Fatima-Ezzarah’s Success Story – NELGA Alumni
It was the ultimate opportunity to discuss Africa’s challenges and how to address them – Fatima-Ezzarah Mohtich, NELGA Scholarship holder at IAV
I loved school as a child, and school loved me back. School allowed me to express myself, learn, make mistakes, succeed, and choose my path to excellence. I was receptive to discovering new things and very inquisitive. My parents regarded me favourably. They picked my name in honour of the Prophet Mohammed’s daughter. Even though they only had primary education and limited resources, my parents were willing to do anything to provide a better education for their five children. My grandparents gave me special treatment because I was their favourite granddaughter and lived with them. My teachers encouraged me to pursue my goals, and I earned an honours baccalaureate in mathematical sciences, which led me to pursue engineering at a prestigious institution.
When I enrolled in the preparatory year for agricultural studies at an institute in Rabat, Morocco, I lived away from my family for the first time and took my first steps towards independence. I wanted to demonstrate to those around me that a girl can perform miracles if given a chance. I qualified in the top thirty, securing my spot in the institute’s most prestigious programme of study. My education was multidisciplinary, combining legal, technical, and innovative aspects without excluding communication and management techniques. Concurrently with my studies, I managed the training and cultural activities of the Moroccan association of surveying students. It was an opportunity to leave my comfort zone and take the initiative by proposing solutions for the community through multiple real estate and mobility-related projects.
The Network of Excellence on Land Governance in Africa, funded by the German Development Cooperation, awarded me a scholarship of excellence to finance my senior thesis through the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). Due to the scholarship, I completed my final study project, which was especially helpful during the COVID-19 outbreak. Throughout this period, I acquired the necessary materials for the project, made frequent trips to the study site, and met my daily housing and food needs. NELGA connected me to a global community that amplified my voice and ensured I count and matter. The Excellence in Africa (EXAF) pole of the Polytechnic of Lausanne selected the project as the best master’s project in Africa. It was the best opportunity to discuss Africa’s challenges and how to address them, view my work through a diverse and global lens, network with professionals, and seek opportunities.
My academic background demonstrates my enthusiasm for geospatial technologies and artificial intelligence. I continued my education and submitted a dissertation that explored the potential of data science for spatiotemporally estimating traffic congestion for intelligent urban traffic management.
I am a part-time professor at the special school of geomatics and surveying at Ibn Tofail University and a shareholder and manager of a surveying company in Rabat. Through both career pathways, I support and mentor other young women. I show them that with courage and determination, the sky is the limit.