Rural areas of Morocco: between challenges and hope- High Atlas Foundation- Yossef Ben-Meir

Rural areas of Morocco: between challenges and hope- High Atlas Foundation- Yossef Ben-Meir

Rural areas of Morocco: between challenges and hope- High Atlas Foundation- Yossef-Ben-Meir

By Houmi Ahamed-Mikidache

Tuesday, September 12, three days after the national mourning decreed by the Kingdom of Morocco, radio Era Environnement spoke with Yossef Ben Meir, president of the High Atlas Foundation, on “Your Voice”, the podcast of experts. A few days after the massive earthquake hit rural areas, Yosef Ben Meir gives his perspective. The foundation has appealed to several donations for the implementation of its actions. Among its partners are Ecosia. A long time partner.

According to official sources, more than 2,900 people have died. This sociologist by training , 54, describes the situation in rural areas. He answers questions from Era Environnement radio about the current needs of rural communities, their future, the future of young people and orphans. For about 40 minutes, he talks about the challenges and opportunities of rural Morocco. He has been by their side for over 30 years. 80% of this population lives from agriculture, he says. Six days after the earthquake, many villages no longer have access to water and electricity. Without housing, they live in tents.

Yossef Ben Meir with the population in Ouasagou village- HAF

On Your Voice, on radio Era Environnement, Yossef Ben-Meir, in the village of Ouassagou in Al Haouz province, describes a sad reality. He just met a bereaved family. Marouan, 14, an orphan, lost his parents in the earthquake. Today, this young boy lives with his little sister and brother in a tent. They are accompanied by their grandfather and uncle.

Marouane and his uncle speaking with Yossef Ben-Mer-HAF

Living conditions are critical. The villagers lack everything. Life is not normally easy in rural Morocco. The average salary for these people is $150 a month, indicates Yossef Ben-Meir on Your Voice. But, according to him, there is hope. Everything is present in this country to help rural communities, only coordination and implementation are missing, he highlights. In order to develop rural areas, he says, it is necessary to take oral culture into account. An agency that brings all the stakeholders is needed. There are more than 50% illiterate people in rural areas. These people speak three dialects, Tamazight, Darija, Tashelit, he notes on radio Era Environment. Classical Arabic, the official language used in Morocco in the reports, is not understood by the majority of the country’s rural communities. According to this sociologist by training , it is necessary to integrate the oral relations of the communities in the national strategies of development of the rural areas of Morocco.

Trees tone up after the earthquake

Yossef Ben-Meir, through his non-governmental organization, High Atlas Foundation, has been planting trees in rural areas for over 20 years. His organization raises awareness in rural communities about the importance of water and trees. On the podcast Your Voice, the sociologist, born in Miami, in the United States of America, explains the various actions of his organization including that on the reconstruction of the house of the parents of the young Marouane. He also highlights the current importance of water infrastructure rehabilitation and questions the toning of trees after the earthquake. An area he has not yet analysed.

Après le deuil national
The uncle of Marouane with people in Ouassagou next to the destroyed house – Photo by HAF
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