Meet Ali Fagouri, a young activist from Morocco, who works to protect pastures and pastoralism in Upper Moulouya.
Ali Fagouri is one of the over 100 young people from across the world who will gather in Jordan at the end of May for the first ever Global Land Forum Youth. The event will give young leaders working on land rights the opportunity to meet and exchange ideas and, together, to propose a youth agenda to address the main challenges they face in accessing land.
Teacher in a primary school in a mountainous area of Morocco, Ali was born in a pastoralist family and is the founding member of the Pastoral Association Ait Ben Yacoub APABY in Upper Moulouya.
We talked to him about his work and what he expects from the Global Land Forum Youth.
Can you describe the area where your community lives?
Ait Béni Yacoub, is part of the Moulouya valley. Since the Middle Ages, nomad or semi-nomad tribes have been crossing it to continue towards the Central and Atlantic plains. This is the case of the Bnihsene tribe, for instance. We found evidence that they used to live here before they settled in the Atlantic plains of Gharb.
Ait Béni Yacoub is roughly 10,000 hectares of forests, 7,500 hectares of collective pastures and 6,000 hectares of private land. About 5000 pastoralists live here with almost 20,000 small animals.
Tell us about APABY. Why was the organisation created and what is the goal?
The organisation was created to protect the collective pastoral areas of the Ait Ben Yacoub community, which are threatened by foreign farmers who clear the pastures.
We also want to encourage transhumance and the sustainable management of natural resources. More importantly, we would like to fight the idea that livestock farming, as we do it, has a negative impact on the environment and contributes to climate change. In order to do that, we are collecting and disseminating pastoral knowledge and traditional livestock techniques that are resilient to climate change.
What would you like people to know about pastoralists’ land rights?
I would like people to see and understand that there are different types of pastoralism and that securing housing, land and property rights underpins the broader realization and enjoyment of human rights and it contributes to the socio-economic development of societies.
What do you think is the role of young people like yourself in protecting pastures and pastoralism as a way of life?
I believe that, as young people, we have the power to organise ourselves to better manage pastures collectively. We are also in the position to be active and propose new ideas to protect pastures and pastoralism.
What are you hoping to learn from the GLFY?
My aim behind participating in the GLFY is to exchange experiences with people from all over the globe. I would also like to improve my abilities by taking advantage of new ideas in order to help and to do good with my community and to develop my qualities in the field of land and grazing.