WiSER Pioneers tackle climate challenges in water-stressed Morocco

19 JUN 2024
News WiSER
  • WiSER Cares program completes a five-day course on adaptive agriculture in Marrakesh, Morocco.

  • Course focused on addressing three core climate challenges facing the agriculture sector: water scarcity, soil degradation and erosion, and invasive pests and diseases.

  • Eighteen WiSER Pioneers and local participants discovered invaluable insights into climate-resilient adaptive agriculture.

Women in Sustainability, Environment, and Renewable Energy (WiSER) - a global initiative established by the UAE’s two leading sustainability champions, Masdar and the Zayed Sustainability Prize - has successfully completed the latest instalment of its WiSER Cares program.

Taking place in Marrakesh, and entitled, “Adaptive Agriculture: Innovations in Technology and Practice for Water-Scarce Communities," the course formed part of WiSER's multidisciplinary program to engage members in sustainable community development.

Dr. Lamya Fawwaz, Masdar’s Executive Director of Brand & Strategic Initiatives and WiSER Program Director emphasized the direct impact of the course on the participants’ understanding of water access issues: “We are proud to offer the WiSER Cares course in Morocco as part of Masdar’s long-running effort to empower and equip young women with the knowledge and skills necessary to lead their communities and the world in building a more sustainable future.

“Through our core pillars of education, engagement and empowerment, WiSER Cares aims to provide courses that enhance the practical, theoretical and leadership skills of women through cultural exchange and building connections through a sustainability lens that works to accelerate the clean energy transition in rural off-grid communities,” added Dr. Fawwaz.

The course, led by global and local experts, focused on addressing three core climate challenges facing the agriculture sector: water scarcity, soil degradation and erosion, and the threat posed by invasive pests and diseases. It brought together 18 women – 13 WiSER Pioneers and 5 Moroccan professionals – to discover invaluable insights into the power of climate-resilient adaptive agriculture.

Organizations engaged included the University Mohammed VI Polytechnic (UM6P), Fondation Mohammed VI Pour La Protection De L’Environnement, National Institute of Research in Agronomy (INRA) CRRA, Museum Mohammed VI for the Water Civilization, CIPA-Pierre Rabhi Farm, and Gardens of Jnane Tamsna.

Participants were guided through a program of lectures and practical exercises, including site visits to farms, research centres, and agribusinesses. The immersive hands-on experience offered participants a firsthand look at the climate challenges faced by water-scarce communities. This facilitated discussions on a wide range of agriculture adaptation strategies aimed at tackling food insecurity and increase economic independence.

"This course provided an invaluable opportunity to learn about the innovative approaches used by various communities, institutions and pioneering civil organizations in adaptive agriculture and apply those lessons to real-world challenges," said Tosin George, Solar Operations Consultant at Garfana Energy and 2024 WiSER Pioneer. "I will take many important learnings and insights back to my community, and this will help prepare us better for the climate challenges that we are facing."

The program concluded with workshops on planting and harvesting, a demonstration of how solar energy can be harnessed for water pumping and conservation, as well as a visit to the Museum of the Water Civilization in Marrakesh, which focused on traditional water management and community engagement.

“We were thrilled to offer this immersive learning experience as part of the WiSER Cares initiative,” said Dr. Redouane Choukrallah, Senior Professor, Agricultural Innovation and Technology Transfer Center (AIITC) and University Mohammed VI Polytechnic (UM6P). “Equipping the next generation of female leaders with the knowledge and tools to tackle climate challenges is crucial for building resilient, food secure communities.”

WiSER is a global initiative dedicated to empowering women to be drivers of sustainable change and innovation. WiSER is born of the UAE leadership’s longstanding and continuing commitment to the role of women; a commitment traced directly back to the vision of the late founding father Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. Aligned to global net-zero goals, WiSER is also rooted in a recognition that more needs to be done to support women in the global mission to tackle climate change.

First launched in 2018, WiSER Pioneers is a year-long program hosted annually that offers women from across the world, aged 25 to 35, access to bespoke educational workshops and global networking opportunities to inspire sustainability leadership.