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.

Monday, November 30, 2015

The People's Climate March and Violence against Women

On Sunday 29 November, the day before the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP15) kicks off in Paris, cities around the world participated in The People's Climate March.

In Agadir, Surfrider (one of Dar Si Hmad's partner associations dedicated to marine environmental protection and education) organized a march. Hundreds of students from scout and school assocations, citizens, tourists, and journalists joined together to make their voices heard. They were joined by Dar Si Hmad staff and volunteers fighting against climate change and for environmental sustainability.
In honor of the People's Climate March and upcoming Paris talks, Dar Si Hmad's fifth of 16 Days preventing Violence against Women highlights the gendered issues of climate change.

People gather in Agadir for the People's Climate March

Climate change disproportionately affects vulnerable populations. Persons living in the most developed countries consume most of the Earth's resources and burn the greatest proportion of fossil fuels. Their high levels of economic security and political mobility mean that they can easily adapt to the negative impacts of climate change. Conversely, those living in extreme poverty use far fewer resources and are thus contributing minimally to human-induced climate change effects but have less capacity for adaptation. The risks of climate change are borne by those who have not caused it.

Climate change is increasing the likelihood of disasters such as floods and hurricanes around the world. Disasters, in turn, increase the risk of violence against women as increased poverty leads to additional social stress and destroyed infrastructure remove safe spaces.

The infrastructural damage and forced migration caused by climate change-induced disasters also creates significant harm to systems of water for sanitation and hygiene. WASH has implications for violence against women, as we saw yesterday on Day 4.

Beyond disasters, the more everyday issues of pollution and environmental degradation place an undue burden on women. Rising pollution increases rates of illness; women are often responsible for caring for the sick. The overuse of resources makes it more difficult for women to access the water, food, and fuel they need to care for homes and families.

The disruptions, increased poverty, and social risk caused by climate change and environmental degradation also further diminish the likelihood that women are able to work outside the home or generate an income of their own, decreasing their economic security and personal empowerment.

Climate change is largely preventable and the result of inequalities in human systems. It is caused by the misuse of our planet’s resources and a lack of concern for our neighbors and future generations. In short, climate change and environmental degradation is violence – against women, and against us all.

This post is part of Dar Si Hmad’s 2015 #16Days Campaign to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.

For more on the links between climate change and violence against women, read this blog from Jagoda Munic, Chair of Friends of the Earth International.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

WASH: Water, Sanitation and Hygiene

Dar Si Hmad has been busy commemorating the 16 Days of Activism to prevent Violence Against Women. Today, we highlight another important global issues, its connection to gendered issues, and partnerships with the University of Colorado Boulder and Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

19 November was World Toilet Day, calling attention to the 2.4 billion people lacking access to improved sanitation around the globe. This year, commentators pointed to the relationship between sanitation and violence against women. Millions of women and girls around the world do not have toilets inside their homes. Leaving the house at night to defecate in the open leaves people more vulnerable to attack, unfortunately including sexual assault and rape.

Dar Si Hmad proudly works with communities where WASH-related direct violence against women is not a widespread problem. However, the long-standing impacts of poor sanitation and hygiene on women's health, community standards of living, livelihoods, economic security, and empowerment cannot be ignored and contribute to more systemic issues of violence and poverty.

A toilet is more than just a toilet. It is personal security, and freedom from disease, and dignity.

And water is an integral part of sanitation. “WASH”, water for sanitation and hygiene, is necessary for safe food production and preparation, personal cleanliness, caring for the sick, washing up, and disposing waste.

Recognizing the intricate links between water, sanitation, hygiene, women’s empowerment, and community security, Dar Si Hmad has begun exploring a program to improve WASH systems for the villages included in its flagship fog harvesting project.

Engineering students Nicholas Valcourt and Rebekah Daniel
visited the villages of Zekri to study WASH issues in
connection with Dar Si Hmad's flagship fog harvesting project
June-July 2015, Dar Si Hmad conducted a survey on water and sanitation in Aït Baamrane in conjunction with engineering students from the University of Colorado Boulder’s Mortenson Center in Engineering for Developing Communities. Nicholas Valcourt and Rebekah Daniel visited Dar Si Hmad as part of their course practicum. Using the spatial information, photographical documentation, and soil samples they collected on their visit, as well as the summer survey data, Nick wrote a report for Dar Si Hmad about the extant sanitation infrastructure system. With attention to the local culture, existing technology and knowledge, and community needs and desires, Nick has proposed an engineering framework for improving the system.

Students from the Worcester Polytechnic
Institute visit the fog harvesting project
Building from Nick’s work, undergraduate students at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute have developed three techniques for greywater recycling in the fog harvesting villages.

Dar Si Hmad’s fog harvesting project works in Agni Ihyia, Tamerout, Agadir Id Lghachi, Id Soussan, Aguejgal, Id Sator, Timtda, and Id Achour – the villages of Zekri in the Anti-Atlas Mountains of southwest Morocco. Some 300-450 people live in the villages. The population is highly variable, given regular migration to urban centers and even Europe for work.

Water for sanitation and hygiene, as well as
adequate toilet facilities, remain a challenge
in the Aït Baamrane region
Thanks to the pioneering technology of Dar Si Hmad’s fog nets, 52 of the households in the villages of Zekri now have running potable water in their homes. However, the vast majority of the homes do not have adequate systems for waste disposal and sanitation. Typical toilet facilities include a floor-level squat plate with a seat toilet or cover, a cement rather than cleaner tile floor, no water tap, and no vent.

Mr Valcourt’s report identified major goals for a sanitation system: protecting and promoting human health and protecting the environment while being simple, affordable, and culturally acceptable. He also pays explicit attention to the need for the system to work for everyone, addressing the common and specific health needs of women, men, and children.

The report highlights the need for universal coverage, such that every household in the community has accessibly hygiene. High levels of interaction between households can facilitate the easy spread of bacteria and disease. Reducing the health burden in the villages of Zekri is an important step in continuing the fog harvesting project’s work in advancing local livelihoods and building economic security. With the continued partnership of universities, Dar Si Hmad can leverage the existing community organization and relations built by the fog project to further promote empowerment in southwest Morocco.

This post is part of Dar Si Hmad’s 2015 #16Days Campaign to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Tackling problems with their own hands, one kernel at a time

Yesterday, Dar Si Hmad’s #16days campaign introduced the fog harvesting project. Bringing reliable sources of potable water to rural villages in the Anti-Atlas Mountains has created a number of opportunities for women’s empowerment, as time once spent collecting water is now available for other activities. With the help of trained facilitators, many of the villages are exploring co-ops as routes to personal and communal economic security. For Day 3 of our exploration of the links between empowerment, violence against women, and human rights, we’re introducing argan and Dar Si Hmad’s partner projects.

Last year, Dar Si Hmad held a seminar on Argan Oil Cooperatives to celebrate the International Day of Rural Women on 15 October. Students were joined by two professors and an Amazigh member of an argan co-operative who shared their experiences and expertise. After the seminar, student Ali Tatousst from Ibn Zohr University’s English Department wrote the following:

“Morocco is known as the only country to have land covered with Argan trees. Argan oil, which is produced via many stages of transforming Argan seeds to a liquid form, is believed to have many medical and cosmetic beneficial properties. Argan Oil is becoming an important product within the international markets...
“Argan oil is exported in the pure (unaltered) liquid form to many international companies. The latter mix it with other items to create other cosmetic products, earning 20 more times the price they bought it from the Moroccan cooperatives, a considerable loss for the Moroccan market. The pharmaceutical transformation of Argan oil is not yet possible for local cooperatives or associations given this requires investment, training and research...
“Argan oil producers are predominantly females in rural areas. These women have the know-how of traditional Argan production and use these skills to earn an income in order to meet their needs and that of their families. However, inability of accessing the progress in the field of Argan production limits them and the local industry alike...
“Another challenge facing the Moroccan Argan market is the lack of unity within the companies and cooperatives in Morocco. As long as each cooperative is working on its own, the Moroccan competitiveness remains weak in the international markets. The recommendation that the professors presented is how local producers should form one unified alliance if they are to challenge the international companies. There are some efforts to bring all the cooperatives in Morocco together, however the process is long and requires collaboration and dedication...
“Argan oil is a treasure that the people of Southwest Morocco hold close to their hearts. Its profits have contributed to the growth of the local economy and has offered income-opportunities for thousands of rural women. I am happy to have had the opportunity to attend this seminar; I learned a great deal about this special tree and its impact on our communities. I am hopeful for the future of Argan production and the opportunities that it can bring to the people of Morocco.”

There are now more than one hundred argan co-operatives in Morocco. The tree is endemic to the southwest region, also home to Dar Si Hmad. Driving around the villages served by the fog project, you’ll see argan trees – and even goats in the argan trees, since they love them as much as we do! Argan co-ops employ thousands of rural women, helping the women to pay electricity bills, keep children in schools, and access healthcare.

Former Dar Si Hmad staff member Renda Nazzal now lives in San Diego, California, where she helps run The Argan Project. The Argan Project works with local women’s co-operatives in southwest Morocco to tackle some of the issues Ali mentions above, including argan oil processing, corporations’ profits, and collaboration.

The Argan Project highlights Morocco's endemic argan tree
and the goats that infamously climb to its highest branches
The organization sells pure culinary argan oil (delicious on salads, as a dip for breads, or as a cooking oil), amlou (a traditional Moroccan almond butter made from argan oil, almonds, and honey), cosmetic argan oil (used to moisturize and replenish face, hair, skin, and nails), and pure red saffron. The amlou is made by The Argan Project in California, helping Moroccan women share their local dishes while keeping shipping costs down and involving local Californian farmers in the supply chain. These relationships prove beneficial for women in agriculture on both sides of the ocean.

Purchasing more directly through women’s co-ops cuts out the corporate ‘middle men’ that profit off women’s work. Consumers get better prices and qualities, and producers receive fairer prices.

Working with multiple co-operatives, The Argan Project is able to ensure a steadier supply to conscientious US consumers and a bigger market to the Moroccan producers.

Women in the Bled (Moroccan countryside) regularly serve homemade bread and argan oil to student visitors from Dar Si Hmad’s Ethnographic Field School. It is a great gift of hospitality, as creating argan oil requires a great deal of time – up to twenty hours for one liter. The hard fruit must be harvested from trees and stone-cracked to reach the nut inside. The nut is then cracked again to reveal the argan seed. It is these seeds that are roasted, pressed, and filtered to make a delightfully nutty oil.

With the time now available to them thanks their work with the fog harvesting project, women in Dar Si Hmad’s five partner villages can increase their production of argan or other goods for sale. Many of them are considering starting their own argan co-operatives. Initiatives like these co-ops play a role in preventing violence against women by putting control over their lives directly into the hands of women themselves. The co-ops value the local environment, celebrating Morocco’s endemic argan tree. They involve women in traditionally appropriate but empowering economic employment. And they improve educational and livelihoods opportunities for entire households. Through Dar Si Hmad’s partnerships with female co-ops, droplets of fog and fallen argan kernels are changing lives.

This post is part of Dar Si Hmad’s 2015 #16Days Campaign to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Environment for Empowerment: Catching fog for capacity building

Yesterday, Dar Si Hmad kicked off a 16 Days Campaign in conjunction with the United Nations’ focus on violence against women, girls’ education, and human rights. The Days run from 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, to 10 December, Human Rights Day.

Visiting Researcher Becca Farnum wrote a piece on violence against women in North Africa that featured Dar Si Hmad’s fog harvesting project. Today, we explore how Dar Si Hmad is engaging in capacity building training with Berber women in the southwest Moroccan countryside in more detail.

Rural villages in the Bled (Moroccan countryside) have not previously had access to potable water. Berber households would gather the limited rainwater in internal cisterns, but Morocco’s increasing drought conditions would require them to buy water, expensively delivered to cisterns via water trucks. Open wells around the countryside are used to water livestock. Those wells, many of them quite far from residences, are also where women would go collect water to supplement whatever little amount of rainwater they managed to collect. During the summer months, Morocco’s dry season, the water level is especially low and women have to get to the wells before sunrise if they want water. Walking often starts before 4am, and a woman may travel five kilometres to fill her buckets. Because many households rely on just a few wells, women have to take turns filling their containers. In between turns, everyone has to wait for the water table to rise again. Between the distance and the waiting at the well, this seemingly simple chore takes Berber women and children hours to complete.

There is drought in the area, but plenty of fog floats
over the Anti-Atlas Mountains in Aït Baamrane
The 380 villages in the Aït Baamrane region live in constant water stress, using only around eight litres of water per person each day. In Morocco’s urban cities, residents consume more than ten times that amount, around 85 litres per person per day. Dar Si Hmad’s founder, Dr Aissa Derhem, spent a great deal of his childhood in the Bled and saw his country’s vast inequalities in water access. He also saw the vast quantity of what Berbers call “dead water”, the fog that constantly drifts over the mountains, visible but previously useless to the villagers.


Fog harvesting uses nets to catch and collect
tiny water droplets from fog
In 1989 while living in Canada, Dr Derhem came across FogQuest, a non-governmental organization that builds on an ancient idea from the original inhabitants of the Canary Islands: capturing fog. The water droplets from fog can be caught in mesh or metal nets, condensing on the net’s material and dropping into collection troughs. Dr Derhem, knowing his homeland’s abundance of fog and the intense need, decided to pull together a team to try implementing fog harvesting in southwest Morocco.

An Amazigh woman turns on the tap in
her home to receive fog water. Photo credit: AFP
Today, Dar Si Hmad oversees twenty fog nets. The system provides around twelve cubic metres of water a day. A research team from Germany’s Wasserstiftung is experimenting at the collection project to find the most efficient kind of net. Soon, Dar Si Hmad will replace old mesh nets with the winning model to increase fog water yield even more. Currently, five villages in the Anti-Atlas Mountains have taps in their homes with access to clean water. Other villages will be targeted as production increases. The amount of water available in recipient villages has nearly tripled, with Berber households receiving some thirty litres per person per day. The completely pure water harvested from the fog is mixed with clean groundwater to mineralize it and boost production even further.

Many development projects focus on water. Ensuring access to clean water helps combat rates of water-born disease, especially among children. When more water is available, food supply and cooking becomes easier. Cleanliness and sanitation improves.

Many of these programs claim a gendered approach, assuming that women’s burdens will be eased when water is supplied. But it is important to remember that, in many water-scarce regions, women have a privileged ancestral role as water guardians. Serving as resource gatekeepers is a source of power for women. It may be one of the few ways women in villages can materially exert their agency. Water supply projects that do not take these considerations into account can inadvertently create harm, disrupting traditional gender norms and women’s habits without facilitating positive alternatives.

Dar Si Hmad surveyed families
in the Bled (Moroccan countryside)
before the fog project
Before starting the fog harvesting project, Dar Si Hmad conducted surveys in the villages to identify these concerns. That research has helped the organization to build attention to gendered issues and women’s empowerment into the program from its very beginnings.

Recognising that water has been a source of power for Berber women in village households, Dar Si Hmad worked to ensure women continue to have control over their water in the new fog system. Staff, volunteers, and international researchers led ICT trainings for the Berber women. For many of the villagers, it was their first time tackling literacy. With careful attention to the challenges but faith in the women’s abilities to overcome them, the program taught women how to text with their mobiles. Today, the women monitor their water system by reporting data and any problems via SMS message.

Berber women send texts to monitor the fog water system
Through the ICT reporting, Amazigh women have retained their status as water guardians while expanding their own literacy and capacities. Texting, writing, and basic numeracy has proven useful for much more than capturing fog data.

The fog harvesting project also creates a de facto equality of time between the sexes, as hours once spent walking to fill containers of water have been freed by the reliable taps. Women and children now have more hours in the day available for chores, education, and luxury. This enables more girls to stay in school into their teenage years. To ensure women are able to use the newfound time in ways of their choosing, Dar Si Hmad runs capacity building workshops in the villages.

Trained local facilitators work with the women to explore projects like agricultural co-operatives as routes to economic empowerment and personal satisfaction. Combined with the text message reporting systems, these workshops ensure that the power once held by women through water collection is replaced and expanded. Regular community consultations and village water committees flag issues to be addressed in the project’s continued implementation and expansion. 

Dar Si Hmad runs capacity building workshops in
recipient villages to help women consider agricultural co-ops
Through Dar Si Hmad’s fog harvesting project, what was once “dead water” to the Amazigh people is now bringing new life to the region. Through their sustained attention to women’s empowerment and community relations, Dar Si Hmad is harnessing fog for the future. It is these kinds of locally initiated, holistically informed development projects that are vital to the prevention of violence against women through continued empowerment and security for everyone.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Dar Si Hmad marks the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women

On the twenty-fifth of November in 1960, three sisters in the Dominican Republic were assassinated under Rafael Trujillo’s dictatorial regime. Minerva, Maria Teresa, and Patria Mirabal were political activists advocating for democracy and civil liberties in a time and place when doing so, especially as a woman, was dangerous. Their deaths from vicious clubbing were made to look like an accident, but the women were seen locally as martyrs and their deaths helped spark Trujillo’s downfall.

Forty-five years later, violence against women, both political and personal, continues. In 1999, the United Nations named 25 November as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, honoring the Mirabal sisters and calling attention to the need for work on the issue. The Day is one of marking progress and the problems yet to be solved as highlighted in the 1993 Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women.

This year, the United Nations’ UNiTE to End Violence against Women Campaign is leading sixteen days’ worth of preventive action and media, highlighting the period from 25 November to 10 December (Human Rights Day) with #16days of attention to gender-based violence. For the next few weeks, scholars, activists, policymakers, and communities around the world will unite to work toward a world free from violence against women.

Education is one of this year’s themes. Krishanti Dharmaraj, Global Coordinator of the 16 Days Campaign, said “The political, economic, and social implications of the right to and denial of education must be at the forefront of the agenda for policymakers, communities, and concerned individuals. When we have women, girls, people with disabilities, LGBTQI people, migrants, and indigenous people denied the right to education in safe and equal spaces, we as a world community stand to lose. It is imperative that for gender-based violence to end, we work to end all forms of discrimination.”

Dar Si Hmad is a local organization, both in our staff and our projects. But we recognize that many of the issues we are confronting – including poverty, ecological degradation, women’s empowerment, and cultural barriers – are global concerns that require global solutions. In recognition of the deep connection between local issues and global activism, Dar Si Hmad will launch our own #16days campaign highlighting the ways that local projects in southwest Morocco are making a difference in the lives of women and girls.

Violence against women is a serious concern in Morocco. In 2012, Moroccan teen Amina Filali made international headlines after she committed suicide seven months after being forced to marry her rapist. At the time, Article 475 of the Moroccan Penal Code contained a loophole effectively protecting a rapist if he marries his victim. Following the local and global outrage after Amina’s suicide, that particular clause was finally repealed in January 2014, but much work remains to be done. Nor is changing the law the only step necessary for protecting women and promoting their rights. Preventing violence against women is about much more than criminalizing rape and ratifying laws. Wider systemic issues of sexism, poverty, and education must be addressed. Preventing violence against women requires empowering them and creating a society in which women are seen and valued as every bit as human as men.

Dar Si Hmad’s fog harvesting, RISE, E-Learning, Water School, and Ethnographic Field School programs are doing just that, tackling the issues of women’s empowerment in southwest Morocco in creative and local sensitive ways. Over the next sixteen days, we’ll be highlighting various projects happening in the Agadir and Aït Baamrane regions. To start, check out this piece in The Conversation, written by visiting researcher Becca Farnum, that spotlights women’s involvement in our flagship fog harvesting project.

For more information about the #16days campaign, visit http://www.unwomen.org/en/news/in-focus/end-violence-against-women. To catch all the latest from Dar Si Hmad, be sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Agadir youth RISE to the challenge of building employability skills at new project’s Integration Day

Tuesday 10 November 2015, fifty-eight young people from Agadir in southwest Morocco gathered at Dar Si Hmad to launch the 2015-2016 RISE Program, part of a new project on “Engaging the Next Generation: Unlocking Employability Potential among Agadir Youth”. Integration Day brought together students from around the city to get to know each other, celebrate their acceptance into the highly competitive
program, and learn more about the skills they will gain over the next seven months. Dar Si Hmad’s RISE Program is a one-year professional development initiative for university students and young professionals aged 19-25. The Program builds from Dar Si Hmad’s previous workforce development speaker series and professional development workshops to provide young Moroccans with the professional competencies to enhance their employability and entrepreneurship potential.

RISE participants are university students who, given extant realities, currently have low employment prospects. More than 49% of Moroccan youth are either unemployed or no longer at school, and university students and recent graduates have an even higher rate of unemployment than those without a degree. Previous participants in Dar Si Hmad’s professional development initiatives have expressed frustration at overcrowded classrooms and the lack of practical training. There is little job security available and young people generally only have access to low-paying, exploitative entry-level jobs with few chances for advancement.

Some RISE Finalists celebrate their success at Integration Day
Over seven hundred young people in Agadir applied to RISE, a testament to the need for these kinds of programs in Morocco and to the commitment of young people to furthering their potential and building their communities. In order to apply, students had to write a reflective essay communicating why they wanted to join the program and what they hoped to gain from it. Selected candidates were then required to attend a formal interview at Dar Si Hmad, giving them real-life application practice. This experience gave even those students unable to participate in the full program a chance to build their skills and develop their confidence.
Over the next seven months, RISE finalists will engage in a variety of programming to help them become proactive agents equipped with the interpersonal abilities and professional skills valued in the job market. Modules in professional behavior, information communication and technology skills, techniques for job-seeking, civic engagement, entrepreneurism, and leadership will assist young people in finding productive employment or founding their own business. Tailored workshops, led by local and international professionals, will teach a variety of skills (such as accounting, competency in Microsoft Office, entrepreneurial savvy, and business management) in practical ways. Multi-media and online learning platforms will be used to give students additional practice and resources.

Dar Si Hmad will also be hosting a variety of young speakers who themselves have transitioned into successful career paths through the combination of skill, initiative and hard work; these young people will inspire and mentor RISE participants. Throughout the program, Dar Si Hmad staff and the RISE Team will have regular office hours available to students in order to build mentoring relationships and expand on young people’s learning during formal workshops and events. Students will also profit from specially scheduled activities highlighting public service and volunteering projects.
The culmination of the RISE Program will be a competitive “Funding for the Future” project. Students will make use of the multiple skills they have built to propose a business start-up and/or projects that continue to build their capacity. “Funding for the Future” will be run jointly with THRIVE, another Dar Si Hmad program working on vocational skills. Two prizes of 500 USD will be awarded to participants to support the development and implementation of their projects. All RISE participants will receive support during the program through capacity building, skills growth, and qualified mentorship to further their ideas.
RISE benefits its participants by ensuring they have the practical skills needed to increase employment potential, ensure consistent career growth, and become productive members of society.
The RISE Program gives Agadir youth to mentoring;
here, a finalist talks with Dar Si Hmad's President Dr Jamila Bargach
Many of the RISE finalists are young women who face substantial career barriers and challenges; they will benefit from peer-group trainings and targeted discussions. But the program is good news for many more than the fifty-eight people selected as finalists. More broadly, the program aims to re-engage young people driven to apathy by the perceived lack of opportunities, and thereby diversify the body of active economic citizens and community members, encouraging learning through volunteering and hands-on engagement. Participants’ families will glean advantages from the students’ newfound skills; siblings, relatives, and friends will gain inspiration. The broader community will see an increase in youth-led projects and higher levels of civic engagement, improving neighborhoods throughout Agadir. After completing the program, participants will be equipped with new skills, confidence, civic awareness, and the drive to succeed. Employers in Agadir will benefit from this growing pool of qualified workes, sustaining business expansion and economic growth. The young new workers’ incomes will, on a micro-level, support and stabilize households, and, on a macro-level, add to the local economy and entrepreneurship. The finalists’ multiple civic engagement projects will build pride in southwestern Morocco.

RISE Participants share a laugh
while breaking the ice
At Integration Day, RISE finalists were able to meet the cohort of young people who will become their close friends and professional colleagues over the next seven months. Interactive icebreakers had the students and trainers alike laughing, while a motivational speech from Dar Si Hmad’s Director Dr. Jamila Bargach inspired participants for the hard work and personal growth to come. Each group spent time with a facilitator
RISE Participants determined shared
guidelines for commitment to the program,
including respect and professionalism
discussing the values and developing the rules they wanted to abide by during their time at RISE, strengthening the young people’s commitment to excellence and creating group accountability for shared progress. The day concluded with informal discussions between Dar Si Hmad Staff, the RISE Team, and RISE finalists, complete with drinks and sweets. The fun day launched what is sure to be a powerful, life-changing experience for the students. We know they will RISE to the challenge of improving their lives and building their communities.

RISE Finalists speak with Visiting PhD Researcher Becca
Farnum from King's College London during Integration Day