Greenlight Students Returning from Morocco with New Projects

By: cp
Greenlight students conducting experiments on solar power with the girls at the boarding school // Photo by Simone Schede

The Association Dar Taliba in Amskroud, which runs the boarding school and enables 180 young girls from poorer backgrounds to attend secondary school, is Greenlight's latest addition. Without the boarding school, school attendance for the girls coming from the rural pre-Atlas region would not be possible because of the long distances to school, among other reasons. With the support of the Cents for Help program of the Robert Bosch Company and the Madame-Ilsa-Foundation from Bühlertal, a photovoltaic system is to be installed here next fall. The electricity costs saved as a result will then help to finance the association in the long term. In addition, learning computers and software will provide the girls with a future-oriented education. The second project, the House of Street Children of the AHLI Association in Taroudant, is similarly financed. Here, 120 children and teenagers who have lost all contact with their families get a roof over their heads and also receive an education or training.

The technical concept as well as the implementation of the energy system and IT infrastructure will be carried out jointly by German and Moroccan students, intensifying intercultural exchange. Ten students from Offenburg prepared the project in a one-week excursion from March 3-10, 2019. The team looked at where and how the PV modules are to be installed and how cables and other components are to be installed. However, the Greenlight Initiative is not only concerned about technical assistance with the installation of solar systems. "The great openness and curiosity of all involved provides the students an intensive personal exchange and new insights into other cultures," says project manager Professor Michael Schmidt. Helping students to help themselves is an important part of the Greenlight idea. Thus our students also support the local school students' technical understanding of the newly installed energy supply. They had brought along practical hands-on experiments on electricity and solar energy, which were received with great enthusiasm in both Amskroud and Taroundant.

Support for Greenlight and also the new SAVE² research collaboration particularly comes from the Baden-Württemberg Stiftung and facilitates intercultural exchange between German and Moroccan students, professors and other university members. "This support allows us to build up a strong personal network and create trust," explains Prof. Schmidt. "It is not enough to go and visit on-site once a year, install something and leave again. Projects are much more sustainable if they are planned together from the start and then continue to be worked on locally."

 

Background

GREENLIGHT is a joint initiative of Offenburg University students and the Madame Ilsa Foundation of Bühlertal with students from our two Moroccan partner universities as well as other partners. Their shared goal is the implementation of aid projects in the field of solar energy and education, the sustainable improvement of living conditions, especially for children and adolescents in Morocco, as well as intercultural exchange and project experience for the participating students.

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