Sunday, September 25, 2016
Friday night, I somehow managed to slip down the stairs coming down from the loft to put Iorwerth to bed. I slammed my left foot so hard into the wall that my little toe was cut nearly to the bone.
Blood, a very alert five-year-old, and a bit of concerned investigation later, Eamonn drove me to Ealing Hospital to get it checked out.
The nurse practitioner took one look at my toe, cocked his head to one side, and said "huh. What are we gonna do with that?"
Not the easiest of locations to patch up - there's no real way to get in their for stitches, it's a place that is constantly pulled on whenever walking happens, etc.
In the end I got glued and steri-stripped up and told to keep the bandages present and dry for five days.
So, here's me on a weekend confined to bed with my foot up catching up on lots of rest and writing.
We aren't sure whether the toe is also broken - from the swelling and external bruising, it seems quite possible something is also wrong internally. But again, there's really nothing they can do except bandage and keep off it, so we didn't even bother with an x-ray.
In positive news, I was in and out of the hospital in just an hour on a Friday night, and the process was friendly and easy. Go, NHS!
Wednesday, September 21, 2016
Thanks to guest author and Environmental Youth Ambassador Mohamed Moumin for this piece!
International Day of Peace
Spotlight on the Role of Dar Si Hmad’s Programs in Promoting Peace
Peace is not merely the absence of war but is a state of mind, a way of being and a way of living. Peace means establishing an active culture in the world with collective social, political and economic harmony.
Every year on September 21, the United Nations leads an International Day of Peace. The Day was declared by the United Nations (UN) in 1981. Since then it is observed annually by many nations, political groups, military groups, and peoples. International Day of Peace is a globally-shared date for all humanity to take the lead in activities that contribute to the creation of a more peaceful, compassionate, knowledgeable and unified world.
To preserve a positive human heritage, we invite you to join us in celebrating the International Day of Peace and take a close look at how Dar Si Hmad is promoting peace with innovative ideas.
Sustainable development and livelihoods are at the heart of Dar Si Hmad’s mandate. Training and empowering young people are a powerful way to do this. During the 2015-2016 school year, Dar Si Hmad’s leading RISE & THRIVE program successfully enabled 69 university students and 120 trainees from the CFA vocational school with professional competencies to enhance employability and entrepreneurship. These programs offer tailored workshops led by professionals supported by multi-media and online learning platforms. The primary objective of the project is the nurturing of self-growth and community solidarity, vital to raising a generation that promotes peace and defends sustainability.
This past week, Dar Si Hmad relaunched RISE, which will focus on environmental issues for 2017. The program aims to equip young students with technical and planning skills along with experience in the practical implementation of environmental projects.
In the bled (Moroccan countryside), Dar Si Hmad’s E-Learning and Women’s Empowerment programs have advanced the right to quality education and gender equality throughout the country. Girls in the E-Learning Program are equipped with valuable knowledge and skills vital to further education and personal empowerment. Women in rural regions are now able to apply knowledge and capacities they have developed toward economic and social progress, promoting for peace and sustainable development.
Looking internationally, Dar Si Hmad’s Ethnographic Field School creates a universal platform for socio-cultural exchange and dialogue that helps break down stereotypes between Moroccans and foreigners. Dar Si Hmad invites researchers and students from all over the world to be part of inspiring experiences facilitated by academic and cultural programs, service learning, homestays, and language classes.
Scientifically, Dar Si Hmad has focused its work on issues of global concern requiring multinational collaboration. Innovative research and experiments in freshwater resource management, climate change, renewable energy, environmental education, and capacity-building in technology are expanding the global pool of knowledge even as they are making positive impacts on local lives.
As we celebrate the International Day of Peace, we recognize that promoting peaceful practice is at the core of respecting human rights, basic freedoms and the values of tolerance and equity. Youth in particular are encouraged to initiate educational programs and promote the values of sustainable development for future generations so as to improve people’s lives for the better.
We believe that the achievement of sustainable peace is a collective responsibility and that “everyone has a stake and everyone has a contribution to make in order to achieve peace!”
Simple actions can be of a big change, and everyone can contribute to positive change by taking the lead of initiative!
Fetching the lines of this article was already your beginning.
See more about Dar Si Hmad’s Environmental Youth Ambassadors program and how they promote for peace in their inspired way: https://eyadarsihmad.wordpress.com/
Friday, September 16, 2016
Check out the original in French: http://darsihmadorg.blogspot.co.uk/2016/09/international-day-for-preservation-of.html
Monday, September 12, 2016
Thursday, September 8, 2016
This post was written by Environmental Youth Ambassador Abdelhaq Ait Boulhous in honor of International Literacy Day for the Dar Si Hmad blog. Check out some news from Morocco about empowerment through the written and read word!
At first glance, "literacy" would seem to be a term that everyone understands. But at the same time, literacy as a concept has proved to be both complex and dynamic, continuing to be interpreted and defined in a multiplicity of ways. And according to Merriam-Webster website, "Literacy" means to be able to read and write, and also the knowledge that relates to a specified subject.
Fifty years ago, UNESCO officially proclaimed 8 September as International Literacy Day to actively mobilize the international community and to promote literacy as an instrument to empower individuals, communities and societies.
Learning to read and write is a fundamental right, protected by international human rights law. Yet, 38% of African adults are illiterate – and two-thirds of these are women. Unequal access to education and low literacy means that women have trouble accessing careers and the public section, making them more likely to get married at an early age and have few avenues for future independence or personal growth. This, in turn, negatively impacts their children – Africa is the only continent where more than half of parents are not able to help their children with homework due to their own illiteracy.
There is a proverb that says “You educate a boy, you educate a man. You educate a girl, you educate a generation". Dar Si Hmad, an active NGO in Southwest Morocco dedicated to sustainable livelihoods and the empowerment of rural communities, recognizes the importance of literacy. It thus developed programs like the Girls’E-Learning project to help girls from rural villages study and prepare their exams. The Girls' E-Learning program uses technologies to help girls succeed, have access to a good education, and improve the region’s high school dropout rate. Participants have the chance to learn and receive lessons online, improving their literacy in the formal Arabic and French they will be tested on in exams.
Literacy for younger children is addressed through our “Water School”, targeted at primary schools. This program, full of lessons & workshops, makes students of the future understand their environment as a huge space of many objects. It modules include animal & plant biology, recycling, pollution, the water cycle, and sanitation. The program gives Dar Si Hmad the chance to discover and encourage talented kids who have skills like public speaking, theater, and painting. In a few months, the Water School Curriculum will be available for free online, part of the organization’s ongoing attempts to share resources and ideas.
Older adults in the bled (Moroccan countryside) are supported through trainings for women in Aït Baâmrane, Southwest Morocco. These literacy days help women with basic numeracy and literacy skills, enabling them to use their mobile phones to text – a much cheaper alternative to phone calls. The women are now exploring ways to use their enhanced skills for income-generating activities like an argan co-operative.
Bridging the urban center of Agadir where Dar Si Hmad’s main offices are and the bled where much of the programming take place is a new initiative I represent. In May 2016, Dar Si Hmad launched the Environmental Youth Ambassadors, an innovative program bringing 7 RISE program participants from different parts of Morocco to be involved in the NGO’s activities. Our work has focused on media and environmental literacy, using visual content & online campaigns as a way to communicate based on events and sensitization.
For all those who can read this – Happy International Literacy Day! Today, I encourage you to take the time to improve your own literacy. Those of us who have the tools to read and write can improve our subject-area literacy about environmental issues. Take a minute to learn about COP22, the international climate change negotiations happening in Morocco in November. Or explore and support our Water School and Women’s Empowerment programs.
And lastly, here’s to all of the projects around the world working to make sure a greater number of us can read, write, and enjoy the power of written communication by this time next year. I am excited by Dar Si Hmad’s work and I hope you’ll join us in working to improve the lives of our communities, in Morocco and around the world.
Sunday, September 4, 2016
Our session explored "Environmental Peacebuilding: The Peace-Environment-Conflict Nexus (2): Nature as Diplomat: Emerging Theories and Practices of Environmental Peacebuilding" (an overly long title because it was the second of a 2-part session).
From the conference programme overview:
“Environmental peacebuilding” is an emerging concept recognising the potential of the natural environment to play a role in post-conflict rebuilding and peaceful relations between communities in conflict. This session will examine the logic of the environmental peacebuilding rationale and the links between peace, the natural environment, and conflict. The focus will be on critically considering when and where peacebuilding does and should happen, the unique position occupied by nature in these processes, and the need to examine both the negative and positive consequences of environmental concerns. Examining theoretical debates and including practitioner and activist voices, the session will consider whether environmental scarcity inevitably leads to conflict; what the goal of environmental peacebuilding is and should be; how the natural environment might be understood as a tool, actor, and/or stakeholder in peacebuilding processes; and how various actors at multiple scales might learn from successful examples of environmental peacebuilding?
25 years later, the Kuwait Dive Team has become one of Kuwait's major environmental volunteering organisations. And their work, like the environment they work with, has moved beyond their country's borders. To share successful examples of environmental voluntary organizations around the globe and build a network of collaboration, the Kuwait Dive Team launched the Global Environmental Guardians Network (GEGN) in the United States with a vision to foster collaboration and cooperation between environmental organizations and teams that carry out serious eco-missions targeting challenging environmental issues. More locally, the Team has organized multiple forums for organizations in the Middle East region with the aims to create a roadmap and brainstorm solutions with other like-minded organisations for tough environmental issues around the globe. During this presentation, members of the Kuwait Dive Team will share the Team's work, mission, and projects that impact environmental peacebuilding, as well as their motivations for engaging in international relations around the environment and the lessons they have learned from their 'diving diplomacy'.