Reference: Alternativi International Blog
30th May, 2017
EVS, for those who don’t know, means European Voluntary Service, and it aims to develop the volunteers’ skills through daily activities, workshops and trainings offered for kids, youngsters, youth, adults and elder people with or without disabilities, or with refugees; It depends on the project itself.
It was a pleasure to represent MasterPeace Morocco in this Contact Seminar which was organized by Alternativi International between May 15th-20th in Bansko, Bulgaria. It was exceptional when I met many inspiring & so-professional people from Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan, Bulgaria, Romania, Macedonia, Turkey, Poland, and Spain, and it was an opportunity for Moroccans to culturally and professionally get in touch with the other countries by creating partnerships, or participating in exchange programs and trainings locally or abroad, or volunteering in one of their projects which can be long/short term. I consider the EVS as a lifetime experience, because it can improve and show you the real YOU, how open you are, how motivated and talented you are.
EVS Global was an event to share MasterPeace Morocco’s beautiful success and hear the other wonderful stories from whom who have been volunteers or sent/hosted volunteers. It has approached the challenges during EVS, tools and best practices to implement a better project, EVS projects development and more.
Despite my very late arrival, i didn’t face any challenge to get engaged with group very quickly since i’m sociable person, and not even half a day, i found myself dancing and singing with everyone and enjoying the bulgarian cultural evening.
PS: Proud to get my Youthpass 😀
Today, we present the last installment of our EYAs’ adventures in England! Check out previous posts about the Conservation Optimism Summit, teaming up with the Zoological Society of London‘s Education Team to film biodiversity, a seminar the team gave at Oxford, and Abdelhaq’s talk at the University of East Anglia. Our last post is from Abdelhaq, chronicling his adventures in Sheringham and South London.
The day after I gave a seminar at the University of East Anglia’s Water Security Research Centre, we visited Sheringham. Sheringham is an English seaside town in the county of Norfolk with a population of 7,367 people. It’s small place known for its fishing heritage, beautiful coastal spots and beaches where you can sit and reflect by the North Sea, and well-served food reflecting its main economic activity: fish and chips!!
The Mo Sheringham Museum documents the history of this small but proud coastal village. It preserves lifeboats from different years and periods, talking about their use in wars and fishing activities. During my visit to the Mo, a local community member, Roger, presented various artifacts. Roger agreed to be filmed, and told stories about how fishermen in this part of the world run their equipment. I’ll be transforming his interview into videos in Tachelhit, so our students from the Water School have a chance to see another part of the UK.
|photo courtesy of Wikimedia|
Above the heritage museum is a lookout tower and educational viewing platform created by Sheringham Shoal. Norfolk is a major area for offshore wind farms, sources of renewable energy. This part of the museum had an amazing scientific room demonstrating how the company creates electricity using giant fans moved by the wind in the middle of the sea. We could see these windmills from two telescopes installed in the room. On the upper deck – with the wind blowing! – I interviewed two researchers from the University of East Anglia. Nancy and Lauren talked about how renewable energy works and why they love the sea. Their interviews will also be translated into Tachelhit for our local communities.
|photo courtesy of ‘Day Out with the Kids’ UK|
Back on the land, I stayed for the rest of my trip with a host family in Ealing, one of London’s residential boroughs (which is what they call neighborhoods). Monday was a national holiday, so my host parents didn’t have to go to work. Instead, they invited me and Becca to visit the Kew Gardens.
The Kew Gardens are a botanical region in southwest London housing the “largest and most diverse botanical and mycological collections in the world”. We called it a ‘zoo for plants’!
Everything there was totally green and ornamented by colorful flowers of all varieties. This really caught my attention, as Morocco has very few green spaces or naturally colorful vegetation.
During our trip to the London Zoo, Mahdi talked about bees and how important they are to the planet, and our survival. This was clear at the Kew Gardens too. These very hard-working creatures have a great reputation in the fields, because we really can’t live without them. Their pollination services give us fruits, vegetables, and plants. They are the important influencers that make our food delicious! In the Gardens, a special exhibit about bees included a huge metal house that replicated the structure of a beehive. The Hive was beautifully enhanced with lanterns that glowed when the bees’ buzzing increased. Oscillations replicated the bees’ sounds, with the noises from inside their real hive projected through speakers. The bees were my DJ fo the day! It might the place a peaceful area to connect with these incredible creatures.
My host family had two young daughters, Alya and Eve. These sisters loved nature, and carefully explained the importance of trees and other plants to me. I filmed many of their wonderful explanations, so they will have the chance to be mini ‘teachers’ for the Water School.
Most exciting was our tadpole release. The family has a small pond in their back garden, where baby frogs are currently growing. We took some of these tadpoles to a local park and put them in a bigger marsh so they will have a bigger home as they grow into adult frogs. I had never seen tadpoles before, so this was a great opportunity for me to learn and experience biology in a new way. And of course, we caught all that on camera too! I am really grateful for the chance to share memories of my host family with our fog villages in Southwest Morocco.
Sincere thanks to Nancy and Lauren from the University of East Anglia, Roger at The Mo, the team at Sheringham Shoal Offshore Wind Farm operated by Statoil, and my host family. I had an unforgettable time with you, and your willingness to share your time and experience in front of a camera will make our Water School even more dynamic!
After a week exploring the UK, Mahdi and Salma had to come back to Agadir for university! But Abdelhaq stayed in the UK for another week…so here’s part of what he got up to.
Moving from our talks at the Conservation Optimism Summit and at Oxford University, it was the University of East Anglia‘s turn to hear about Dar Si Hmad and our award-winning fog-harvesting project. Along with research partner Becca Farnum, I visited UEA’s Water Security Research Centre to share our work.
With both researchers and students in attendance, our seminar presented the fog-harvesting technology – using the small model of a CloudFisher I made to demonstrate the science behind this simple but innovative project. We also talked about Dar Si Hmad’s other programs, including women’s empowerment, the Water School, and reforestation. Our main objective was to share a story about technologies and models of sustainable development coming from Africa. We wanted to share creative solutions to water scarcity and community resilience to climate change.
After our talk, we had many fruitful conversations with the students to fulfil their curiosity about the links between fog, gender, society, sustainability, and climate change. I’m glad we made it to Norwich – where I got to see the University’s beautiful green space and had a special encounter with one of their local bunnies!