The cooperative ASDIKAE BILA HOUDOUD for Responsible Tourism was born in the spring of 2018, as the result of a bottom-up process, that is, through the many years of involvement in activities related to responsible tourism on the part of some members of the Mediterranean Network for Development and Social Economy. In English, the translation of the name of the cooperative would be translated as “Friends Without Borders”. We chose this name because not all travellers are tourists, but there there are also friends who, just like us, believe in a world without borders, where friendships are possible without distinctions along the lines of religion, culture, nationality, gender, politics, etc. We believe that differences are valuable, and Morocco is particularly rich of diversities, in culture, nature and languages.
Our cooperative would like to highlight these differences and introduce them to you, friends without borders!
In the year 2000, a group of Moroccan migrants living in Italy, united in Bologna in the Association “Sopra I Ponti”, elaborated a number of ideas for the sustainable growth of their home country, in the framework of “migration for development”.
Since 2010, a network of cooperatives and associations has emerged (informally at first) connecting Italy and Morocco. It also opened a channel for Italian responsible tourism with the Social Cooperative “ViaggieMiraggi Onlus”, committed to the promotion of responsible tourism in Italy and other countries, always in partnership with local associations, Italian aid organisations, and emigrants from the country. The network was formalised in 2014 with the name “Mediterranean Network for development and social economy”, which today unites 21 associations and cooperatives, 4 Italian and 17 Moroccan ones.
Over the years, some Moroccan ‘former migrants’, having returned to Morocco from Italy, started a training project to become cultural-linguistic mediators, and assist travellers of following the proposals of responsible tourism networks, also supported by other cultural-linguistic mediators with good levels of French. Since 2016, the cultural-linguistic mediators have come together in the association “Ponte sul Mediterraneo” (Bridge over the Mediterranean), in partnership with the social cooperative and travel agents ViaggieMiraggi, which organises responsible-tourism trips, and which has supported the new association, until it was transformed into the cooperative ASDIKAE BILA HOUDOUD, at the start of 2018. This cooperative is composed by 8 types of members: mediators, dynamic local actors, experts on decentralised cooperation and management of responsible travelling.
On top of showcasting the artistic/historic heritage of Morocco’s cities, the cooperative also offers tours of rural villages, far from the commercial routes, counting on the hospitality of the village communities (that were specifically formed), and on the rooted knowledge of micro-projects of local development.
The cooperatives of rural women play a crucial role in food processing, so that European travellers have the chance to know the origin and production-cycle of some of the most famous excellent products of Morocco, such as Argan oil, but also other products that are protected by the international organisation “Slow Food”, and have achieved certifications of quality, such as IGP, etc.
It is possible to visit all the places where the network is present, even creating a custom-made itinerary, or remaining longer on the territory, taking advantage of the harvest seasons, and live an experience of deep sharing with the local population.