20th edition of the JRE: 19 award-winning reports

A total of 19 works by middle and high school students and students were awarded as part of the contest of Young Reporters for the Environment of the Mohammed VI Foundation for the protection of the Environment, and this in three reporting categories: Photographic, Written and Video.

The 2021-2022 school and university year was that of the 20th edition of the Young Reporters for the Environment competition, introduced in Morocco by the Mohammed VI Foundation for the Protection of the Environment, chaired by Lalla Hasnaa, in partnership with the Ministry of National Education, Preschool and Sports.

In twenty years, the success of this competition designed by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) has never wavered. It saw more than 150,000 young people from all the academies of the kingdom participate, whose reports have even been awarded 31 times in the international competition.

This success the competition owes to its format, in the sense that it makes young people, the time of a report, actors of the environment. He offers them the opportunity to work each year on a theme and to go into the field to carry out an investigation using journalistic techniques under the supervision of a teacher, to analyze, testify and propose solutions. The competition opens their environmental awareness and inserts them into a positive and constructive approach.

For this 20th edition, the Mohammed VI Foundation for Environmental Protection had chosen a crucial theme: “A sustainable ecosystem for a healthy planet”. The extent of the subject and its importance at a time when the mobilization against climate change is a key issue for the younger generations have not discouraged them.

More than 400 establishments, including universities, of the 12 Academies of the kingdom embarked on journalistic investigations on local ecosystems and submitted 168 written reports, 634 photographic reports and 236 video reports.

They were interested in the disappearance of bees, the regression of the cork oak forests of Maamora or the thuriferous junipers of Tounfite, the red algae of the Atlantic, the impact of agriculture on ecosystems (Saffron from Taliouine to the olive trees of Sidi Slimane). Wetlands also caught their attention: the dead arm of the Martil wadi, Lake Oualidia or Moulouya.

Some photo reports revealed young people’s concern about the threat of climate change, as evidenced by the title of some photo reports: “a deep sadness touches me” or “cry for help”.

This work has enabled young people to become aware of the fragility of ecosystems, a marvel of nature where billions of interactions are harmoniously tied between the most diverse living beings, from the plant world to the animal world, from the smallest organisms such as bacteria or fungi to large mammals that live on or in the ground, in water, in the air.

The reports they produced opened their consciousness and mobilized them. Raising awareness among the younger generations, who will today have to bear the responsibility of preserving the planet, is at the heart of the action of the Mohammed VI Foundation for the protection of the environment.

For this competition, the Foundation has gradually worked to broaden the age groups concerned. From high school students at the start, the program has gradually extended to college students, and today, for its 20th edition, a new age category from 19 to 25 years old has been opened to involve students, particularly within the framework of the network Green Universities and Youth Education in Africa (AGUYEN) supported by the Foundation with the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP). It was a Moroccan student who took part for the first time in the new “International collaboration” category by collaborating with a student from Malaysia.

Proof of the richness of the production of this 20th edition, it was over three days, from Thursday May 5 to Monday May 9, 2022, that the competition jury held its deliberations at the Hassan II International Center for Environmental Training, academic entity of the Foundation, to decide between the 1038 reports of the three categories. At the end of this long session, they decided to reward seven photographic reports, six written reports and six video reports, including two for students, for the first participation of universities.

The competition jury also entered seven contributions to the international competition of the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) which rewards the best work of young reporters in the world and where Moroccan contributions have often been honored.

This is still the case in 2022: The written report by the students of the Lycée Houman El Fettouaki in Nador on the ” Moulouya… Successive environmental problems threaten the rapid deterioration of Morocco’s most important wetlands”won first prize in the 19-25 age category.

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