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Discover Joudour Sahara

Learn About Joudour Sahara’s dynamic programming and unparalleled initiatives. Click on a section for quick navigation

Founded in 2016, Joudour Sahara began activities in the centre of M’hamid El Ghizlane in southeastern Morocco. We now engage 100 students and more than 100 musicians across the Southern Draa Valley region

Modern music activities typically reach youth from M’hamid and from Tagounite, while traditional music activities include more than 80 youth from more than 10 villages. There are no such activities offered elsewhere in southeastern Morocco, and due to the extraordinary efforts of our team, we are able to realize positive change in M’hamid El Ghizlane and beyond

The Music School

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Witness the real impact music has on local youth, musicians, and entire communities


Positive Change through Music

Established in partnership with Playing For Change Foundation, Joudour Sahara offers weekly classes in guitar, percussion, vocals, ensemble performance, and the traditional styles of Ahidous, Gnawa, Rokba, Akalal, and Chamra

Watch this video to see a wide overview of our dynamic programming


‘Ya Laalam Chof Adounia’

Watch this original song by Joudour Sahara students and recorded with PFC Band guitarist Roberto Luti at Studio Hiba in Casablanca  

This recording followed a weeklong music residency with Roberto and our students and teachers in M’hamid El Ghizlane

A project featuring Roberto and our teachers is currently in production

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Sounds of the Southern Draa Valley, Vol. 1

Presenting a musical project to celebrate diverse cultures!

Dive into the recordings from different music styles belonging to different tribes throughout the Zagora region

All songs recorded locally with engineers from around the world

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Slide Splice Soundpack
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‘Ya Laalam Chof Adounia’

Watch this original song by Joudour Sahara students and recorded with Playing For Change Band guitarist Roberto Luti at Studio Hiba in Casablanca. This recording followed a week-long music residency with Roberto and our students and teachers in M’hamid El Ghizlane. A project featuring Roberto and our teachers is currently in production

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Traditional Music Transmission

Watch our efforts to establish a weekly curriculum to pass down ancestral music heritages between generations

Support from the U.S. Embassy in Morocco and the International Society of Music Education allowed us to establish this programming, sustained today with support from Playing For Change Foundation

Slide 'Mn Dakket Rouhou' Music Video
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Slide 'Mn Dakket Rouhou' Music Video

Architecture & Environment

Joudour Sahara has won the 2021 Holcim Foundation Global Bronze Prize for Sustainable Construction for the design of the Joudour Sahara Cultural Center by partner Aziza Chaouni Projects and support from Sahara Roots Foundation

Holcim Global Prize

Joudour Sahara co-founder Aziza Chaouni and her architectural firm Aziza Chaouni Projects were awarded the Holcim Foundation Global Bronze Prize for Sustainable Construction and an Acknowledgement Prize for Middle East and Africa region. The Holcim Foundation Global Awards are the most prestigious international prizes for sustainable construction internationally. 

Joudour Sahara team-members Aziza Chaouni, Dana Salama, Wanda Hebly, and Thomas Duncan accepted these prizes at the Holcim Foundation awards ceremony in Venice, Italy

Go to the Site of the School

Take a tour of the construction with award-winning Moroccan architect Aziza Chaouni by watching the video

Support for this construction has been provided by Sahara Roots Foundation (NL). 

Water Management

The most vital of resources, water has become among the most scarce resources available in the Southern Draa Valley. Unsustainable use of wells, water-inefficient crops like watermelon, and rapid soil salinization locally aggregate to form what can only be characterized as a water crisis

For 10 years now, Sahara Roots Foundation has incorporated the Groasis Waterboxx water management system, a planting tool that maximizes water and has proven to increase the survival rate of trees and plants from 20% to more than 80%. We have planted hundreds locally in just the last few years 

Constructing Solutions

Aziza Chaouni Projects has designed inspired facility solutions to lead a regional fight against climate change while also promoting the practice and preservation of music 

Depicted here are the renderings for a multi-purpose water reservoir, combining vernacular techniques, innovative architecture, and efficient use of space in the above ground chamber, a cool space to gather and create during the hot summer season   

Construction of the water reservoir is currently underway

Revitalizing the Oasis

On our pilot farm, we have designed and have been testing a permaculture-based wadi system to reëstablish the three tiers needed for a thriving oasis: ground vegetation; fruit trees; canopy level palm trees. Drought and poor water management have devastated the bottom two tiers over the last several decades

With this devastation, agriculture is no longer the economic driver it was, leading to a massive rural-to-urban migration. This migration is taking local and traditional knowledge out of the region and leading to the disappearance of traditional music and culture

Advocate for the Environment

Support our efforts in the fight against climate change

Community Development

Find out how Joudour Sahara’s positive change extends beyond music


Gender Development

Joudour Sahara has become a leader in M’hamid El Ghizlane in providing access for girls to participate in social and cultural activities, thanks in large part to the addition of Aicha Zahaf and Safae Radouani to the Joudour Sahara team

We have worked with dozens of women and girls over the last couple of years through music and dance activities, with girls’ participation numbers increasing annually

COVID-19 Support

Throughout COVID-19, with economic outlook in the region already bleak, many families have struggled to provide for themselves. With support from PFCF, Joudour Sahara provide food grants to multiple families in need throughout the region, reaching almost 100 individuals

Additionally, we disbursed health and sanitation supplies, as well as increasing our staff to provide more economic opportunity through music


Widening Opportunities

During Playing For Change Day 2021, Joudour Sahara co-founders Thomas Duncan and Aziza Chaouni worked with local youth across several disciplines, including:

Workshops among 25 youth on sustainable architecture, construction phases, and local needs; 

Workshops for female students between 8 – 12 years old on videography, photography, and sound recording;

Thank You Roland!

Watch a short video detailing Roland’s impact on Joudour Sahara

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Peace & Social Cohesion through music