Harvesting the Clouds: Women and Equality in Berber Morocco

Lecture and Film Screening

Monday, November 7th

3-4.30pm in Marshall 490

This event is sponsored by the Center for Middle Eastern Studies and the American Institute for Maghrib Studies

Dr. Jamila Bargach, a Moroccan cultural anthropologist, is the Director of Dar Si-Hmad for Development, Education, and Culture, an independent, non-profit, non-governmental organization that she runs with her husband. Dar Si-Hmad works to improve the quality of life for people of the Aït Baamrane region on the Southern Atlantic coast of Morocco.  Dr. Bargach has previously conducted research on adoption in Morocco (Orphans of Islam: Family, Abandonment, and Secret Adoption in Morocco, 2002) and she was the founder and director of Tilila, a shelter for battered women in Casablanca (2006-2009).  Dar Si-Hmad works primarily in the southern part of Morocco in the Aït Baamrane region where they have a number of projects.  For example, Dar Si-Hmad hosts field schools for students from Europe and the U.S. with the goal of creating cultural exchange. Outsiders learn about this area and its needs and the villagers learn about the outside world.

One of Dar Si-Hmad’s most interesting projects is fog harvesting. Women in the villages of the Aït Baamrane region walk for hours to get water each day. However, this is an area that experiences dense fog for several months of the year and new technology allows fog to be “harvested” in nets, creating abundant water. Dar Si-Hmad is working to develop fog-collection facilities in the Aït Baamrane to provide water for the villages there. Women and young girls would then have far more time for education once the need to spend hours on water collection is gone.

Dr. Bargach will focus specifically on the fog harvesting project.  She will also show and discuss the short (17m) film TAGUT (“Fog” in Tashelhit) which describes the conditions in the villages of the Aït Baamrane and the desperate need for new sources of water.  Here is a trailer for the film:http://vimeo.com/28553227

More information about Dr. Bargach and her projects are available on the School for Advanced Research website:

Image of fog harvesting nets:

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