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!