Morocco C.L.I.M.B. (Creating Leadership In the Mountains and Beyond)

  • Environment
  • Education
  • Youth
  • Morocco
This project is led by Matthew Hagopian, a Volunteer from Massachusetts

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The local community leadership and outdoor adventure club is in need of funding which will allow them to hike and explore natural areas outside a 10 km radius of the community and form connections with other groups of like-minded youth. The fact that our community is located so close to mountains and forest areas allows for continuation of the program, because there really are no costs until transportation outside of the community is needed. The aim of this project is to implement at least one environmental-themed service learning activity during the spring of 2020, and conduct a public presentation in the summer of 2020 that will highlight our activities during the club's first year. These events will hopefully inspire people of all ages and backgrounds to care for their environment and spend time outdoors in nature. The ultimate outcome of this project is to foster a sense of environmental stewardship among Moroccan youth both in their communities and the natural areas that surround their communities. Some examples of club activities include: hiking and walking in communities and natural areas that surround the communities, “exchange hikes” with youth from other communities, use of field guides and technology to identify flora and fauna in the communities and natural areas (specifically national parks) surrounding the communities, team building exercises, mentoring younger youth, community cleanups, and trail maintenance and enhancement projects.

Since the inception of this project, the community has offered to contribute transportation for local hikes, food and meeting spaces for the club, maps of national parks and hiking routes, and training and information sessions on environmental topics of interest to the club. The contributions have come from government agencies, NGOs, schools, local businesses, and private citizens. Hiking and spending time in nature is slowly being accepted as a lifetime fitness activity in our community. There is an existing adult hiking club that reached out to us during the planning stages of our project and offered their advice and technical support, both in forming a club and in scouting out local hiking routes. We have also received support from the National Park office in our community, which has provided maps of hiking routes, and an opportunity to collaborate on an environmental service project. Lastly, there is an NGO in our community called IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare) have allowed us to use their office as meeting space for our club, and have given us a wealth of information on their work with endangered species in our area.

One of the benefits of having a club whose members are older youth/young adults (ages 18-29), is that they are a perfect "bridge" between younger school aged youth and older adults. They have enough knowledge and experience to both serve as mentors to the next generation of environmentalists and outdoor enthusiasts, and to bring their new ideas and energy to the older generation. In the future, the club could look for fundraising or other revenue generation opportunities needed to pay for these trips if they decided they wanted to explore different natural areas.

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