Ethnographic Field School

Our Ethnographic FIeld School not only provides academic and field training, but is a life-changing experience – Our Motto is Learn, Experience and Give Back

Our award-winning ethnographic field school allows students to experience fieldwork and research firsthand. Our immersive programs give students critical perspectives on local cultures, economies, and development projects, bridging the gap between theory and practice.

As a non-profit, all benefits from EFS tuition fund our local, Moroccan education and environmental initiatives.

Since its first pilot program in 2009, as of March 2020 Dar Si Hmad has hosted over 400 participants, a total of 55 groups, with the majority coming from American universities, in addition to a few  high-school programs.

As examples, check the following study-abroad programs:

For Lewis and Clark: https://college.lclark.edu/live/profiles/3547-morocco-regional-area-study

For Women Global Educational Initiative : https://www.wgei.info/global-education-programs

In addition to academic lectures and discussions, our programs prioritize experiential learning, cross-cultural exchange, and community engagement. Students gain an immersive, critical perspective from the on-the-ground realities of southern Morocco, including the chance to conduct individual research projects, be mentored by our affiliated teachers, participate in locally-driven development initiatives, and engage with a range of experts and community members. 

Our programs are based out of Agadir, and we conduct training in Sidi Ifni,  Taroudant, Tiznit, and other smaller towns of the southwest as well as the rural regions of the Anti-Atlas mountains where we have our famed fog-collection project and didactic farm. Each program offers participants ways to understand, explore and relate to a rich and diverse region of Morocco. 

Our focus at Dar Si Hmad is environmental education, and programs are tailored to the specific interests and requirements of each group.

Among the most interesting aspects of anthropology as a discipline is leaving the four-walls of the classroom to experience some other reality.  Being in this other reality, in the “thickness” of the time, the complex processes of its  political, artistic or social scenes, and seeing oneself as this  “other” who shares and participates is what the EFS facilitates for its beneficiaries. Each one of DSH’s theme covers some aspect in the life of Southwest Morocco, and more particularly Aït Baâmrane, and we then make the connection to more global issues and theoretical discussions. Classes are an eclectic mix of experiential and immersive learning, conferences, debates, and lectures, all of which allow for critical and intense engagement with another culture. Our courses opt for a multidisciplinary approach and make human and cultural exchange their ultimate goals, allying the rational to the  passionate and are much aware of the different systems of understanding and apprehending our world.

The following activities are the customizable building blocks of our programs: site visits (farms, NGOs, cooperatives), museums and urban history tours, language classes (Modern Standard Arabic, Moroccan Arabic, or Tashelhit), conferences, academic lectures and discussions, and exchanges with local students, community members, cooperative workers, activists, State representatives, business leaders, and other lay women and men. There are reading requirements for classes as well as some form of a final project and/or presentation.

Our programs are always locally-rooted, with connections to globally-relevant issues and fundamental theoretical questions. Please write to us for specific details to dar@darsihmad.org and Dar Si Hmad’s qualified staff and guest lecturers have taught the following curriculum:

Environment, Ecology, and Sustainable Development 

Critical Perspectives on Development; Ethnobotany and Permaculture; Water Systems and Rural 

Livelihoods 

Globalization and Local Economies 

Tourism and the Commodification of Culture; Subsistence Agriculture and Innovative Farming Practices; 

Women’s Livelihoods: Argan and Aknari Cooperatives 

Contemporary Expressions of Culture 

Literature and Poetry; Art, Photography, and Cinema; Music and Dance; Cuisine and Food Identity

Sociohistorical Transformation and Identify 

Arab and Amazigh Identities in the South; Gender and Sexuality; Migration; Education and Youth 

Embodiments of “Tradition” and “Modernity”

Urban and Rural Governance; Fashion and Identity

DSH oversees the overall program for the participating students. As faculty-led programs, participating students register at their home institution. The school faculty and DSH finalize the proposed program, including the curriculum, itinerary, and activities.  In the interests of total transparency, DSH proposes detailed provisional budgets and identifies in advance the project to which the profits will be allocated.  DSH is a not-for-profit organisation and all tuition paid by the participating students are invested in projects benefiting precarious communities where we work. Please check our Micro-Project page.

In terms of logistics, Dar Si Hmad arranges transport, housing (apartments, hotels, and homestays), food, translation services when necessary, classroom space, internet connection, research support, and orientation sessions.  Dar Si Hmad employs its own cook, has its own transportation, but when necessary, only contracts vetted drivers from trusted and established van rental services, and carefully selects the home-stay families.

Requirements: Two class-sessions, Orientation and Cultural Sensitivity  and The Ethics of Field-work, are absolutely mandatory for all students upon arrival. Students are also required to abide by the rules and regulations of Dar Si Hmad, including respecting our Zero-tolerance drug and alcohol policy during the program

Safety : The safety and health of our participants is our priority. We provide all participants with a detailed cultural and safety orientation, important contacts, and specific emergency response plans.

Tuition, Fees and Where Our Money Goes:

Our tuition is calculated based on our 10 years of experience and is dependent on the season, the group size, structure, and length of each program.  We are 100% transparent with our program budgets. We adjust to limited budgets without compromising the quality of the program offered since Dar Si Hmad is a non-profit and all funds from EFS are invested directly in our Educational Initiatives and Development Projects.

There is a non-refundable 100 MAD for registration.

Awards and Testimonials

 

Winner of 2016 GoAbroad.com Award in Sustainability 

For more information, please check out our flyer (Hyperlink to EFS flyer )and contact us with any questions at: 

http://darsihmad.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/Dar-Si-Hmad-EFS-flyer.pdf

Further Reading: 

The EFS article we wrote together is open access, so you can post the PDF directly on the website: https://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/ioep/ijdegl/2017/00000009/00000001/art00002

The one I wrote about hydro-diplomacy based on you in the Journal of Hydrology is also open access: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022169418303378

And so is a group one, more about the technical aspects but including DSH as a case study: https://www.mdpi.com/2073-4441/10/4/372

There is also a piece that we wrote for CAPA that Salma contributed to: http://www.rebeccalfarnum.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/Edrif-et-al-Studying-Uncivilised-States.pdf