Completed Research

Water in the Desert: Dar Si Hmad’s Fog-Harvesting Program

University of Toronto

The Anti-Atlas mountains located in southwest Morocco is an extremely arid region with limited freshwater resources, a situation that has been aggravated by global climate change trends. This has posed a significant challenge to the Amazigh, an Indigenous population that has been historically marginalized throughout North Africa, who occupy these lands. In 2006, Dar Si Hmad (DSH), a local NGO, began to harvest fresh water from an abundant source that surrounded these mountains for most of the year: fog. Using fog harvesting technology, they have been able to supply individual households within the Anti-Atlas Mountains’ Aït Baamrane region with fresh drinking water. This case study focuses on how DSH has been able to achieve the sustainable community uptake and expansion of its fog collection and water management system. We are specifically concerned with this organization’s usage of various tools for the purpose of cultural preservation and acceptance, the facilitation of local and external cooperation, and the empowerment of women in the community.

Hard to Reach

Communities of the Anti-Atlas Mountains who are isolated from legal, educational, and socio-cultural contexts.

Key Takeaways

DSH has managed to sustain its success, expand consistently, and become the world’s largest fog-harvesting project. DSH’s success is due to several elements including:

  1. Establish increasing levels of trust and continually build on it to catalyze growth
  2. Institutional adaptability in the face of challenges
  3. Self-reinforcing methods to overcome social and cultural resistance (such as ICT, education, etc.) further contributed to acceptance


This research was made possible through the Reach Alliance, a partnership between the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy and the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth. Research was also funded by the Ralph and Roz Halbert Professorship of Innovation at the Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy.

We thank Shantel Watson for her comprehensive research, particularly on gender dynamics. We also thank all key informants involved in the interview process for sharing their invaluable experience and insights.