From where I stand: Souhad Azennoud
In our mountain village here in Kissane, in Morocco's Taounate Province, we can see the impact of climate change. People notice it and say, ‘Before, the wheat was higher and didn't need to be sprayed’. I have the impression that our ancestors’ agricultural know-how is also being lost—and that makes the situation even worse.
If we leave the region like this, we are heading for disaster. I think one of the solutions is agroecology, a practice that brings people and nature back into harmony and which I support. Here, we women are the most receptive to the idea of protecting our local, traditional seeds. In fact, we have created a seed exchange group. Women are most affected by climate change since they work outside more often. They are also the most active in calling for the need to adapt to climate change.
Our goal is for our whole village to understand the importance of sustainable agriculture. But we need to link this awareness to income-generating activities. If women earn a good living they will stay in the countryside. Otherwise they will urge their family to leave. We cannot act alone; we need to come together! Ministers, for example, only listen to their own groups of people. I belong to one agricultural cooperative and I have founded others: I encourage people, and women, to work together. This is what we are doing at our level. But climate change is a global phenomenon: the whole world needs to work together!”
Souhad Azennoud, 53, from the village of Kissane, Morocco, is one of more than 200 women to benefit from a training programme organized by Terre et Humanisme and UN Women as part of a project supporting female seed merchants for sustainable development. A founding member of the agricultural cooperative Ariaf Kissane and renowned as a pioneer of agroecology, Souhad was awarded 1st prize at the Terre de Femmes Maroc ceremony in 2016. Her work is directly linked to Sustainable Development Goal 13, which aims to address climate change and its impacts, and SDG 15, which seeks to ensure the preservation of mountain ecosystems, especially their biodiversity, for sustainable development.
Read more stories in the “From where I stand...” editorial series.