious organic goods that grow on it. Unlike its fellow humans, Leo doesn’t need to learn the ropes, he came fully prepared for his new job position.

Two students and volunteers also joined Dar Si Hmad this month. Their names are Delana Sobhani and Jack Carew. They are studying Darija, Classical Arabic and Tamazight through our CELAR program, but also delivering English language lessons to our staff. Delana and Jack are offering these volunteering hours during their research period that is part of the US Fulbright program.

And finally come the in-person meetings with different state institutions to better serve our developmental and educational services, projects and programs.

On the 6th of January, a meeting was held at the Regional Directorate of the Ministry of Education of Agadir Ida Outanane Province. Dr. Jamila Bargach and Dar Si Hmad’s office manager Samira Arjdal discussed the terms of the partnership agreement to be held between the two parties in the near future. The core of which is developing educational programs for the benefit of middle school and high school students in the province.

On the 6th of January, a meeting was held at the Regional Directorate of the Ministry of Education of Agadir Ida Outanane Province. Dr. Jamila Bargach and Dar Si Hmad’s office manager Samira Arjdal discussed the terms of the partnership agreement to be held between the two parties in the near future. The core of which is developing educational programs for the benefit of middle school and high school students in the province.

And our all-time projects continue despite all the unusual conditions relating to the pandemic.

The fog harvesting project

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Botany tests in Foundation Si Hmad Derhem for Agdal Id-Aachour Pedagogical Farm

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 Grace Online English language lessons



Monday, January 25, 2021

The UN 2020 Water and Climate Change report summary - Chapter 9: Water - Climate - Energy - Food - Environment Nexus

 

The ninth chapter of the UN 2020 Water and Climate Change report focuses on the links between energy, food and agriculture, the environment, and the effects of climate change on water. The report stresses that adaptation and mitigation measures in one sector can, and are likely to influence water demand, thus affecting water availability for other sectors. Because this link between sectors, groups must assess and respond to the effects of climate change, and such an action has to be done as a collective. By working together, groups can combine their disciplinary knowledge to produce changes across sectors.

The energy perspective
The water sector requires energy and energy production requires water. The water sector’s electricity use is expected to double by 2040, but this can be avoided if water demand decreases (e.g. promoting lifestyle changes) and water management efficiency increases(e.g. making water infrastructure climate-resilient). The energy sector’s water use comes largely from growing biofuels, mining fossil fuels, and the cooling process in thermal power generation. By shifting to alternative energy sources that require relatively little water such as wind and solar photovoltaic, the energy sector can reduce its water consumption.

The food and agriculture perspective

69% of global water withdrawals come from the agriculture sector, highlighting the need for improved water efficiency in the sector. Improved efficiency will not only lead to increased water availability, but also reduce energy needed for getting water. By reducing the agriculture sector’s water and energy demands, they can lower greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate climate change.


Irrigation is a commonly understood method to increase water efficiency in agriculture, but it does not actually lead to water savings at larger scales. This is because farms that produce an already large amount of crops will take these water savings and produce even more crops with the same volume of water as before. The lack of actual water savings highlights the importance of conservation agriculture, which allows soils to retain more water and reduce water and energy demand.


Additionally, the agriculture sector and consumers produce a significant amount of food waste that contributes to global greenhouse gas emissions. By reducing food waste, we can also mitigate climate change.


The land use and ecosystem perspective

Healthy ecosystems can capture carbon far better than human efforts to do the same, but degraded ecosystems can in their turn be a source of carbon emissions. These ecosystems must be maintained and rehabilitated with improved water management. Efforts to improve land use, such as reforestation, will also impact ecosystems, therefore these potential impacts should be accounted for. The report stresses that any land use or ecosystem change in response to climate change should also take into account local environmental and socioeconomic conditions. 


The water supply, sanitation and wastewater treatment perspective 

Improved approaches to this sector can mitigate climate change, especially through treating and reusing wastewater. By reusing water in a circular water management system, the water sector can reduce the amount of energy it needs. Preventing the dispersal of wastewater is also important because wastewater is a source of greenhouse gases. One of the most effective ways to treat wastewater is by constructing wetlands, especially in places with operational and maintenance constraints.


Co-benefits

When water-related projects are carried out, there are broader socio-economic co-benefits, such as increased employment and income opportunities. Dar Si Hmad’s fog harvesting project, for example, has given women and girls in the communities we serve the time and opportunity to earn revenue  and go to school. The report states that water-related projects are more likely to get funding if their proposals state specific and realistic co-benefits across sectors.

Written by: Gari DeRamos, DSH's former intern


Monday, January 4, 2021

Dar Si Hmad December 2020 Highlights

 


Before wishing you a happy new year, we would like first to invite you to check out the highlights of Dar Si Hmad in December 2020, the sum of events are getting us all ready to hit the ground running in 2021 !


15 Dec: Dr. Jamila Bargach, Dar Si Hmad’s executive director, participated in a discussion panel on water management as part of the 4th World Water Summit that was held live from India.

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18 Dec: GRACE program was launched to benefit the female students of Moulay Driss High School in Sidi Ifni. This year’s edition is held virtually, and the lessons of the program are delivered by Dar Si Hmad’s fellow, Miss Elyssa Wrubel from the United States.

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21 Dec: Mr. Aissa Derhem, Dar Si Hmad’s president, and Miss Samira Arjdal, the office manager of the organization, attended the inauguration of the water treatment and reuse project for the irrigation of Dar Taliba in Ourika. A green lowtech project led by the Moroccan Startup Green Watech.

26 Dec: Dar Si Hmad organized a webinar to discuss “the importance of youth advocacy on environmental issues in the post-Covid society to achieve sustainable development” as part of the RISE fall term program.

26 Dec: Adnane Addioui, the co-founder of the Moroccan Center for Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship, paid Dar Si Hmad a visit in Sidi Ifni, to talk over the expertise and achievements, of both institutions, and to discuss a potential partnership to develop  youth empowerment programs in Guelmim-Oued Noun region.



30 Dec:Lunch in Dar Si Hmad’s office to celebrate the end of the year.

Throughout the month: Progress in our rural projects:

Agdal Id Aachour pedagogical farm

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Scientific research to biologically control the Mealybug 


And the fog harvesting project extension

And a continuous endeavor for a special event coming up soon this January. 

STAY TUNED!


Tuesday, December 22, 2020

The UN 2020 Water and Climate Change report summary - Chapter 8: Human settlements

 

The eighth chapter of the UN 2020 Water and Climate Change Report focuses on water-related impacts caused by human settlements. As of 2018, 55.3% of the world’s population lives in cities, a number expected to increase to 60% by 2030 and 66.4% by 2050. Expanding cities and human settlements will put additional pressure on water sources. Even though cities are a hub for economic growth, they are also replete with health inequalities in which access to water and sanitation may be limited.

Water, climate and urban development

Whether it be through higher temperatures, reduced rainfall, and drought, or increased precipitation and flooding, urban settlements feel the water-related effects of climate change the most. It is projected that by 2050, 3.9 billion people will live under severe water stress. The most affected regions will be the entire Middle East and East Asia, as well as much of Africa. Developed countries are also vulnerable to water stress, because infrastructure is not climate-resilient and can, for example, be damaged by coastal flooding.


Physical infrastructure for water delivery and sanitation may be disrupted by water-related effects of climate change, thus deteriorating water supply quality and having negative effects on human health and the environment.



With so many people living in urban areas, cities will need to take leadership in adapting and strengthening their urban water management. It is important for city leaders and planners to broaden their understanding of urban development to include planning for future scenarios. Flexibility in planning is far more important than adopting a fixed approach.


Critical areas for action

Moving forward, urban planning should assess and factor in the effects of climate change to protect against shocks. Shocks come from climate change, as well as population growth and urbanization, technological advances, economic growth, land use planning, and competition between sectors. Successful, cross-sectoral, climate-resilient urban planning requires effective consensus building and multi-stakeholder frameworks.


As the report states, “there is no one prescriptive solution to address urban water resilience. Each situation varies and requires an independent analysis.” Particular areas of concern include identifying critical areas of water scarcity, such as increasing demand or the failure to invest in diverse water sources. 

 

Additionally, planners should focus on the urbanization footprints (i.e. ecosystem damage) of their water sources. Urbanization footprints are significant in cities located upstream of a certain water source that pollutes the water supply for cities downstream, as well as cities that have to expand infrastructure onto wetlands, swamps, and floodplains because of overcrowding.

Overall, city leaders and planners need to factor in a combination of short- and long-term solutions that will effectively address their city’s water needs.


Written by: Gari DeRamos, DSH's former intern

Monday, December 7, 2020

DSH November 2020 Highlights

 

Another busy, energetic and productive month despite the challenges that the pandemic imposes on associative life. Please read on to know more of the Highlights and Details  for November 2020, quite  a vibrant month in Dar Si Hmad!

First, our project extension of the CloudFishers in Taloust was the object of a number of  regional and national media reports; the channels’ journalists visited our renown Boutmezguida site first, and then diffused these promising news both to the communities living under  water-stress in the region, and also all advocates of the SDG, sustainable development goals.


Not far from fog harvesting-site, Dar Si Hmad is continuing its training workshops on techniques and philosophy of agroecology in the two oases of Ougoug and Tighremt.  Likewise, this project, supported by the High Atlas Foundation, in partnership with Cooperative Dait Nzaha and the local Association Al-Wifaq, attracted also the attention of the local journalists who reported on this initiative.  The main goal of this action is  improving the yield while adapting ecological practices given that agriculture remains the main source of livelihood in these parts of the country. 

In our Dar Si Hmad Agadir Annex, we have a new intern. He is a computer engineer who will develop a virtual library for the organization with the goal of collecting and organizing all relevant literature for our projects and initiatives. Dar Si Hmad also ran 4 sessions of this fall’s RISE program, Ecological Debating, in November alone. They were all led by professionals in advocacy; the positive feedback of the beneficiaries was unanimous. 


On the last Friday of November, we made sure to continue inspiring you  by another eco-friendly project based in the region of Agadir. For November 2020, we had Atlas Kasbah Ecolodge, an ecotourism structure, be under the spotlight in our monthly Ljamae Azgzaw, Green Fridays program. If you haven’t watched the episode yet, and you would like to learn about the aspects that can make a touristic structure an ecofriendly one, we invite you to click on this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Hjggr9rEsA

And in order to reach the young public and raise the teens’ interest in the environmental issue as well, Dar Si Hmad participated in the Agadir French Institute’s fair where we organized a workshop to introduce the young learners to the global warming phenomenon and its impact on the precarious communities of Aït Baamrane as an example. They learned much about our fog harvesting project and our initiatives to empower Anti Atlas communities in an interactive and innovative pedagogy.

For more exciting updates on Dar Si Hmad, stay tuned for December’s highlights in DSH!




Tuesday, November 17, 2020

The UN 2020 Water & Climate Change report summary - Chapter 7: Energy & Industry

 

The seventh chapter of the UN 2020 Water and Climate Change report focuses on the industry and energy sectors. These sectors withdraw 19% and 10% of the world’s freshwater resources respectively, and their combined global water demand is expected to increase to 24% by 2050. Without adaptation and mitigation measures, climate change is likely to significantly impact water-related aspects of both industries. The main challenges for corporations in these industries are water scarcity, flooding, drought, and water stress.


Water Challenges

The availability and reliability of water is key to the functioning of industry and energy businesses who depend on and work with predictability. The uncertain nature of water stress caused by climate change, however, throws a wrench in their plans. Increased water scarcity can impact supply chains, since both sectors consume a lot of water. For energy in particular, any kind of water stressor (e.g. drought, increased water temperature) can drastically affect electricity generation on a global scale.


Extreme weather events such as flooding and drought damage the physical infrastructure and human beings that make up the energy and industry sectors. Additionally, most energy and industry infrastructure exists in coastal areas, which are more vulnerable to sea-level rise and coastal erosion.


Business Risks

Risks to businesses from water-related effects manifest in operation risks, regulatory risks, and reputational risks. Other risks include fluctuations in financial markets, political stability, demographic changes, and population movement.


Operational risks concern the ability of these sectors to function. Water stress can decrease or even stop manufacturing or energy generation. Even before the production stage, these sectors’ supply chains may be affected which can disrupt or damage production equipment and infrastructure. Operational risks also may lead to unsafe working conditions, health effects, absenteeism, and lower productivity for the sectors’ workers.


Regulatory risks concern the presence or absence of climate change adaptation regulations. Although corporations will have to adjust to regulations, the biggest regulatory risk comes from a lack of regulations on water resources, which can lead to uncertain circumstances and limited supply of water. 


With many consumers, investors, and stakeholders becoming increasingly critical of corporate practices as they relate to climate change, corporations may change their behavior to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to climate change. Failure to do so may result in bad press and a poor reputation. 


Reactions and opportunities


The report acknowledges that water scarcity and climate change have been recognized by the energy and industry sector for a reasonable amount of time, and stresses that these sectors should see climate change as an opportunity. Corporate reactions to climate change have been broad and include both mitigation and adaptation measures. Corporations can be incentivized to act when thinking about the cost of action versus inaction, where inaction will likely lead to significant losses over time.


For the energy sector, an opportunity exists in lowering both greenhouse gas emissions and water use at the same time. Reducing energy demand and increasing efficiency, but it is not enough. Low-carbon renewable technology such as solar photovoltaic and wind energy are the most promising energy alternatives because they also consume relatively less water. That said, not all renewable energy sources reduce water demand, such as geothermal energy which requires cooling water.


The report also focuses on hydropower, which provides 16% of the world’s electricity and 70% of renewable power. Although hydropower consumes water, water that passes its turbines often travels downstream to be used in other ways. Hydropower, however, is dependent on sufficient water levels. Water scarce areas should think critically and assess projected water levels when considering the creation of hydropower infrastructure such as dams.


For the industry sector, an opportunity exists in decarbonizing their production processes. Some examples of process changes include using low-cost zero-carbon electricity for high-temperature electric furnaces, or switching to nuclear or hydropower. These measures would bring emissions to near zero.


Both sectors can best adapt to the water-related impacts of climate change by adopting circular water management. Instead of linear water management where water is contaminated in the production process to be discarded, circular water use treats or keeps clean water to circle back and be reused in the process.


It is important to note that technology is not a barrier to circular water management, rather regulation, financial resources, awareness, and dialogue are what is slowing the shift to this new way of managing water. Research has found that women are more likely to support circular water management and have more comprehensive approaches in water management, even but the energy sector is largely male-dominated. Research predicts that if more women had greater influence in decision-making, changes like shifts to circular water management would more likely come to fruition.


Moving forward


The report ends this chapter by stressing the energy and industry sectors will have to move away from a ‘business-as-usual’ and ‘quarterly capitalism’ mindset. Corporations will need to acknowledge the long-term risks of doing nothing to mitigate or adapt to climate change, and should instead see climate change as an opportunity to avoid unwanted costs.


Written by: Gari DeRamos, former DSH intern