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Board Member

E-mail : nejmabel@gmail.com

As an ethnobotanist, herbalist and sociologist, Nejma has worked in the non-profit and research sectors for many years. She is graduate of Kent University in Canterbury UK with an MSc in Ethnobotany and is a Master Herbalist. Her thesis for her Masters in Herbology entitling, ‘Traditional Healing Methods in Morocco: A Preliminary Field Study on Childhood Gastroenteritis’, explored a herbal compound used in Moroccan traditional medicine for childhood gastrointestinal conditions. Her research explored the conceptual frameworks surrounding this condition and the subsequent phytochemistry and methods of treatments. Her methods and findings have been used as teaching materials at the University of Kent in Canterbury. Her thesis for her MSc in Ethnobotany entitled ‘Perceptions on a changing practice: opinions on the changes and dynamics in traditional medicine in Marrakesh’, explored the driving forces in change and stability of traditional knowledge and practices in Western North Africa.

Although her academic focus has been on the valorization of traditional medicine, Nejma has also worked in the business sectors supporting both environmental sustainability and economic growth. As the director of the largest nursery in North Africa (Casa Botanica), she focused on the creation of gardens with drought resistant species, encouraging economic growth through sustainable practices. She has been involved in various research projects including research with the Global Diversity Foundation, compiling data on the status and use of marketed herbal specimens in the markets of southern Morocco. She has also worked as a facilitator for international students on research methods and ethics.

Nejma also became the Co-Director of Voices for Biodiversity, an online North American
E-magazine whose mission is to publish perspectives and experiences on biodiversity. She supported the growth and development of a strategy that supports people with knowledge on biodiversity, but lacking the skills and academic access to write, to publish their own story and experiences on the Voices for Biodiversity online platform.

With her experience working in business as well as in the non-profit sector in North Africa and Western Canada, Nejma began to work as a consultant to grassroots organizations by supporting them to structure; draft protocols and find sustainable funding avenues that matched their mission and cultural foundation. In western Canada, she has worked with Indigenous communities as an advocate in social and environmental issues, and as the Co-Director of an Indigenously led advocacy grassroots organization. Advocating for Indigenous families affected by colonial social services, she works to build capacity through funding and mediation support. She offers her expertise as a mediator and facilitator to organizations, and supports pathways to Indigenous governance and nature’s rights, and to local environmental restoration initiatives.

Her goal is to support the integration of multidisciplinary frameworks, including Indigenous and local knowledge systems, in both academia and policy. Through community engagement and the facilitation of various platforms and projects, her objective is to allow room for innovation and action in addressing the sometimes-polarized perspectives of our diverse lived experiences. In pending global warming, complex resource management, social inequity and the need for economic sustainability, Nejma works to support collaboration with various sectors towards positive change in finding equitable and sustainable solutions. By conducting research in the fields of Ethnobotany and Sociology, she feels that environmental and social parameters affect each other fundamentally. Her research explains that although each social sector, like climate zones, is separate and has its own set of rules and regulations, one sector will inevitably affect another. As a result, she incorporates multidisciplinary collaboration as a foundation and often uses this framework in current research, projects and teaching philosophy with the objective of allowing a solution based broader understanding of the interrelationships between people, environment, and economy.

She is the mother of a boy and enjoys engaging in, and organizing community events that center on Ethnobotany and valorize Traditional Ecological Knowledge. She also works and volunteers as a herbalist in her community.

Her Key Articles:

  • My Life for the Land. Kiliii Yuyan’s Powerful Article on Indigenous Conservation Efforts (National Geographic Blog V4B Review -05-2018)
  • Everyday Extinction: An Instagram Campaign Raising Awareness of Species Extinction (National Geographic Blog V4B Review -12-2017)
  • The Obvious Mirror: How Biocultural Diversity is Mirrored in the Natural World (Langscape Magazine; Volume 6- 2017)
  • Diagnostic Tools in Traditional Chinese Medicine; Perspectives (HANE 2/2017)
  • Series: Traditional medicines of the world. Diagnostic tools introduction (HANE 2/2016)
  • Diagnostic Tools in Australia’s Anangu Medicinal System; Perspectives (HANE 6/2016)
  • Monograph for Argania spinosa (HANE 12/2015)
  • The transfer of Greek knowledge of Humors into Islamic medicine and its influence in North Africa; Heating medicinal plant mixtures in Morocco (HANE 10/2015)