ACF President launches blog for research time in Morocco

Erickson and daughter, Noor, in Morocco.

Cloe Medina Erickson, ACF President, has received a research grant from the American Institute for Maghrib Studies. Erickson will spend 10 months in Morocco researching cultural preservation in Morocco’s rural regions. Erickson’s research will complement ACF’s cultural preservation initiative by building off our past lessons and projects and preparing us for a new era in preservation in rural Morocco.

Follow along with ACF President, Erickson, on her research journey. Erickson will be posting regularly to a blog that will chronicle her journey doing research, community development in rural Morocco with her three year old daughter in tow. Keep up on her research, the goings on of the Atlas Cultural Foundation and personal insights into spending 10 months in Morocco.

Follow the blog here:

Thank you AIMS!
Erickson’s Research Abstract:
Conservation of Morocco’s Rural Built Heritage: A Non-Renewable Resource at Risk in the Face of Emerging Rural Development. An emergence of rural development has put Morocco’s deteriorating traditional and historic earth and stone buildings at risk of complete loss in favor of quick and easy construction being built to house this development. Meanwhile, Morocco’s rural communes are being challenged to find a balance between their traditional cultural identity and the unavoidable demand to become a viable force in their modernizing country. Morocco’s historic fortified granaries, kasbahs, and vernacular architecture hold a plethora of untapped potential for preserving the traditional culture and simultaneously supporting sustainable community and economic development. Cultural heritage is a non-renewable resource and if the historical buildings are lost, part of the cultural identity and heritage of Morocco will be lost with them.This research will be invaluable to the parallel advancement of the conservation of Morocco’s rural built heritage and community and economic development. It will contribute a vital component that has been missing: research and outreach about the planning, implementation, partnerships, and long-term management of the conservation projects.

Community Finalizes Library Management Plan

The local association, Amezray SMNID and the owners of the igherm have reached the final stage of drafting the library’s management plan. Once this management plan is signed by both the association, the igherm owners, and project manager, Cloe Medina Erickson, the final stage of construction can begin. This spring the drafting of the management plan for the library was given to Amezray SMNID, which is a local and legally registered Moroccan community association.  Throughout the spring and summer, Youssef Oulcadi, the association president has been working with the community to draft a community-wide plan that will discuss all details of the library management including income, financial reporting, librarian job description, operating hours, and more.

“The process of creating a community-wide agreeable plan is very important for the sustainability of the project,’ stated Oulcadi.  “Without taking the appropriate amount of time to draft this plan we would risk the outcome of the entire project.”

Oulcadi anticipates that the plan will be finished by September 2011 and signed by all responsible parties in October.

Youssef Oulcadi, Basou Adi, Jim Miller, and Mustapha Qadery (from left to right).

Additionally, in July the Moroccan American Commission for Cultural Exchange (MACECE) visited the project with their Fulbright-Hayes Summer Seminar group, which included 15 American academics and scholars representing their affiliated universities.  The MACECE group visited the igherm and learned about all of the Atlas Cultural Foundation’s work in the region.

Midwife Training Program Expands to Five Years with Ministry of Health Partnership

Genevieve Chabot of the Global Midwife Education Foundation spent four weeks with me in Morocco this spring kicking off the program.  After many lengthy meetings with officials from the Ministry of Culture, local village leaders, and the women who will be trained, the program has been expanded from a one-year to a five-year program.  The goals of this expansion are to incorporate the Moroccan Ministry of Health and their medical professionals in the trainings to foster a relationship with the local women and to include a transfer of skills component to the program that will follow each woman back to their home villages and help them apply their new skills in a hands on manner. The five year Midwife Training Program is training 12 women selected by the local associations with the agreement of their families.

Chabot will return to Morocco in October to initiate the first of the trainings which will include blood pressure training and time keeping training among other basic skills that will be needed in the more medical trainings.

In these five years, we hope to be able to demonstrate a low-cost program that the Ministry of Health will be interested in implementing in other remote, road less, and nomadic regions of Morocco.

The training will focus on:

  1. Sanitation and Hygiene
  2. Nutrition
  3. Childbirth
  4. Care of Newborn Babies
  5. Identification and treatment of basic medical problems, especially infections

The main goals of the five year GMEF-ACF Midwife Training Program are to:

  1. Reduce maternal and infant (0-12 months of age) mortality by 50%.
  2. Increase utilization of the Zawiya Ahansal clinic and Azilal hospital for births and medical care by 100%.
  3. Decrease infectious diarrhea through increased toilet use and water sanitation.
  4. Provide education and supplies for hygienic home births if transportation to the local clinic or Azilal hospital is not possible.
  5. Improve nutrition for pregnant women and children.
  6. Educate women regarding newborn care and identifying sick newborns who need medical treatment.

Peaks Foundation partners with ACF.

In April, Peaks Foundation visited ACF in Zawiya Ahansal to discuss potential partnereship, see ACF work and discover the region where we work.  After four days of visiting with locals, trekking to the villages that ACF supports and a lot of brainstorming a new partnership was formed. Peaks Foundation organizes global mountain challenges for women who seek adventure, a sense of personal achievement, and an opportunity to make a positive difference in the world. Peaks supports and empowers women and girls in communities where the challenges take place, through initiatives such as education, maternal healthcare and community-led conservation. Peaks will organize two trips every year to Zawiya Ahansal, the first is scheduled for April 28 to May 6, 2011.  Sign up here.