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CIVIL SOCIETY > MOROCCO

Children: ambassadors for sustainable energy Being eco-friendly is a civic act: www.enpi-info.eu this is the message to emerge from the ‘energy days’ organised in Salé, the first town in Africa and the Arab world to have signed up to the Covenant of Mayors. An approach where local communities are heavily involved is at the centre of the framework of the SURE project, which is financed by the European Union and aims to help local authorities in their efforts towards integrating sustainable energy solutions in their urban planning. The goal is to make citizens responsible partners in the use of renewable energy. Text and photos by: Hicham Houdaïfa SALÉ - "Before leaving the house, when we've finished watching TV, I turn it off straight away. Energy is priceless!" Twelve-year-old Fadela, has got the message: being eco-friendly is, above all, a civic act by a responsible citizen. This is the message communicated by the ‘energy days’ organised by Salé, the twin town of Rabat. In 2011, Salé became the first town in the Arab world to sign the Covenant of Mayors, by which it is committed to reducing its CO2 emissions by 20% by 2020. Salé was also chosen to host the awareness-raising days as part of the SURE European project on renewable energy in urban areas. "This event helps to draw the attention of the local population to the importance of protecting the environment and changing their energy consumption habits," explains Anass Laâlou, coordinator of the SURE project in Morocco, developed in the framework of the regional CIUDAD programme financed by the European Union. Thanks to this project, two EU towns, Murcia (Spain) and Friedrichshafen (Germany), both of which have extensive experience in sustainable urban energy planning, have guided Polotsk (Belarus) and Salé through the process of This publication does fulfilling the obligations of the Covenant of Mayors. The Covenant of Mayors is a voluntary agreement not represent the signed by more than 4,500 towns around the world that are willofficial view of the EC ing to promote sustainable energy planning in urban areas. or the EU institutions. What does this mean in concrete terms? By signing the EU Neighbourhood Info Centre The EC accepts no Covenant, the signatory towns commit to drafting an action Feature no. 85 responsibility or plan to reduce CO2 emissions by increasing energy efficiency This is a series of features on projects liability whatsoever funded by the EU, prepared by and promoting the use of renewable energy sources. with regard to its content.

Everyday actions that make a difference We are at Salé town hall, the place where citizens come every day to ask for copies of birth certificates and other certificates

journalists and photographers on the ground or the EU Neighbourhood Info Centre. © 2013 EU/Neighbourhood Info Centre


Children: ambassadors for sustainable energy

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EU Neighbourhood Info Centre – Feature no. 85

n The theatre full of children from different areas of Salé

‘Children are the country’s future. If we encourage them from a young age to have a responsible attitude towards energy, it will definitely pay off.’ n An awareness raising leaflet against the unplanned disposal of household refuse

n The European Union is partner of the Energy Days

of residence. The town hall was chosen to organise the awareness-raising activities and the choice is fully justified: Salé's decision to sign the Covenant of Mayors is of major significance, it commits the town to achieving the objectives set by the European Union, which involve implementing an action plan for sustainable energy within its territory, with the aim of reducing CO2 emissions by at least 20% by 2020. The ‘energy days’ are an opportunity for the town of Salé to share its experience with other towns interested in sustainable development in order to facilitate their membership to the international network of the Covenant of Mayors. Next to the town hall, in a specially designated area, awareness-raising workshops for housewives take place. It is a highly interactive programme led by trainers from the ‘Women, Water and Environment Association’, true ambassadors of sustainable energy. "Our role is to speak to housewives and advise them of the everyday actions that can make a difference, such as ways to reduce energy consumption in order to minimise energy bills," explains Ms Hasnaa Chihabi, Chairwoman of the association. During the day, the trainers record vox pop interviews with housewives and young people. "The aim of this type of activity is to start a debate and, from there, generate a discussion with citizens. The objective is always the same; to raise awareness of the importance of energy efficiency," adds Mr Laâlou.

‘Our work involves speaking to housewives and advising them of the everyday actions that can make a difference, such as ways to reduce energy consumption in order minimise energy bills.’

‘Turn the computer off when you’re not working ...’ Children are the second target group. "They are the counn Samah and Ms Fouzia El try’s future. If we encourage them from a young age to Harrati, secretary general of the association Yasmine have a responsible attitude towards energy, it will definitely pay off," believes Mr Laâlou. The children are happy to be taking part in the exhibition that has been organised in the town of Salé and in the local theatre. Singing and art activities, a painting competition and a theatre workshop on energy are just a few of the fun activities enjoyed by some fifty children, thanks largely to the Yasmine Association, which is very active in the energy field. Proudly wearing a T-shirt with the SURE initials, the children represent a broader dimen- n Salé, a green town; more than just a slogan for sion of the ‘energy days’: "We have been working in the energy field for more than seven children at the Jasmine years. We have organised dozens of awareness-raising activities for the children of Salé, Association particularly in the disadvantaged areas of Hay Salam, Sidi Moussa and Btana," explains Ms Fouzia El Harrati, Secretary General of Yasmine. n The Dougga theatre, Tunisia When we meet some children in the local theatre, Fadela, aged 12, explains: "When I leave a room at home, I turn the light off straight away to save energy." Samah, aged 11, has finally been able to convince his grandfather to turn off the computer when he isn’t working. And Zakaria, aged 15, thinks about his wallet: "When you think about the money you can save by watching your energy consumption, it’s an easy choice to make." Not turning the electricity on in the morning when there is sunlight, being careful


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Children: ambassadors for sustainable energy EU Neighbourhood Info Centre – Feature no. 85

n The entrance of the Municipality’s theatre

not to leave the fridge door open too long or the TV on when you’re not watching it, using LED lights or using renewable energy are all ways of using energy responsibly. The children soon demonstrate that they understand the importance of moderating energy use. This goes to show that educating young children is key to creating the eco-friendly citizens of tomorrow.

‘Before leaving the house, when we've finished watching TV, I turn it off straight away. Energy is priceless!’

CIUDAD – Sustainable urban development http://www.ciudad-programme.eu/index.php The CIUDAD programme aims to help local governments in the ENPI region address problems relating to urban development, by encouraging cooperation between local actors and their EU counterparts. Participating countries: Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Occupied Palestinian Territory, Syria, Tunisia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Russia, Ukraine

Budget: €14 million

Duration: 2009-2013

SURE - Sustainable urban energy in the ENPI region – towards the Covenant of Mayors http://www.ciudad-programme.eu/grant_profile.php?lang=1&country_id=10& grant_id=14 Location of activities: Morocco, Belarus

Budget: total budget €791,725; EU contribution: €616,725

Time frame: 30 months

To find out more: Project information sheet: http://www.ciudad-programme.eu/grant_profile.php?lang=1&country_id=10&grant_id=14 CIUDAD – Project overview: http://www.enpi-info.eu/maineast.php?id=310&id_type=10 CIUDAD – website: http://www.ciudad-programme.eu/about.php?lang=1 The Covenant of Mayors: www.eumayors.eu EU Neighbourhood Info Centre – ENERGY: http://www.enpi-info.eu/thememed.php?subject=14&lang_id=450

EU Neighbourhood Info Centre An ENPI project The EU Neighbourhood Info Centre is an EU-funded Regional Information and Communication project highlighting the partnership between the EU and Neighbouring countries. The project is managed by Action Global Communications.

www.enpi-info.eu

Children: ambassadors for sustainable energy  

Being eco-friendly is a civic act: this is the message to emerge from the ‘energy days’ organised in Salé, the first town in Africaand the...

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