Working Against the Odds: NGO of Berber Village in Morocco’s Tafraout

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Moussa Andfour, President of AIDECO with children of Immin'tizeght village

NGOs in Morocco are faced with a profusion of gigantic challenges, setbacks, and problems that they are obliged to address or dodge with the very limited resource at their disposal. Some of these common challenges in rural areas for example are related to the absence of public lighting, roads, health centers, and other basic yet expensive infrastructures and amenities. Generally speaking, the NGO’s in these areas rely on a meager budget allocated by the state, and the contributions of its members which make up the biggest financing cash flow. Nonetheless, these remain too little to get anything done.

My desire to know how many of these NGOs not only persist but continue to grow without losing sight of their aims has taken me back to an association I have worked on before. Anbdour and Imin’tizeght Association for Development and Cooperation (AIDECO) has two more conundrums to address than the average association in Morocco: it does not receive any budget from the government, and it wants to put an end to the wave of migration that the dire economic situation triggers.

AIDECO’s Headquarter

Aideco has operated for 20 years in the small twin villages of Anbdour and Imin’tizeght located 11 kilometers north-west of the southeastern city of Tafraout, nested in the heart of the Anti-Atlas. The area is characterized by granite mountains overlooking vast valleys that are rich in argan and almond trees. Anbdour and Imin’tizeght are part of the Ameln Valley.

                                           AIDECO’s Project Map

In an interview with International Morocco, the current president of the NGO, Moussa Andfour, insisted that the way to slow migration down is to assist the locals in creating consistent income, which he linked with their “dignity”. Moussa, who previously served as a Treasurer in the same NGO for 9 years, explained that the economic and social development of the village is the compass that the ensemble of its activities point to.  To this end, AIDECO has made impressive accomplishments with nothing more than perseverance and hard work. These include establishing a drinking and irrigation water system, unmatched in the area, building a sieged farmland to grow local organic agricultural products, setting up a tree nursery. Besides the efforts to create autonomy at the level of agriculture, AIDECO also helped locals launch solidary cooperatives, like ALBARAKA Women’s Cooperative, to produce and sell local products like Argan oil, in addition to organizing a slew of professional trainings in various fields.

                                             AIDECO’s Water System

Moussa Andfour who grew up and lives in Casablanca, more than 600 kilometers north of his native village, works as a marketing and business development manager. His vision, which he shares with the former president of AIDECO Moulay Mostapha Nokraoui and the 11 remaining members of NGO consists of “creating income generating activities that are focused on small niches.” He unveiled that future plans in this regard will center, among other things, on creating cooperatives specialized in weaving traditional rugs, goat farming, and bee farming. As to developing the infrastructure, the NGO is set to continue its strives to bring public lighting and a health center to the village, and establish an advanced home waste recycling system. Moussa says that executive board believes that “developing the human resources is as significant for the long term as economic development”, which is why AIDECO has launched a fundraising campaign to establish an educational and cultural center called Tifawt (Light) in the village with the help of Hafid and Naima Alaoui, two Moroccan-Canadian siblings natives of the village (Click here to donate). Moreover, the executive board decided to resume a literacy campaign for the elderly that it began a few years ago, and start yet another cycle of professional trainings for the youth.

Naima Alaoui with children who donated from their own pocket money to the educational and cultural center, Tifawt (WINDSOR, Ontario – Canada)
                    Educational and Cultural Center (Tifawt)

In addition to managing its tight budget to finance all these endeavors, AIDECO has another fish to fry. Moussa explains that his NGO has to continuously address the locals’ emergency needs as well. These include buying school furniture and supplies for the schoolchildren, distributing food aid in the month of Ramadan, covering medical expenses for needy individuals and families, as well as administering yearly medical convoys. Furthermore, it distributes seeds for planting and trees among the villagers. In the absence of a government aid, these expenses cost the NGO an arm and a leg.

The social project that the NGO carries also requires that it revalues and preserves the cultural heritage of the village and the whole Ameln area. For this reason, AIDECO organizes a number of yearly events and festivities such as Mqorn a traditional folklore music festival, Idernan season, a three-day cultural event, and other events for the young population of the village.

                         Cultural events and projects organized by AIDECO

AIDECO counts 13 members in its executive board. They are Moussa Andfour (President), Abderrahim Akherraz (Vice President), Rachid Abounouh (Treasurer) Aicha Baoudach (Deputy Treasurer), Rachid Deflaoui (Secretary-General), Said Akherraz (Deputy Secretary-General), Hassan Abounouh (conservative), Hassan Yassini (Deputy conservative). The remaining 5 members serve as advisors and they are Moulay Mostapha Nokraoui, Mohammed Yassini, Aicha Andfour, Soulaimane Filali, and Mohammed Amayod.

AIDECO has worked together with numerous international organizations and bodies, including the World Bank and General Confederation of Moroccan Businesses. In the summer of 2020, it will receive members of a Belgian NGO in order to exchange expertise in associative action. It also seeks to cooperate with other international bodies to help finance “Eco Village”, a massive all-encompassing project to develop the village’s agriculture, tourism, and local craftsmanship.

 

 

 

Contact

 

Watch a video about Imin’tizeght

Contact AIDECO :
Email: [email protected]
Website: www.aideco.ma
Phone: +212 6 73 40 64 03
Postal Adress : BP 304 Tafraout Centre

 

 

 

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