The Tighza Project (and Village Association)
Mohamed El Qasemy is one of the chiefs of the Tighza Village Association and has been running the Tighza Project since March 2007 when it was set up by Exodus the London based Trekking and Walking tour operator. Years earlier Exodus provided labour and funding for piped drinking water for the villages of Tighza and to build a toilet block for the school which was previously without toilets. Since 2007 Exodus has run many successful volunteer trips to Tighza.
Our aim for the Project
We aim to be as sustainable as possible and help, not dictate to local people. We are too small to be a registered charity but we do a lot of project work in the villages of Tighza. We work alongside the Tighza Village Association, for 10 years we worked with Baraka Community Partnerships (a registered charity who are now concentrating their efforts more now in other developing countries but still have a strong relationship with the village, the plan was always that the village should become self sustainable) and we are continuing to work with Exodus. The villages contribute what they can afford fundwise, labour and food for the workers, while the remaining funding comes from local tourism and visitors to Tighza who feel compelled to help out. In addition money earned by the Homestays, helps the host families to pay for making alterations or repairs to homes, medical expenses as well as every day living costs. At Riad Kasbah Oliver it is also possible to support women and children through buying local craft items made by villagers including earrings, bracelets, Berber rugs and necklaces.
By coming on a Homestay or Riad Kasbah Oliver holiday you can aid the local community to support themselves.
We shop locally and use local village produce as much as possible
Generate income locally for villagers
Use local services i.e. mules, village minibus and taxis
We try to get 5 litre bottles of water which are reused to collect drinking water. Even 1.5 litre bottles are reused by villagers. Reducing plastic waste. In addition there is now a recycling collection for plastic bottles.
We encourage regular trekkers and travellers to bring water treatment tablets or purchase water filtration products rather than purchasing plastic bottled water. Many similar systems are available including the StrawForLife to name just one we are familiar with. This allows travellers to drink out of any of the water sources, lake, tap water and so on. (Tap Water is safe to brush your teeth directly if just brushing and swilling out)
Vegetable waste is fed to the livestock
Waste material from the animals is taken out onto the small fields and used as fertiliser
Meat waste is given to cats and dogs in the village
Bread is left to harden and distributed to local shepherds to feed their dogs
In 2012 we won the Trophee du Maroc Tourism Responsable for our projects with Exodus and Baraka Community partnerships.
The school is getting an overhaul, replacing the old prefab classrooms with new ones which will have wood burning stoves for the cool winter months and new classroom furniture.
We are hoping to raise more money for the learning room for the older ladies empowering them to manage their households and enjoy the benefits that reading and writing can give them.
Irrigation channel replacements continues, locating a new water source is also a key issue due to low rainfall over the last few years. The replacement of current narrow water pipes has not happened as yet as it is awaiting government approval.
Clothing distribution continues as with every year to those in need.
The hamam floor was replaced to improve heat efficiency and fuel economy.
Visiting health professionals came to the village in July 2018. An educational contingent also visited in late 2018 and provided wood burners for the classrooms and wellington boots for the children.
The Village Association are now responsible for funding operations through donations made to the association and money generated by the village hamam once expenses have been taken into consideration.
The village hamam was opened to visitors on certain days.
A severe storm (now classed as a natural disaster) battered the South of Morocco 21-23 November 2014. From March 2015, with help from volunteer groups and individual travellers, around 400 metres of irrigation channels, several bridges and channels by houses were cleared, strengthened and rebuilt with more permanent structures.
The preschool classroom was completed thanks to volunteer groups who came over the Summer 2015, 2016 and 2017.
A Belgian charity built a new toilet block for the school.
The Moroccan Government paid for a village woman to teach 36 of the village older ladies to read, write and life skills.
"You educate the women, you educate the village".
Thanks to donations made to Baraka Community Partnerships 19 life changing medical operations took place 4 hernia operations (3 on young boys), 4 goiter ops 1 on a young man in his early 20s another on a young mum of 1 who had multiple goiters, 7 Cataract surgeries; 2 on elderly ladies, 3 Gall stone operations. (Funding for operations is split between what the family of the patient can afford and other funding available through the Tighza projects).