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, November 15, 2017

RISE 2017-2018

By Dar Si Hmad Intern Katie Huge

This week, Dar Si Hmad is wrapping up the selection process for what will be our new class of the RISE program. The last interviews are taking place and many acceptance letters have already been sent. This year we read applications from a very competitive pool of over 150 students and we are planning to end up with a class of roughly 30 students. The program will begin with orientation next Tuesday, November 21st, and it will last until Saturday, January 6th when we will have our closing ceremony. We have had great success with this program in the past and we are looking forward to working with our new students.
Marking our fifth year of the program, this RISE class will be led by Soufian Aaraichi, Natalie Sullivan, and Alex Kochenburger, along with the help of EFS Manager Maisie Breit, Office Manager Abbes Benaissa, and intern Katie Huge. Natalie and Alex are both Fulbright English Teaching Assistants (ETAs) while Katie is a Global Gap Year Fellow volunteering from the University of North Carolina.
From left to right: Katie, Natalie, Alex, Maisie, Abbes, Mohammed MISSING: Soufian!

The program will be comprised of five sessions, each focusing on a different aspect of professional development that students can apply to their future careers. Students will be able to write a proper resume and cover letter, practice taking interviews, write business emails, learn about workplace management as well as international business culture and education. Field days will also be integrated into these sessions in order to present to the students and environment in which they can get to know one another, bond, and collaborate.
On top of that, we are excited to announce our newest addition to RISE: our web design component. In collaboration with web design company INO Communication, company owner Mohamed Amribet will be teaching four web design sessions once a week to all students in the program. The students will go over how to use Wordpress as well as perform website maintenance on an existing website.
We are eagerly anticipating the start of the program, bringing our incoming class of students together for the first time, and seeing what each and every one of them offers to the discussion.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

The Oasis School

Today, November 8th 2017, Dar Si Hmad launched the first ever Oasis School, at the Ihamchiouine School in Ait Baamrane. The opening ceremony included school representatives and directors, beneficiaries, the regional delegation of the Ministry of Education in Sidi Ifni, and Dar Si Hmad’s president and team.

Madrasat Tawahat, the Oasis School, builds on the ecological and environmental lessons introduced in DSH’s former program, the Water School, as students learn to grow, develop, and care for gardens and seed banks in an environmentally sustainable context that is applicable to both their needs and our common future. Furthermore, the Oasis School will implement a permaculture education program, through which the students will learn the agricultural practices required to create and sustain a self-sufficient ecosystem and gain hands-on experience. Directly targeting the graduates of the original Water School, from 3 schools in the rural villages of the Aït Baâmrane region, this initiative builds upon that foundation with practical knowledge teaching topics ranging from soil life to planting and biology.

In partnership with the regional Ministry of Education and supported by the US Department of State, the organizing team and the alumni team members plan to reach the goal of the Oasis School being a stepping stone to, and inspiration for, a community-wide permaculture project. The Oasis School project was selected out of 1,014 project submissions from 125 countries as finalists for the Alumni Engagement Innovation Fund (AEIF) project grant. The U.S. State Department AEIF supports alumni initiatives that promote shared values and innovative solutions to global challenges -- such as the Oasis School.

For four years, in the rural villages of Aït Baâmrane, the Water School has provided an innovative environmental education program for approximately 100 young beneficiaries of our award-winning fog project. Students participated in classes led by Dar Si Hmad’s team on ecologically-sound water practices and hands-on activities that stimulate their curiosity and love of learning.

Madrasat Tawahat will follow up with the same students who went through the Water School, providing invaluable secondary support to students who have just begun to discover their interests and potential. Furthermore, the project will lay the groundwork for establishing a permaculture farm in the region, putting the care and building of community gardens and seed banks in the hands of the Oasis School Students.

Oasis School programming will happen in the villages of Ihamchiouine Id Achaour and Agni Nzkri and the first session will be on the 22nd of November. The curriculum is divided to 7 modules: Soil Life, Seed Evolution, Insects and Bees, Plant Evolution, Animal Biology, Plantation and Biology.

This video, created by our outstanding RISE Coordinator Soufian Aaraīchi, gives you an inside look at the ceremony. We can't wait to officially launch the program later this month!

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