Five months after the workshop in Bonn, I feel very satisfied of my first half year as a UNV. I am really proud of working as an expert on water and environment at the Representation of the FAO in Marocco! This being my first professional experience in the UN system, and the first experience of the FAO with a UNV, the first days were not easy. There was a need to study each other, to define our exact roles and tasks! Fortunately, it didn’t take too long, largely thanks to the “savoir faire” of my Chief and the cooperation of my colleagues. After only six days I was already on the field with the Pilot Project GCP/MOR/033/SPA to “save and enhance the irrigation water in the Doukkala”. For the first time I was in touch with the farmers, trying to really understand what their needs and challenges are, something one cannot do merely by reading documents in an office. As time goes by, so do the missions: two, three, four trips to the field to check on progresses, to coordinate a project documentary, to organize a final workshop and to collect the project’s needs (ex: replacement parts, diesel tanks, market experts) My favorite part of this all is the sense of hospitality that Moroccans have. Being invited for lunch and tea, spending time with farmers during their daily activities (playing with their children), forcing yourself to think in their ways, is something unforgettable. At the same time, it wasn’t easy to convert and explain the farmers’ requirements and expectations during high level meetings with national and international partners and local authorities, even with the support of headquarters. The project, which started in 2007, ended last June and it was a great success. Considering it was a pilot project in the framework of the “Plan Maroc Vert” (National Moroccan strategy to improve the Value of Agriculture), the conclusions after the final workshop gained the full support of the Ministry af Agriculture and other participants. In parallel with this project I was asked to guarantee the monitoring and evaluation of another one, this time in Midelt on the Tatiouine watershed management. This project gave me the chance to work with local associations, to meet with nomads, and to see with my own eyes what impact climate changes has on forests and, consequently, on the communities’ social life. This inter-regional project is still ongoing and after the new coordinator’s arrival, we are really advancing well. New activities in the field, new partners are identified and a working group is constituted to implement and coordinate the work of the local administration. We are working hard to obtain more financial resources and support for this project. Another important dossier I am working on and really feel addicted to, is SIPAM. This is a multi-aspects project on the valorization of the agri-cultural heritage of the local communities. The pilot-site is in Imilchil. My first mission to this project included such an original experience: in the middle of the desert, I was taken down inside the khettara, a system of subsurface irrigation channels, 13 meters below the surface, scary but amazing! What I like the most? The fact that I’m always in touch with the direct beneficiaries, that I can see the results of our job with my own eyes and touch them with my hands. I’m really excited and curious about what my next six months here will bring. But I have a feeling it’ll be fantastic, inch’allah!
Simone Targetti Ferri Volontaire des Nations Unies Chargé de programme dans le domaine de l’eau et de l’environnement Rabat