Keeping villages clean in the Atlas Mountains

Eve Branson Foundation_Clean Villages Programme
Eve Branson Foundation
Clare Kelly
by Clare Kelly
7 May 2021
The Eve Branson Foundation (EBF) is leading a new initiative, Clean Villages, to help tackle the waste problem around Asni, a gateway town to the Atlas Mountains in Morocco.

Waste management in the region has been problematic for years, with many rural villages having limited access to litter collection and needing to drive for over an hour to the nearest disposal and treatment facility.

COVID-19 has worsened the problem, with more litter being created by disposable masks and gloves. Addressing the situation is now even more of a priority.

According to one local: “Many people just do not have their household waste collected. Rubbish can travel down to the riverbed or onto land adjacent to housing, causing concern about pollution and our public health.”

Eve Branson Foundation
Eve Branson Foundation

EBF operates three craft centres in the Atlas Mountains and sees first-hand the damaging effects that poor waste management can have on the region’s precious eco-system. This insight has led to the team launching the Clean Villages campaign. Their successful pilot programme has already resulted in household rubbish being collected three to four times a week from several collection points.

“I am thrilled to hear that a valley-wide litter project is being launched, bringing together three villages to participate in a collaborative project to keep the landscape and waters clean. Environmental issues are so pressing and I believe grass-roots projects as well as transnational ones, are a part of the road map out of the crisis. I am very happy that the Eve Branson Foundation is a part of a network of actors coming together to care for the land and community,” said Florence Devereux, EBF Advisor.

Eve Branson Foundation
Eve Branson Foundation

With the support of Virgin Unite and Virgin Atlantic pilot Chris Hall’s Climb Morocco Challenge, EBF is now rolling the project out to three of the worst affected and less accessible villages close to the riverbed: Tansghart, Asselda and Tamassit.

Working in partnership with Virgin Limited Edition's property Kasbah Tamadot and local representatives, a volunteer group has been formed to engage with local families and the wider authorities to collectively tackle the root cause. The group will encourage community members to participate in designing the programme and encourage a small, monetary contribution per household for those who can afford it.

EBF President, Houssain Bousouka, explained: “We saw the importance of making our community clean as well as meeting another challenge, that of unemployment. Through this initiative, we can create jobs and mobilise the community to think more about how to improve waste management."

Eve Branson Foundation
Eve Branson Foundation

The Clean Villages initiative will create jobs for the local workforce with the construction of village waste collection points and the weekly removal of rubbish to a safe processing site. Over 600 households will benefit and in turn, support cultural tourism, promoting the region as a clean and well-managed rural environment that wants to tackle the wider global waste issue.

The Eve Branson Foundation continues to rely on people’s generous donations to be able to continue Eve's legacy of helping rural communities in the Atlas Mountains in Morocco. Right now, these communities need support more than ever due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Your donation could help pay for the life-changing tools to transform a young person’s future or for life-enhancing projects like these to continue. The Eve Branson Foundation relies heavily on support from individuals – every contribution goes directly to the frontline to fund core programmes.