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. Even though they only had a primary education and limited resources, my parents were willing to do anything to provide a better education for their three children. My grandparents gave me special treatment because I was their favourite granddaughter. My teachers encouraged me to pursue my goals, and I earned my baccalaureate degree with an honours in mathematical sciences, which led me to pursue engineering at the prestigious Hassan II Institute of Agronomy & Veterinary Medicine Rabat-Morocco.
When I enrolled in the preparatory year for agricultural studies at the institute, 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 woman can perform miracles if given a chance. I qualified in the top thirty, securing my spot in the institute’s well ranked programme of study in geomatic sciences and surveying engineering. My education was multidisciplinary, combining legal, technical, and innovative aspects without excluding communication and management skills. 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 developing solutions for the community through multiple projects related to real estate, precision agriculture and mobility.
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). Thanks 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, took part in different seminars 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 Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne selected the project as the best master’s project dedicated to Digital technology for the urban environment 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.
Today, I am a shareholder and manager of a surveying company in Tiflet – Morocco and a part-time PhD student at Hassan II Institute of Agronomy & Veterinary Medicine Rabat-Morocco. Through both career pathways, I support and mentor other young women. I show them that with courage and determination, the sky is the limit.