Fighting the Sand: The Role of Education in Combating Desertification
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Over 40% of the world’s land surface is covered by semi-arid and arid environments, which are home to over one billion people. These semi-arid and arid environments are subject to desertification. Africa is a heavily degraded continent, with desertification affecting over 46% of the continent’s surface. In the case of Morocco, approximately 90% of the land is classified as desert. The documentary ‘Oasis in de Orient’ is what started the interest in desertification for this thesis. M’hamid el Ghizlane is an example of a town that is threatened by desertification, causing land degradation, a change in livelihood and the displacement of people. Here, migration is seen as the best adaptation strategy to the change in environment and livelihood. Internationally as well as in Morocco there are initiatives that focus on fighting desertification using projects and plans to protect heavily degraded areas. However, the environment keeps deteriorating and the threat by desertification has gotten worse over the years. Education is seen as a good tool to shape behaviour and attitude into an environmentally positive way and to provide people with technical knowledge to prevent disasters from happening. Therefore, this research focusses on the role of education in the fight against desertification. Document analysis and a case study using interviews and observations have been used to gather data on this subject and to add to the literature on the relationship between education and desertification.