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.

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

Friday, November 13, 2020

Dar Si Hmad Highlights of October 2020


October is the month when activity reaches its peak for most NGOs working in the education field as new academic year kicks off. Dar Si Hmad, likewise and despite the pandemic, was so vibrant with the launching of numerous special events. Below find the list of the organisation’s highlights from October 2020.

Dar Si Hmad’s staff, consultants and interns have been coordinating to finalize the final steps for the organizing and participants’ selection for the Fall Season RISE program. This educational initiative is designed to train university students from the region of Souss Massa and the Province of Sidi Ifni on advocacy techniques for environmental issues. The first virtual class ran extremely well, putting the bar up for what to expect next.

Afous Ghissiki is another educational and developmental project Dar Si Hmad had running during October 2020. The beneficiaries from the two participating Oases are receiving agroecology and permaculture training and have expressed great  enthusiasm for the content of the program, and are now in the process of engaging into the applied section of it.

Always in the countryside, this last month, Mr. Governor of the region of Sidi Ifni paid a guided visit to our fog harvesting site to follow up on our plans of extending the project to Taloust pass. Progress is ongoing on our research and applied experimentation for a biological treatment and natural predator against the Mealybug to have invaded the Aït Baamran that is in the process of destroying thousands of acres of cactus fruit. This is a major highlight of Dar Si Hmad’s November activities.

Not far from Aït Baamrane, in the city of Sidi Ifni, our director Dr. Jamila Bargach has been shooting anthropology lessons as part of our Ethnographic Field School. These videos will soon be ready to share online with any potential student and university program in search for a unique study abroad program, this is to give a simple taste of the variety and wealth of the content. 

Additionally, we held our general assembly for the board members of Dar Si Hmad on the 21st of October. At the end of the meeting, Ms. Maria Laaouimir was appointed treasurer and Mr. Abdelmalek Benmoussa general secretary of our NGO’s board, with Dr. Aissa Derhem continuing as our president.

Last but not least, we at Dar Si Hmad’s staff were very happy as we celebrated our office’s administrative and financial manager receiving her Master’s Degree in Management Control, Auditing and Accounting from the ESCAE, Casablanca. A special event and congratulations to Ms Khadija Changa!

October was very eventful in Dar Si Hmad and November came in even with even more events. Keep on following us on our social media platforms to stay informed and do track the amazing work we do!

Friday, October 23, 2020

The UN 2020 Water & Climate Change report summary - Chapter 6: Agriculture and Food Security

The climate is what affects and determines agriculture; so agriculture has adapted to temperature and precipitation for thousands of years and adapted to  day-to-day weather variations and long-term seasonal shifts. Climate change, however, is accelerating and intensifying these shifts, affecting those in the agriculture industry. 

The rural poor who depend on agriculture are especially at risk. It is expected that rural poverty will increase because of climate change, because they may lose their livelihood due principally to water scarcity, facing chronic poverty, hunger and economic dislocation. 80% of drought impacts are felt by the rural poor, so it is important they have accessible technology capable of informing them of weather patterns, allowing them then to adapt and shift production alongside climatic variability.

Climate change will impact the agriculture industry’s water management in a magnitude of ways, which are described in Table 6.1 of the report.

Agricultural water demand comes largely from irrigation, which is responsible for 69% of water withdrawals on this planet. The demand for irrigated land is a direct result of the expansion and intensification of crop production. Unfortunately, the effectiveness of global irrigation applications are around 50% when set against water withdrawals of 2,769 km3/yr, meaning irrigation is not as effective as it can and certainly should be. Many believe increased irrigation will result in reduced water withdrawal, but this assumption is ill-founded. Groundwater, on the other hand, is underestimated as a source of water for agriculture and rural development. Shallow and deep groundwater extraction can be beneficial for smaller scale agricultural production during dry-seasons and periods of drought. Outside of irrigation and groundwater, the report also examines global meat consumption, fish production, and biofuel production as components for the agriculture sector that impact and are affected by climate change. 

Adaptation and Mitigation

Agricultural water management must adapt its modes of production to cope with water scarcity and water excess. The report highly recommends a set of ‘Climate-Smart Agriculture’ (CSA) approaches to land and water management, such as soil conversion to anticipate climatic variability and carbon sequestration to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Agriculture that depends on rain can optimize soil by adapting to climate change, but will ultimately depend on the presence of rainfall.

CSA also stresses the importance of climate-informed measures to inform water resource management and agricultural development. Examples of climate-informed measures include seasonal climate forecasts for months and years, near-real-time weather information, in-situ soil moisture technology, integrating basin-level hydrology and recharge regimes to CSA, and increased investment and planning in agriculture water management. 

The agriculture industry also needs to mitigate climate change by decarbonizing and reducing their greenhouse gas emissions. The agriculture, forestry, and other land use sectors produce roughly 23% of the anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions from 2007 to 2016. Although the agriculture sector's share of total greenhouse gas emissions is decreasing, its net emissions are expected to increase. The sector’s greenhouse gas emissions are largely driven by turning ecosystems such as forests and wetlands into land for agriculture production. To reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the report recommends improving drainage management in natural wetlands and wetland forests, reducing deforestation and forest degradation, and reforesting for carbon sequestration. 

The report concludes its chapter on agriculture by restating the importance of scaling adaptation and mitigation measures for the community, sector, or country’s needs, which can be seen in the image below. 

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

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Dar Si Hmad Highlights of September 2020


You have certainly learned from our social media posts that Dar Si Hmad's team has grown this month! Yes, more life, more energy and more creativity has been added to our organization in September 2020 marked by many events. This post will give you an insight on all of its highlights, so continue reading.

While our director was busy in Sidi Ifni with the preparation of our countryside projects, the team at the office in Agadir, was rather focused on our educational projects, mainly the RISE micro-project.  Dar Si Hmad Agadir based staff, plus  a consultant, a fellow and an intern all combined efforts to design a year-long program composed of a Fall term, training students on advocacy techniques for ecology, and a Spring term during which the beneficiaries will move towards operationalizing an ecological project to serve their community. So if you are a university student from the region of Souss Massa or the province of Sidi Ifni and would like to benefit from this year’s RISE training, stay tuned for our upcoming social media post that will guide you through the registration process.

We have fun moments too at Dar Si Hmad even during hard working times. This month, we ceased the opportunity of all of us finally working physically together to celebrate Abderrahman’s birthday in the office, our logistic and maintenance officer and DSH’s oldest employee. For us the office is like  our second home, and our new interns shared some of these homely moments such as our famous Friday couscous meal and our office manager, Samira’s  delicious cakes she bakes for the workplace every Monday morning. We might start sharing these little sweet details in our venue with you on our social media platforms if you wish to.

Last but not least, our agroecology training we designed in partnership with the Cooperative Domaine Nzaha and the High Atlas Foundation, was finally launched on the last weekend of September 2020. We had a group of beneficiaries from two oases, Ougoug and Tighmert, participate in it. We were very content with the interest expressed about this initiative funded by the High Atlas Foundation, and the eco friendly solutions presented to help these communities revive their lands and make them more sustainable. Stay tuned for the video that compiles the best of Afous Ghissiki’s first sessions and expect more audiovisual content on our social media!

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

The UN 2020 Water & Climate Change report summary: Chapter 5 - Human Health Impacts related to Water, Sanitation and Climate Change

Climate change has and will continue to have severe water-related impacts on health, especially the poorest and most vulnerable populations that will deepen inequalities within and between countries. Water-related health impacts of climate change include the increased spread of food-, water- and vector-borne diseases, deaths and injury associated with extreme weather events, and undernutrition caused by food shortages, droughts, and floods. Mental health may also be impacted, but it will be harder to quantify. It is projected that climate change will cause an additional 250,000 deaths yearly by 2030.

The UN 2020 Water and Climate Change report recommends immediate coordinated action that draws on the principles of the ‘One Health’ approach, which considers humans, animals, and ecosystems in its public health interventions. The report stresses the importance of the government and healthcare sector factoring in water and sanitation in healthcare policies. Through the Paris Agreement, the international community has provided mandates for stronger action to protect human health from climate risks. Mitigation efforts that prevent global temperatures from increasing by 2ºC are also important, especially to prevent the spread of diseases that thrive in warmer temperatures. 

Trends in water-related morbidity and mortality

Ensuring access to safe water and sanitation will not only improve quality of life for millions, but also realize the human right to water. To achieve water access for all, there needs to be better management of water resources to prevent the spread of disease, such as making sure bodies of freshwater are not polluted and that the food production sector has adequate access to safe water. 

Around the world, nearly two million preventable deaths occur because of inadequate water and sanitation, with most of these preventable deaths are happening to children under the age of five. Mortality associated with water- and sanitation-related diseases is decreasing, but not quickly enough. The burden of these illnesses and death fall on women and girls, who lose opportunities for work and education due to water collection tasks and have difficulties in menstrual hygiene management. 

Health risks associated with climate change

Climate change is already impacting human health, but it is disproportionately impacting the poorest and most vulnerable populations, which is why climate change is considered to be a poverty multiplier. There are direct, indirect, and mental health water-related impacts from climate change. Direct impacts include physiological effects from exposure to high temperatures, increase in respiratory diseases, and death or injury from extreme weather events. Indirect effects include those caused by ecological changes, such as water insecurity because of drought. Mental health impacts include stress from loss of culture, loss of a way of life, and more. 

Additionally, climate change is undermining the progress made on safe water and sanitation management that is supposed to prevent these water-related health risks from happening. In some regions, cases or diarrhea are expected to increase to 10% by 2030 because of diseases spread by climate change. Existing water and sanitation infrastructure is also at risk of being damaged by extreme weather events like floods, which will worsen water and sanitation quality. 

Increased temperatures will affect water availability and food production, so another major concern is undernutrition, which the report anticipates to be “one of the greatest threats to health resulting from climate change.” The report predicts that 540-590 million people, particularly children and the elderly, will be undernourished if global temperatures warm by 2ºC. 

Water supply and response options

Adapting water and sanitation infrastructure so they make room for resilience is of the utmost importance. The following six components of health systems should be considered when adapting infrastructure: policy and policy and governance, financing, service delivery, technologies and infrastructure, workforce, and information systems. Other measures including data collection, disaster response and rehabilitation, and behavior change programs can also be effective in adapting to climate change. 

Just as the water and sanitation sector should take health into account, the health sector should take water and sanitation into account. Specifically, the healthcare sector should ensure that water- and sanitation-related climate risks are factored into their healthcare policies. 

Written by: Gari De Ramos, DSH former intern

Friday, September 4, 2020

Dar Si Hmad Highlights of August 2020


Of all specialties, Education has always been the focus of Dar Si Hmad throughout its existence, August 2020 being no exception. From searching for funds to run future educational programs, to designing children-and-youth empowerment programs, and making one of our major educational micro-projects, a lot has happened during this month despite Corona constraints. Read through this article that features the highlights of Dar Si Hmad in August 2020!  

Following the online preparation for the third edition of the Summer Tech Camp and the celebration of Eid Al Adha in exceptional conditions, this year’s program of the camp also had to be readjusted to the context in terms of the content and the organization of the venue. This year’s sessions tackled specific needs of the beneficiaries and had us put special emphasis on the online learning methods that will indeed serve them in the upcoming school year. As for the organizational side of the camp days, Dar Si Hmad did its best to ensure the respect of all the sanitary measures that will prevent the participants in the camp and our staff too from being attained by coronavirus. More than 14 days have passed since the end of this year’s Summer Tech Camp, and no case of contamination with the virus has been declared from any participant in the program. Above all, this year’s edition marked a great success for our organization. We received very positive feedback from the beneficiaries and their families, and our internal evaluation of the program was also gratifying, for all the stress and obstacles that we were able to overcome fluidly.

Simultaneously, Dar Si Hmad, in the company of the members of FIKR NGO in Sidi Ifni, have been preparing the logistics and administrative procedures to launch school support courses for the children of the villages that benefit from our fog harvesting project. Our initiative could not go ahead as planned, but we do not give up as we are currently thinking of innovative methods that can help rural students catch up with their urban-based peers who have access to the internet that fairly facilitates receiving school content. In this regard, we also invite you to think and share with us your project proposal that can be implemented in the actual context of the communities we serve, you could also contribute.

In addition to our youth and children empowerment programs in the planning phase, our work on the agroecological project Afous Ghissiki is progressing and is promisingly growing, especially with the amazing job that Mustapha, the head coordinator of the program, has been doing since his recruitment. Our continued research on the biological control of the mealybug ( Dactylium Opuntiae) in the region of Aït Baamrane is also still on. And today we are looking into adapting the new research coming out of our University in Agadir to counter this bug with a biological predator to stop this invasive species that  threatens the source of livelihood of the local economy.

And as always, the month ends with our Green Friday which has hosted this time Mr. Tom Bebien, a recycling coordinator with Plastic Odyssey; the latter being a world expedition that fights plastic pollution. If you missed our live video with him, don’t worry, we have it recorded for you as an IGTV. And if you would like to see new and exciting forms of Ljamae Azgzaw… stay tuned!

Friday, August 28, 2020

The UN 2020 Water & Climate Change report summary: Chapter 4 - Water related extremes and risk management


The UN 2020 Water and Climate Change report identifies several water-related effects of climate change, including heat waves, unprecedented rainfalls, and thunderstorms and storm surges from cyclones, typhoons, or hurricanes. These disasters can lead to political and socio-economic instabilities that then degrade peoples’ livelihoods. Human society is increasingly vulnerable to water-related disasters. The report suggests that the best way to address this is through climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction. 

The report identifies two types of measures: “hard” and “soft” for climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction. Hard measures involve physical infrastructure and the environment, whereas soft measures deal with the ability of humans to plan ahead. Hard and soft measures should be complementary. For example, to diversify crops (a hard measure), countries need policy environments (a soft measure) that will make crop diversification possible. 

The report focuses on climate-proof infrastructure and nature-based solutions identified as hard measures. To create climate-proof infrastructure, the report recommends risk assessments that factor in the frequency and intensity of the climate hazard, the extent to which humans are exposed to the climate hazard, and the vulnerability of what is at risk. The report highlights two types of risk assessments: bottom-up, which investigates a community’s exposure and current vulnerability, and top-down, which relies on climate modelling and predictions. Climate-proof infrastructure should then be based on these risk-assessments.

Nature-based solutions, which are inspired and supported existing ecological processes to manage water, are another hard measure for which the report advocates. Specifically, the report talks about ecosystem-based adaptation, which uses biodiversity and ecosystem services as part of the overall adaptation strategy. 

Recommended soft measures include forecasting and early warning systems, flood and drought insurance, urban planning, and contingency planning. All of these soft measures can prepare an informed public and government, which can allow people to plan ahead and make informed decisions in light of an impending water-related disaster.

The report also advocates for integrating disaster risk reduction in different sectoral policies and plans as a form of mitigation. This will require stakeholders to come together and share responsibilities in disaster risk reduction and building their stakeholder capacity to prepare for emergencies. Decision-making should include gendered considerations, since women are more at risk from water-related disasters. Unity of stakeholders is particularly important regarding water-related disasters or water sources that cross-country borders. 

Finally, the report sees opportunities in artificial intelligence, ‘big data,’ sophisticated climate and hydrological models, advanced remote sensing technologies, NBS, and social media for strengthening global climate adaptation and disaster risk reduction efforts. To maximize the benefits of these opportunities, policy makers and practitioners must come together and fill in the gap between scientific knowledge and action. 

Written by: Gari De Ramos, DSH former intern