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, April 7, 2021

RISE Eco Mill 2021: Building the Mill

            

from left to right: Mr.Jack Carew, DSH's volunteerand CELAR student, Ms. Salwa El Haouti, DSH's communications officer, and Ms. Samira Arjdal, DSH's office manager. And in the chat room, Ms. Khadija Amahal, RISE program coordinator

           Since the successful closing of RISE ECO-AYA (Ecological Advocacy Youth Action) last month, the RISE team has been working diligently to execute the next RISE iteration, RISE Eco Mill, scheduled to begin this Saturday, April 10. This iteration of the program will continue RISE’s central mandate of promoting environmental activism and awareness in the Souss Massa region, while centering a special focus on entrepreneurship and startup development.

Furthermore, RISE Eco Mill is situated squarely within the mission of Dar Si Hmad, and furthers our commitment to the empowerment of young people and protection of the environment of southern Morocco. After significant deliberation, the RISE team landed on Eco Mill as the most appropriate theme for this iteration of RISE. This new edition of RISE that specifically focuses on environmental issues and youth entrepreneurship will lead to the realization of the Dar Si Hmad’s goals, and create outsize impact in the Souss Massa region.

As RISE is committed to creating equitable opportunities for participation, our team members travelled to a number of universities and organizations in the greater Agadir area in order to deliver detailed presentations about RISE Eco Mill and distribute application information. Beyond simply recruiting participants in the RISE program, these conversations served to spread awareness of Dar Si Hmad’s activities in the region and opportunities for environmental activism. In addition to live presentations, the RISE team distributed informational materials, including a technical data sheet, physically to numerous local universities and digitally via social media. Our outreach yielded myriad applicants possessing diverse backgrounds in physical and social sciences, humanities, and business. The RISE team completed interviewing the applicants and making their final selections over the past week. RISE Eco Mill beneficiaries represent a diverse group of bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral students, as well as recent graduates, with wide-ranging ideas and issues that they intend to address. 

The program will consist of a series of trainings by Moroccan academics, community leaders, and business professionals concerning environmental issues in the region and best practices for startup business development. These environmental leaders are graciously volunteering their time to lead informative workshops. After identifying the most pressing environmental challenges, RISE beneficiaries will synthesize skills from the various workshops to develop their own enterprises presenting solutions to these challenges. Our beneficiaries will transform gaps in environmental action into opportunities for private industry, and support further youth engagement with environmental issues. 

At the close of RISE Eco Mill, beneficiaries will pitch their entrepreneurial ideas to a panel of judges. Beyond serving as an opportunity to practice their public speaking skills, the pitch session serves as a model of a common task that the young entrepreneurs participating in RISE will practice throughout their business careers. Each pitch will receive live feedback from the various judges, each an expert in their respective environmental field. 

Ultimately, RISE Eco Mill beneficiaries will implement the information and skills they gain over the coming months into their own projects addressing the most pressing environmental issues in the region. The implementation phase is critical, as Dar Si Hmad believes that students learn the most as they apply the learnings from each training in a hands-on fashion. While the projects may not be realized until months or years into the future, our beneficiaries will have the tools to successfully design and carry out their own meaningful environmental solution after completing RISE Eco Mill.


Written by: Jack Carew, Dar Si Hmad's volunteer and CELAR student