by Errachid Montassir
Today, we gathered with schoolchildren from Aarabat primary school, members of the community, and Private University of Marrakech (UPM) students for our second Bureau of Oceans and International Environment and Scientific Affairs (OES) workshop this week. On this beautiful morning, the community, schoolchildren, teachers, and local association members welcomed us warmly, making us extremely happy and comfortable to start the first environmental workshop with the kids.
In this part of the activity, we noticed amazing communication among the students and the adult community. Then we moved to the icebreaker, during which the kids were so active in drawing their image for their school in the future (Participatory approach) and they came up with various ideas, such as including a soccer field, more fruit trees in the area, etc.
The students surprised us with some songs and plays, as they were so excited to plant the fruit trees in their school. The first tree was planted by Mr. Abderrahim Gahwan, the president of Ait Taleb commune, and a student from Aarabat primary school. Mr. Gahwan is a very kind president who always shows us the same respect and love that he has for his community!
After a big breakfast, we went back to meet the local association and the municipality members to conduct the participatory environmental workshop, which included discussion on the effects on and from the environment, the environmental laws in the country, and the free trade agreement between Morocco and USA.
Active participation from the attendants allowed us to conclude the workshop using pairwise ranking to figure out different environmental challenges in the area and come up with solutions. Next, the participants voted on the priorities, and we were not surprise to see that the lack of water was the first priority, followed by the sewage problem.
In fact, the problems are actually interconnected: the lack of a proper sewage system leads to the contamination of the drinking water. The local association members were happy to fill out the project application form, hoping it will be selected to sort out the water issue and other environmental challenges in the commune.