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In Morocco, a blue tourist town is turning green

A newly inaugurated municipal swimming pool equipped with solar energy is near an “ecology centre” built from recycled containers where the town’s green projects, funded mainly by the European Union and backed by several NGOs, are highlighted.

France’s GERES – Group for the Environment, Renewable Energy and Solidarity – was asked to help transform Chefchaouen.

“It was at the town’s request that we came here to support its energy and climatic transition,” says the NGO’s Virginie Guy, who is coordinating the project.

Among the initiatives is an “info-energy” centre to raise awareness about energy savings, photovoltaic panels at several sites, such as the municipal library, that contribute to electricity production, and an environmentally oriented museum is also nearly complete.

The info-energy centre’s Houda Hadji explains the basics of eco-construction, energy efficiency and the benefits of energy-saving lightbulbs, among other green topics.

“There’s very strong interest” from visitors to the centre, says the young guide, her hair concealed under an elegant veil.

“This is the first initiative in Morocco working on energy upgrading in buildings, and providing information about savings, targeting both businesses and individuals,” she adds.

Chefchaouen is one of 12 southern Mediterranean locations to benefit from a European programme that has granted it around 10 million dirhams ($1 million) and declared the town “a model and initiator of change in sustainable energy management”.

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