Celebrating Mediterranean biodiversity and culture with the #MedStoryPrize

Pommelien da Silva Cosme, Mediterranean Programme and Communications Coordinator

9 May 2019

It’s been an exciting few months since the start of #RootedEveryday, a recently launched campaign aimed at raising awareness about the value of biodiversity and traditional practices in the Mediterranean.

At the beginning of April, #RootedEveryday launched the very first Mediterranean environment-themed writing competition to celebrate the rich culture and nature found in Mediterranean ecoregions. #MedStoryPrize is calling on writers to submit inspiring stories about the richness of nature and urgency for preserving it, including relationships between planet and people, especially those whose livelihoods depend on traditional and sustainable practices.

To kickstart the campaign, we joined the Morocco Library Project (MLP) at their book fair in Marrakech during the first weekend of April. Since 2014, the Morocco Library Project has been creating libraries in different schools in Morocco and established a wide network of inspiring teachers that are passionate about books and storytelling. At the book fair, we introduced #MedStoryPrize to 30 teachers from all over Morocco and talked about both the adult (3000 words) and children’s (500-1000 words) writing competitions. During the event, we met two of our readers, Larbi and Ali, who will support the competition by reading stories and collaborating with Brahim El Boukhari, our national judge in Morocco.

We also started collaborating with schools in the High Atlas and carried out writing workshops for students interested to join the competition. At the Dar Taliba boarding house for girls, we held an interactive session and talked about all aspects of biodiversity through a conservation hangman exercise and quiz while exploring environmental challenges such as climate change and species extinction. Students also talked about traditional land use practices found in Amazigh communities and relationships between people and nature in the High Atlas. At the end of workshop, the girls picked up their pens and started writing down ideas for their stories and main characters. “I am going to write about my grandfather, and how he spends his days in the field”, Dar Taliba student Ilham says. “My story will talk about Mohamed, a man who’s following in his father’s footsteps to protect a forest and never allowing people to cut trees and destroy the forest” her classmate Salma added. We can’t wait to read the final results and share them with you!

Until then, you can visit www.rootedeveryday.org/medstoryprize/ to learn more about how to enter the short story writing competition and the exciting prizes to win. Happy storytelling!