Aissa Derhem
2020 will go down in history as a tipping point, the year of the pandemic to have deeply affected us. From economy, education to sociability, all of our lives had to be adapted to new parameters, offering us a sketch of some barely emerging model, imagining that another future than unbridled growth is indeed possible.

For us at Dar Si Hmad and despite all the vicissitudes of 2020, the initiative Afous Ghissiki, expression in Tamazight of a hand in abandoned land, carries with it the germ of such possibility, the value of renewal and hope. Essential ingredients for an emerging form for another type of relationship to this earth: nourishing certainly, but imbued with reverence and respect, the one that teaches us humility. Funded by the High Atlas Foundation, in partnership with the Domaine Nzaha Cooperative and supported by the Al-Wifaq Association of Ougoug, we have trained beneficiaires from two Oases within the Guelmim Oued-Noun Region particularly affected by climate change in permaculture practices.

And in this new world, oscillating between the possible and the hopeless, DSH has been able to reinvent itself by prioritizing and rethinking its programs and initiatives. First, we were able to repatriate the Lewis and Clark University group attending our EFS in March 2020 in a smooth and professional manner. And above all during the lock-down, we continued to reflect on the means available to us in order to uphold our mission: supply and distribution of drinking water for the entire community continued unabated, we increased our monitoring of water availability given the importance of hygiene for one’s protection from the pandemic. We finally organized the Tech Camp for young college girls from Agadir in dire need of training in communication techniques and virtual education. We also organized a virtual RISE, the theme of the fall session being Ecological Advocacy and debating, and we continued to welcome virtual online internships for many of our projects.

In the end, I want to revisit the image of Afous Ghissiki, this green, fertile and delicate hand. How to imagine this other world with a nourishing and not a destructive or selfish hand, ... one that cares for the whole of this ecosystem of which it is an integral part. Let’s celebrate these other forms of life as we have witnessed firsthand the healing effects of a generous and welcoming earth.

Aissa Derhem
Written in Mai 2020 - President