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.

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Preparing for RISE Citizen Journalism 2019!

Written by DSH Intern: Imane Arjdal

After so many months, the time has finally come to launch our newest edition of the RISE program. Since 2013, during each academic year, Dar Si Hmad offers a training program for various beneficiaries, students, and apprentices living in Agadir that contains workshops, conferences and personal and professional development activities that run for 2 to 6 months.
This year marks the seventh edition of RISE program which will be under the theme of citizen journalism. This program aims to offer training on how to use media to promote environmental justice and a wide range of social issues including educational and global topics.
This edition of the RISE program will include sessions on citizen journalism ethics, writing techniques, photojournalism, videojournalism, podcasting, broadcasting, and many other interesting topics. This year’s RISE program will be different from the traditional classroom sessions and will instead give the beneficiaries the best knowledge in a welcoming atmosphere filled with dialogue, positivity, and support.
At the end of each session, participants will have to do an assignment to apply what they have learned and eventually to work toward publishable contents. Late June will mark the conclusion of the program, participants will present final projects in order to graduate the program.
We launched the applications on February 14th. We were surprised by the number of applicants we received and of the high quality of the applications. We selected more than forty applicants to be interviewed. Through the interview, we knew more about our potential risers, their background, their interests and their motivation for the program.
After many discussions, we were finally able to decide the foremost and best-suited applicants based on their applications, essays, and performance during the interview. We ultimately selected 24 applicants that showed the most motivation for the program.
Dar Si Hmad’s team is really excited for this year’s RISE program on Citizen Journalism, and we can’t wait to meet the participants and for them to start a new journey of knowledge, support, gaining new skills, setting objectives, and experimenting with new approaches that will help them become creators of their own future.  

Friday, March 8, 2019

Capacity Building Program: January and February's Workshops

Written by DSH Fellow: Katherine Tyler
The participants with The trainor Imane
In this past two months, Dar Si Hmad has had TWO successful workshops for the Capacity Building Workshop! Our participants have gained so many insights on their experiences and aspirations, and we can’t wait to see how they use their new knowledge to benefit their communities.
In January, the workshop’s themes were Organizational Management and Partnerships and Advocacy. We were lucky to draw from the experience and expertise of our trainer, Hassan Achrwaw
Our workshop on Organizational Management focused on how NGOs can translate their visions for change into efficient, sustainable actions. While we discussed theories on how to create strategic plans, we also equipped our participants with tools on how to plan for change most effectively. For one exercise, participants learned how to develop SWOT analyses to implement new organizational strategies and changes. 
Trainor Hassan during the workshop
The Partnerships and Advocacy Program covered how NGOs can successfully launch awareness campaigns to promote change in their communities. Because we believe here at DSH that you learn more when you’re having fun, we had the participants join in on funny debates. Each of the three groups was assigned to defend the rights of… common pests! One group defended the right of lice, another the right of rats, and the third group represented cockroaches. We then had judges vote on whether the participants gave convincing defenses. We all ended the session laughing, but the participants demonstrated that they had absorbed the trainer’s advice on rhetoric and the elements of a convincing argument.
This past month in February we specifically focused on project management and evaluation with our trainer Imane El Ouizgani. We covered project development from its inception to the very last stages of evaluating a project’s success. Participants learned how to conduct a feasibility of a new project with PESTLE analyses and brainstorm their assumptions on challenges and outcomes related to new projects. We also discussed the practical measures necessary for implementing a successful project by introducing the GANTT chart tool. 
For our daylong workshop on project evaluation, we brainstormed solutions to data collection challenges and thought in new ways about how to find accurate and relevant indicators for projects. We also began to delve into the topic of how to convey the results of projects to different audiences, as your communication of data with your donors, staff, and beneficiaries often requires different focuses. 
Trainor Imane during the workshop
Throughout these sessions we incorporated fun activities to energize our participants and encourage networking. One memorable energizer was when we played some calling and name games on the roof. We might just bring our participants onto the roof again next month for some activities next month, if the weather stays pleasant!
Each week we assign the participants homework so that they apply what they have learned in our workshops to improve their own NGOs. Now, as we’re coming towards the conclusion of the training series, we are working more closely with our participants on developing and launching new projects and campaigns. In the next four months we will be seeing our efforts materialize with new initiatives in southern Morocco!

Our participants during the workshops