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Morocco’s Empowered Rebuilding Path to Sustainable Recovery after Devastating Earthquake

Caption: Empowered Rebuilding workshop in the Al Haouz province of Morocco, 9 October 2023. Photo: High Atlas Foundation.

In The Beginning: Empowered Rebuilding

Marrakech, Morocco – In the wake of a recent catastrophic earthquake that rocked the High Atlas Mountain ranges, Morocco is on a path to rebuilding, drawing inspiration from an unexpected source: the first chapter of the Torah, “In the Beginning.” This timeless scripture, considered divine by the Abrahamic religions of Judaism, Islam, and Christianity, holds a powerful lesson that resonates with the ongoing efforts to ensure the sustainable development of communities affected by the disaster.

The foundational premise that consensus leads to sustainability emerges from the biblical account of creation. In Genesis 1:26, we encounter the phrase, “Then God said, ‘Let us make mankind…'”

This plural reference to “us” has long puzzled scholars and theologians. The ancient Midrash, a Talmudic biblical interpretation, offers a compelling explanation, suggesting that administering angels were brought into the discussion to avoid inciting strife and jealousy among them. This implies that consultation and inclusion in decision-making are essential for resilient community growth.

Rebuilding in the Face of Adversity

empowered rebuilding workshop in morocco. photo: High Atlas Foundation
empowered rebuilding workshop in morocco. photo: High Atlas Foundation

In Morocco, a nation rebuilding in the face of adversity, there are already established national policies, programs, and charters that emphasize community participation in local development planning. However, experience has shown that despite the freedom to voice their priorities, people may not always feel empowered to do so. This underscores the importance of psychosocial empowerment, launching rebuilding efforts alongside sessions that encourage individuals and communities to explore their emotional well-being and reimagine their futures.

Psychosocial empowerment aims to help individuals manage emotional pain and strengthen their resolve to pursue their goals, a vital component of both personal and collective rebuilding. This process acknowledges that rebuilding, like sustainable development, is not without its challenges but offers a pathway to resilience.

Another valuable lesson from “In the Beginning” comes from the reactions of Adam, Eve, and Cain when confronted by God for their misdeeds. None of them took responsibility for their actions, a deeply rooted human inclination. Embracing responsibility allows individuals and communities to reframe events in their lives and identify corrective actions for growth and rebuilding.

Community-Driven Projects

Morocco’s government is committed to rebuilding the devastated communities, with a focus on sustainability.

The dedication of public resources and agencies should prioritize community ownership to ensure maximum impact and avoid shirking responsibility. Community-driven projects, such as water supply for irrigation and drinking, terracing the mountains to combat erosion, and planting native trees, hold the promise of rebuilding a more sustainable future.

“In the Beginning” highlights the importance of seeds, plants, and trees in the natural world. The biodiversity of our environment, as explained in the Midrash, has far-reaching consequences. Moroccan farming families aspire to cultivate a diverse range of endemic plant life, and this desire is a cornerstone of resilient society.

Morocco’s National Initiative for Human Development, a multi-billion-dollar program, offers valuable insights. It is essential to ensure that the program aligns with the full range of project priorities, simplifies access for rural communities, and accepts diverse application methods, including oral presentations for illiterate participants.

Abrahamic civilizations unite in their agreement on the profound truths embedded in “In the Beginning.” In Morocco, where the populations of these civilizations have historically coexisted, solidarity prevails as the Kingdom works toward sustainable rebuilding. The Genesis account provides a timeless guide emphasizing inclusion, responsibility, and the nurturing of native seeds, all of which are vital in these critical times.

Caption: Empowered Rebuilding workshop in the Al Haouz province of Morocco, 9 October 2023. Photo: High Atlas Foundation.
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