We are all in
Perma Atlas inspires the local communities of the High Atlas to work on a sustainable future. Our focus is on repairing the ecosystem and continuously engaging with society.
Because of the concrete set of steps towards revitalizing the economy of the valleys, the locals gain perspective on a future in their own region. This grows confidence, independence and a sense of responsibility with the people.
Perma Atlas is run by Moroccan Dutch, that deeply understand the local culture and circumstances, and have access to a global network of knowledge and solutions.
In the Ounila Valley (Ouarzazate province) lies the village of Anguelz, with 1200 inhabitants, located on the upper parts of the river Assif Aounil. It is located on an altitude of 1800 meters in the dry eastern regions of the High Atlas.
Because of climate change the droughts in the region are intensified, and rainfall becomes even more unpredictable. The slopes above the villages erode even further, also because traditional sustainable methods were replaced by modern agricultural techniques and a more individualistic lifestyle.
In recent years, there were various occasions of floods and landslides with great damage after a heavy downpour. The region struggled with poverty resulting in an increase in immigration out of the region.
Goals for the development of viable villages.
- Sufficient food and drinking water
- Build sustainable (economical) independence
- Dynamic, supportive and cooperative community
- The people in charge take responsibility for the welfare of the whole village, also in the long-term
- Convert the region to a profitable agricultural region through permaculture
Working towards a sustainable solution
A group of Anguelz youth tried to organise themselves to repair the damage to the fields and houses. They called in for help with Latifa Oumlil.
Latifa is born in Anguelz, and as a child moved to The Netherlands where she has been living for over 40 years. With a background as a social worker, she is dedicated to help out the village and in 2015 started the nonprofit Perma Atlas.
Perma Atlas stimulates the local communities to shape their confidence and take responsibility for their own future and the future of their environment.
This means collaborating and restructuring their environment such that it is able to support their existence through sustainable methods.
Permaculture and old Berber traditions
Permaculture is the practice of performing agricultural activities and landscaping where both people and nature benefit in a sustainable way.
It is focussed on working with nature instead of against it; serve the needs of the farmer, the hotel owner or tour guide without exhausting nature.
You can find many elements of permaculture in the old Berber traditions in the High Atlas.
An eroded mountain does not have vegetation left and so cannot catch or retain water. The growth of plants now is further reduced, and the rich nutritious top layer of the soil is flushed away. By building dams (gabions) in water trenches (chaba) and small channels (swales) on the slopes we can counter further erosion.