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23 July 2020

Successful launch of the energy efficiency project for schools in Morocco

Following long months of lockdown, the CEMAATERR Morocco project team has finally been able to travel to its new place of assignment: Midelt province.

“CEMAATERR” is a multi-country Geres programme. Currently deployed in Cambodia, Benin, Mongolia and Morocco, its aim is to boost the resilience of rural territories and relay towns to the impacts of climate change.

In Midelt, a rural province standing at more than 1500 m altitude in the Moroccan Middle Atlas mountain range, winters are harsh and schools frequently poorly insulated.

As a result, at that time of year, temperatures fall sharply in classrooms and teaching, unfortunately, becomes challenging.

With a view to improving educational conditions for both pupils and teachers, our branch in Morocco is now beginning work on energy-efficient solutions for school buildings .

Typical mountain school, stone classroom, concrete classroom, prefabricated classroom. Wood coal stove for heating Morocco

Lockdown, a window of opportunity for the project’s preliminary work

In Morocco, the state of health emergency and lockdown began on 20 March. Until mid-June, specific measures were in place to restrict the population’s movements around the Kingdom.

“The team’s arrival in Midelt marks the end of the preliminary work (and the end of lockdown) and the start of field activities”

The lockdown period, which also coincided with the launch of this project to improve the energy efficiency of school buildings in Midelt, gave the Geres team in Morocco time to get a clear picture of the issues and the circumstances surrounding the project.

Meeting with the association Jbel Ayachi in Midelt
School visit Midelt Geres energy retrofit

Fruitful meetings with partners

One of the main aims of the week in Midelt was to meet face-to-face with local partners. Despite the need to wear masks and comply with strict health rules, many fruitful exchanges took place.

Several sessions were organized with the technical teams and the director of the Provincial Education Department to talk about the province’s educational assets.

Advantage was also taken of the week to introduce the project to the president of Midelt Provincial Council and reflect on the specific features of the province, its needs and its community life with the local members of the Jbel Ayachi association.

Discussions were also held with GIZ (German international co-operation) about their work and presence in the province.

In general, discussion centred on the roles and interactions of each participant in the project. Some preliminary consideration was also given to mainstreaming the notions of energy efficiency in the territory’s programmes.

Classroom visit to the province of Midelt in Morocco

Immersion in Midelt schools

It is crucial for Geres to make the link between desk work and the situation on the ground. For this reason, several schools, both long-standing and recently established, were visited during the week.

For instance, different construction features were noted depending on time of construction or location (i.e. in urban or rural areas). This highlighted the need to review current construction techniques and renovate existing buildings.

The heads of the schools (the only ones present in view of the premature end to the school year) offered support, explaining the extreme conditions experienced in the classrooms and boarding facilities in winter.

Conclusion? Let’s get to work!

The project was very well received by everyone we spoke to, whether partners or school users. The visits confirmed the project’s relevance and necessity.

Geres warmly thanks all the people met during this week in Midelt. Collaboration between stakeholders in the territory is one of the keys to the success of operations. The project is now well under way and the first concrete activities will take place in the coming months! Watch this space …

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