By Carissa Marnce, GAIA Africa Communications Officer

The Coronavirus pandemic has led to many in-person learning activities around the world being postponed. However, Zero Zbel of Morocco has managed to overcome this obstacle through hosting an online academy that delved into topics about waste management and waste reduction strategies.

The academy took place from the 13 to 21 May 2020, and saw participants from different walks of life come together to partake in the seven day event. The event was conducted in a mixture of Arabic, French and English, in an effort to accommodate the linguistic diversity of the participants and guest speakers.

During the sessions, speakers discussed topical issues on sustainable development, waste management in Morocco, as well as unpacking real and false solutions regarding recycling, the informal sector and incineration. Participants were also invited to watch documentaries that addressed plastic pollution, greenwashing and the circular economy, along with some videos that were produced by Zero Zbel. 

Soukaïna Aziz El Idrissi from Zero Zbel, said that hosting a virtual academy came with the advantage of being able to reach more people, who otherwise wouldn’t be able to attend. 

“ We had a range of different demographics applying to the Zero Zbel academy. Our participants were individuals who worked within domains that are very valuable. We considered them as allies who can assist us with putting in place zero waste projects,” said Soukaïna. 

The academy received as many as 150 applications, that were then shortlisted to 12 final applicants. Many of the participants walked away inspired to apply what they learned from the academy. 

“As a result of the academy, we have been invited by an individual who works at a startup incubator in Casablanca to give a workshop about waste reduction strategies to a group of environmentally-minded female entrepreneurs. There are also other ideas brewing, like a possible zero-waste practices guide,”said Soukaïna. 

The team is planning to organize another Zero Zbel academy, but are waiting to see how the lockdown policies in Morocco unfold, which will determine whether they are able to organize a physical gathering or another online academy. 

Participants joined the Zero Zbel academy virtually