Newsletter  December, Issue 2018-2 
As the earth tilts us into northern winter, we pause to look back on all that took place over the past 12 months, reflecting on what we set out to do and critically assessing what we achieved with your support. We celebrate our successes in recognition that they are the fruits born from years of intense collaboration with our local, regional and international partners.
In the Mediterranean, we continued our work with rural High Atlas communities and local organisations to support plant conservation, cultural practices of conservation and communal governance systems. We made progress towards enhancing local livelihoods by launching our local product commercialisation programme, which supports communities to conserve their valuable biodiversity through sustainable harvesting, value-adding and marketing processes. In 2019, we will develop our agroecology programme, bringing together the conservation and livelihoods strands of our work through a focus on agroecosystem resilience.
Globally, the enthusiastic and diligent work of dedicated teams of Global Environments Network (GEN) alumni made this year’s summer academy in Oxford and our first regional academy in the Mediterranean highly successful. We are looking forward to expanding the network yet further in 2019 through the organisation of several regional events and a dedicated focus on impact, member engagement and partnerships, led by our new GEN Director, Nessie Reid.

I hope you enjoy reading more about our fulfilling year and wish you a wonderful festive season and a Happy New Year! 
Emily Caruso, Director of GDF UK
Exciting times in the High Atlas...
Over the past few months, our team has been busy with fieldwork and research in the High Atlas, advancing plant conservation via seed collection and seed bankingIn collaboration with our partner Moroccan Biodiversity & Livelihoods Association, we organised a series of capacity-building trainings in the rural commune of Imegdal. Over three days, members of local cooperatives and associations gathered for practical workshops on water management, permaculture, sustainable harvesting and plant commercialisation. In conjunction with these activities, we established the Mediterranean Roundtable on Local Product Commercialisation and welcomed experts to share their experience on the topic.
More from our Mediterranean programme... 
This summer, we hosted interactive learning sessions at High Atlas primary schools on the topic of local plants and their uses. Students produced drawings of local plants and crops to create a local household basket booklet, which will feature 50 local and useful plant products. Read more.
With the September start of the new school year, we re-launched our regular garden-based training programme at the Dar Taliba girls’ boarding house. We kicked off this year’s programme with trainings on seeds, teaching the students how to clean and plant seeds after learning how to collect them from sites of high soil quality. Read more.
In November, we hosted the conference session "Disruptive Ethnobotany in Blasted Landscapes: Rethinking people-plant relationships in the Mediterranean” at the 2nd Mediterranean Plant Conservation Week in Malta. GDF founder Gary Martin inaugurated the session with a keynote speech focusing on our High Atlas programme and researcher Hajar Salamat contributed to this session, sharing her experience in ethnobiological field research in the High Atlas. Programme Director Hassan Rankou presented more on our High Atlas Cultural Landscapes programme work at a separate session, “Ex situ and in situ plant species conservation: collaborations, strategies and communication”. [Photo by Pilar Valbuena]
Growing our global network
From 25 July–12 August, the Global Environments Network hosted its sixth Global Environments Summer Academy (GESA) at the University of Oxford and beautiful locales in the UK countryside. GDF delivered this year’s summer academy in collaboration with the University of Oxford’s Environmental Change Institute and Interdisciplinary Centre for Conservation Science. GESA 2018 brought together twenty inspiring environmental changemakers from eighteen different countries, each with diverse and fascinating backgrounds. Take a photo journey through GESA 2018.
"Be prepared to have your heart exploded! … from stories...connections...finding brotherhood and sisterhood with people, and falling in love platonically….” Sunshine Bestfrom the U.S., shares her GESA experience.
The Global Environments Network’s third regional academy was its first in the Mediterranean region. The Mediterranean Environments Regional Academy (MERA) took place in the Moroccan High Atlas in November. MERA 2018 focused on relationships between nature and culture in the Mediterranean, and in particular on the role of community-based resource management systems in maintaining the unique landscapes, seascapes and biocultural diversity they harbour. Take a photo journey through MERA 2018.
Facilitating support for migrants 
Following a discussion in June by local nonprofits and authorities on the challenges in reducing the precarity of migrants in Marrakech, the Global Migrants Project launched a local network—the Marrakech Migration Network—which enables non-profit and government member organisations to collectively improve access to healthcare, legal support, job training, education, adequate nutrition and weather-appropriate clothing for migrants. Read more.
Nets to help reduce malaria in Venezuela are on the way! Please help us go the final distance to deliver them to remote communities.
In July, we circulated an urgent plea for donations to support Indigenous Venezuelan communities in their fight against malaria. The response was overwhelming: with the support of generous donors we were able to raise $10,000. Thanks to dedicated work by project organisers, those gifts leveraged a donation of 3,000 insecticide-treated mosquito nets from Swiss manufacturer Vestergaard. Half of the money raised was used to cover the cost of shipping the nets from Vietnam—where they are fabricated—to Venezuela. The nets have been shipped, and are expected to arrive in Venezuela by January.
Now, we need your help to transport the nets from their Venezuelan port of entry to the three remote affected communities of Jotï, Eñepa and Piaroa, who are ready to deploy them. Four costly single-engine plane flights will be needed to do the job: we need to raise the funds to cover those final essential flights. [Photo contributed by project organisers]
Act now! You can help the life-saving nets travel those final miles to their destinations. [Click here to donate]
With heartfelt thanks,
Egleé and Stanford Zent, Alleviating malaria in Venezuela project organisers
Educate Amazigh girls in permaculture techniques while supporting existing traditional practices
In a recent newsletter, we introduced you to Meryam, one of the students at Dar Taliba who learns how to grow local and traditional plants using sustainable methods through our school gardens project. Meryam works hand-in-hand with Jamila, a Dar Taliba graduate and current Director of the all-girls boarding house. Of the project, Jamila says “Over the years, I have seen firsthand how working together in the Dar Taliba garden brings pride to the girls, as they learn more about their land and culture. There is a continuous exchange of knowledge among the Amazigh girls here, who share information about the medicinal and local plants grown in their villages. They even share family recipes!”
Want to support girls like Meryam and Jamila as they learn more about sustainable livelihood options? [Click here to donate]
Connect with us! 
To learn more about our work in the Mediterranean and around the world, visit our websites—Global Diversity Foundation and Global Environments Network—and sign up for our newsletters. Also, please join us on social media for more regular updates!
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