“Il futuro è nei giovani” Project • 2017 – 2018

“Il futuro è nei giovani” Project • 2017 – 2018

GENERAL OBJECTIVES

– Reduce the number of children exposed to social risk by creating a safe source of recreation, away from the dangers of the street.
– To increase the number of young people able to face the world of work competently by making the most of their skills and local resources through the launch of sustainable micro-enterprise projects.

 

SPECIFIC OBJECTIVES

1) to create a source of recreation for the youngest (8-18 years old) to enable them to overcome a suffocating and uninspiring everyday life that often leads them to find drugs the only possible source of recreation with consequent social risk.
2) to make children aware of their personal potential and the importance of comprehensive school education to enable them to face life’s challenges with awareness.
3) to train young people from an entrepreneurial point of view while making them aware of the enormous unexploited potential of their country in the sectors of organic farming through the application of “new” agricultural technologies that allow the recovery of desert land, sustainable livestock farming and trade on a regional scale.
4) transmit to children the information and skills necessary to realize, each in his or her own small way, a profitable entrepreneurial activity for himself or herself and for the family.
5) Raise awareness of the importance of environmental sustainability in order to be able to make sound investments also in the long term, overcoming the widespread short-term entrepreneurial mindset that is merely speculative.

 

 

THE PROJECT IN A NUTSHELL

The association with local partners will be responsible for the commissioning and reorganisation of an abandoned sports centre in the central-western part of Morocco in the rural community of Sid L Mokhtar. The aim is to create a recreational alternative for young people for whom the most frequent source of recreation today, after long days of work, is drug use. The first floor of the building will be used as a gym and recreation area with soft walls and protections, where children can play safely. Here open Judo and Karate courses will be organised to transmit values, discipline and respect for the rules to young people. The ground floor, on the other hand, will be transformed into a multifunctional centre for the incubation of innovative micro-enterprise projects “Village Incubator Center” with the aim of enhancing the local resources and skills of young people. The centre will be inaugurated with an ad hoc training course organised by Sustainable Economy.

 

THE CONTEXT

The project idea comes from the experience gained by “Sustainable Economy” in the Chichaoua Province with the development cooperation intervention called “Green Desert” started in June 2017, which aims to recover land abandoned as a result of agricultural speculation and desertification risk, through innovative agricultural solutions, supported by the national plan “Maroc Vert”. As previously mentioned, the balance between agricultural sustainability and the livelihoods of the local population is very unstable and constantly evolving. By going to intervene on the economic and productive aspect, there is the risk of bringing imbalance also on the social aspect. This is precisely why we believe it is very important to go hand in hand with economic and technological development also on the social aspect, involving the most sensitive and at the same time important part of the social fabric: young people.
The Sustainable Economy’s awareness of local problems derives from a detailed knowledge of the social, economic and cultural context of rural Morocco, developed thanks to a constant operation on the territory and a direct contact both with the local population and with the Provincial and Regional public administration. In this way it was possible to understand both the economic-administrative difficulties linked to the management of the most remote rural communities, with often risky state budgets, and the problems, social and cultural deficiencies of the population. Thanks to the excellent direct and equal relationship built up over time with the local population and the local administration, it will be possible to carry out training, structural and socio-economic impact interventions, without being intrusive and inappropriate, as can often happen in similar contexts, albeit in good faith. The members of the Sustainable Economy’s board of directors, given the frequent visits, the good relations established and the aid provided on the spot, are now known and welcomed almost as natives and can therefore be considered ideal interlocutors to propose an all-round socio-economic development project such as the one presented below. The project focuses on the community of Sid L Mokhtar located in the central-western part of Morocco. It is a rural area that serves as a junction between the coastal province of Essaouira and the inland province of Marrakech. It is an intermediate transit area which can therefore benefit neither from the revenues of the coastal tourism sector nor from the urban supply chain. Here time seems to have stood still in the late Middle Ages. The main sources of livelihood are agriculture, sheep breeding and local livestock trade. Only a small number of homes are connected to the electricity grid and sanitary services are precarious and not always guaranteed.
The main and only moment of social gathering is the weekly market “Lehrba” where local families meet with those of the most remote villages to exchange goods and information. The sources of “entertainment” for the new generations, on the other hand, are practically non-existent. After long days of study for the lucky ones or work, the only driving factor of aggregation is that of drugs: hashish and Keef, both produced locally and now part of the daily routin of most. A large part of the local population is partially illiterate and strongly linked to ancient customs and superstitions. Only the latest generations go to the local school where they learn Arabic writing, French, mathematics, history and geography. The most widely spoken languages are Arabic, Berber and French, the latter being always used by Sustainable Economy for local communications both written (contracts and partnership letters) and oral (training course and relations with young people).
Government investment in infrastructure development is substantial but concentrated exclusively in areas of high tourist influx (Essaouira) and urban agglomerations such as Marrakech and Chichaoua, leaving rural areas such as the community of Sid L Mokhtar itself completely uncovered. The public infrastructure here is almost non-existent. They are limited to an often broken down common well, two municipal administration buildings and a police station. The private houses are built with obsolete criteria: those in the centre of the village are made of concrete and brick, while the outer ones are made of local stone, clay and straw as insulating material.
The village is connected to the coast and to the nearest town of Chichaoua by the only asphalt road that can be covered: “Route Essaouira”, all the other secondary roads are still unpaved and bounded by stones that indicate the direction of travel.

 

 

LOCAL NEEDS

In a context such as the one described above, two phenomena are now on the agenda: the abandonment of villages especially by young people due to the lack of decent job prospects and the increased social risk linked to the daily use of drugs, the main source of “recreation” especially among young people. These are two closely linked phenomena which, when added together, lead to an unsustainable situation both for the good of individuals and for the economy of the country. In fact, Morocco’s GDP is growing “on paper”, driven by coastal cities that are increasingly open to foreign markets, but at the same time the country is showing a non-proportional speed of economic adjustment and services in rural areas. This leads to major social imbalances and growing inequalities. The mass media, now present everywhere, up to the most remote and poorest areas of the country, transmit a distorted and stereotyped image of the West that turns into a sort of promised land for the new generations, an obligatory passage to escape a suffocating daily life with no prospects.
The need is therefore to give hope to young people, giving them an awareness of their personal potential and the enormous potential for development that their country offers. This makes it possible to go beyond the traditional model of “job creation” through investments by multinationals, financed by governments with the aim of generating mass recruitment, demonstrating that a country’s economy can start from the bottom and walk gradually even with its own legs. To do this, we need to bring greater awareness of the real value of the human and natural resources present in the area and explain how, if used correctly and sustainably, they can bring wealth and solidity where misery and despair now lie.
Specifically to address real needs in the context described above is necessary:
1) to create a safe source of recreation for the youngest (8-18 years old) to enable them to overcome a suffocating and uninspiring daily routine that often leads them to find drugs the only possible source of recreation with a consequent high social risk.
2) to make children aware of their personal potential and the importance of comprehensive school education to enable them to face life’s challenges with awareness.
3) to make young people aware of their country’s untapped potential, particularly in the fields of organic farming through the application of “new” agricultural technologies, sustainable livestock farming and trade on a regional scale.
4) transmit to children the information and skills necessary to realize, each in his or her own small way, a profitable micro-enterprise activity for himself or herself and for the family.
(5) raise awareness among young people of the importance of environmental sustainability in order to be able to make sound investments also in the long term, overcoming the widespread short-term, purely speculative business mentality.

 

THE TARGET

The recipients of the project are the children, the new generations, who represent the future of a nation. As the Oxfam 2018 report shows, the most discriminated against and at social risk in Morocco are children and women. Although statistics in recent years show a gradual reduction in the absolute poverty rate, social inequalities are still very high and the problem of youth unemployment is more topical than ever. Youth unemployment reaches an average of 43% and more than 50% of the population lives on less than 1,000 Diram per month which is equivalent to about 90/100€. The target group of the project is therefore the young people themselves.
– The target group for the “Chams Al Atlas” sports centre is children between 8 and 18 years of age.
– The “Village Incubator Center”, on the other hand, is mainly aimed at children who are moving from school to work and are between 18 and 25 years old.
The project was therefore created by studying the special needs of young people according to their age and social difficulties. For the youngest children, the aim is to have fun in safety combined with moral training and respect for the rules through judo. For 18-25 year olds, on the other hand, who have to face the transition from school to work, the objective must be targeted training, personal motivation and orientation towards a sustainable and profitable entrepreneurial work activity.