High Atlas Foundation

The High Atlas Foundation (HAF) is a Moroccan association and a U.S. 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization founded in 2000 by former Peace Corps Volunteers, and is dedicated to participatory grassroots human development in disadvantaged areas in Morocco, mostly rural. HAF received United Nations Special Consultative Status in 2011. HAF's team is comprised mostly of Moroccans with some international members. Using a participatory approach, HAF works to establish development projects in Morocco that local communities design and manage, and that are in partnership with government and non-government agencies. HAF is committed to facilitating, and training facilitators in, the participatory approac...

High Atlas Foundation
332 Bleecker Street #K110
New York, NY 10014
United States
US: (646) 688-2946 / Moro
http://www.highatlasfoundation.org

President

Yossef Ben-Meir

Management Team

Yossef Ben-Meir

Board of Directors

Thomas Anderson, Yossef Ben-Meir, Larbi Didouqen, Wahiba Estergard, Lamia Bazir, Charlie Kellett, Jessica Watson, Jamil Zouaoui

Project Leaders

Kate McLetchie
Yossef Ben-Meir
Alex Stein
Aicha Galef
Jacqueline Seeley

Mission

The High Atlas Foundation (HAF) is a Moroccan association and a U.S. 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization founded in 2000 by former Peace Corps Volunteers, and is dedicated to participatory grassroots human development in disadvantaged areas in Morocco, mostly rural. HAF received United Nations Special Consultative Status in 2011. HAF's team is comprised mostly of Moroccans with some international members. Using a participatory approach, HAF works to establish development projects in Morocco that local communities design and manage, and that are in partnership with government and non-government agencies. HAF is committed to facilitating, and training facilitators in, the participatory approach to local development, and helps to establish the priority projects that are designed in that process, including in fruit tree agriculture (building nurseries and irrigation systems, securing organic certification, and export of product), clean drinking water projects, women and youth initiatives, participatory and technical experiential training, and cultural preservation. HAF's work has touched over 45,000 individuals over the past 13 years. HAF's work continues to grow, as it currently has active projects in eight provinces of Morocco. HAF's development vision is Morocco's vision for itself: it is public-private collaboration at all levels of society in order to assist communities (villages and neighborhoods) in furthering their self-reliant development. It sees members of local communities across the kingdom coming together to identify and implement the projects they most need and want a which range depending on the opportunities they face. HAF's President, Dr. Yossef Ben-Meir, describes the participatory approach: Communities driving all phases of project development is key to sustainability, and this is arguably the most important (and costly) lesson learned in the field of international development since the 1940s. The participatory approach has become hundreds of families of methods of group dialogue and consensus-building, visual and accessible diagramming, and planning projects that address socio-economic and environmental goals. Building upon the relationships and knowledge gained during their years of service in rural Morocco, former Peace Corps volunteers founded HAF in 2000 in order to use their combined experience to further benefit the Moroccan people. HAF is led by its Board of Directors and Operational Team of Moroccans and Americans, and has a highly distinguished Advisory Board. HAF's 10 Operating Principles that guide what we do and how and why we do it: 1. Empower communities to take charge of their own development through a participatory approach. 2. Include all community members and ensure the diversity of gender, race, age, socio-economic status, and physical ability. 3. Support projects that communities have determined and committed time and resources to implement and manage. 4. Partner with government and non-government agencies to ensure development is collaborative, transparent, and sustainable. 5. Encourage self-reliance through training programs and capacity-building. 6. Use local materials and knowledge and respect and celebrate cultural values. 7. Link local development to national and international opportunities and agencies. 8. Work in communities where our community partners invite us to work. 9. Promote friendship and partnership between Moroccan and American people. 10. Uphold diversity of Moroccans and Americans a and men and women and ages a on HAF Boards.

Programs

HAF's projects are designed and implemented by their beneficiaries. Most recently, HAF has taken on a project to plant, harvest, and commercialize organic walnuts and almonds to help local farmers access international markets to get a fair wage for their crop. Ongoing HAF Projects include: planting more than 680,000 fruit trees and saplings with rural communities and schools that will produce a crop that can be valued and sold on international markets; building 15 clean drinking water systems in villages that are among the most remote to enable girls to participate in educational activities and to focus on community development; constructing of eight women's and girls' cooperatives to build female economic independence, improving rural school infrastructure to increase attendance rates, and teachers' housing to ensure teachers are available during school hours; and training facilitating participatory planning to hundreds and nearly thousands of engage future leaders a university students, civil society members, and community and communal council members. In the Al Haouz province, HAF is training a in facilitating participatory community planning and project management a 20 elected women to communal councils, with support from the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). In addition to building the facilitation and project management skills among the local leaders, HAF is also working with the National Initiative for Human Development (INDH) and other Moroccan and international partners to implement the projects that communities identify during the training 'learning by doing' process. HAF is also training 1400 people in sustainable agricultural methods, including organic growing, with the financial support of the Agency of Partnership for Progress. HAF is building two community fruit tree nurseries on land lent by the Regional Direction of Waters and Forests (Asni commune) and the Jewish Community of Marrakech (in Tohmslocht), with the Lodestar Foundation. HAF is building with 60 women of the Tassa-Ouirgane village, beside the Toubkal National Park, a cooperative for producing clothing articles, funded by members of the Chief Executive Organization. HAF partners with the High Commission of Waters and Forests to benefit the people neighboring Morocco's ten national parks. HAFs Sami's Project advances tree planting, environmental education, and infrastructure with rural primary schools, in partnership with the provincial Ministry of Education and G4S Morocco. HAF is partnering with the Ministry of Agriculture to build the first walnut oil press in the province, which grows 20% of Morocco walnuts. <br> In the region of Beni Mellal, HAF is working with communities in four communes: In the Rural Communes of Ouaouizerth and Ait Mhamed, HAF is building fruit tree and medicinal plant nurseries that benefit women and youth associations, with the financial support of the Darwin Initiative. In Zaouit Sheikh and Ait Oum Bekcht communes, HAF is building an artisanal craft center, a village-based clean drinking water system respectively, as will as training program, with the partners' support of the Organization of the Moroccan Community of the United States. <br> In the Province of Essaouira, the goal of its year-long project, in partnership with the Ambassadors Cultural Preservation Fund, is to clean up and initiate a preservation and maintenance program for the Muslim, Christian and Jewish cemeteries, which stand as present-day reminders of the rich, multicultural past that this small city has had, where all people shared a town, a life, work, and culture. We aim to awaken the interest of local communities, particularly the young, in the history of Essaouira by introducing them to the cemeteries of the three religions. Through the renovation, re-planting, and maintenance of the cemeteries as well as the development of a syllabus of educational events and materials, we hope to nurture an active engagement with and pride in Essaouira's (and Morocco's) multicultural past and present among local residents and visitors. HAF is also partnering with the Governorship of Essaouira to advance community development in rural areas, beginning with a fruit tree and medicinal plant nursery, and local participatory planning and training in 20 communes of the province. In the Mohammedia province and in partnership at the Faculty of Law, Economics and Social Science at Hassan II University, our-joint training Center has two-year program (with the Middle East Partnership Initiative, MEPI) to train 80 students and 80 civil association members in facilitating and implementing community planning and development (impacting all six communes of the province). In 2008, HAF partnered with University Hassan II in Mohammedia to create the center for Community Consensus and Sustainable Development, to train youth and community members to be community facilitators and leaders. In the province of Rhamna, the High Atlas Foundation achieved and important goal to help communities identify and implement priority agriculture, education, and health projects applying participatory planning methods, Ait Taleb and Skhour-Rhamna communes, with the financial support of Foundation OCP). Twenty thousand olive trees were planted and installed pressure-drip systems, two village based clean water systems were built, two schools were built and teacher's housing and student bathrooms, and gardens ten schools implemented. Through participatory trainings and working with 4 the locally elected council women (also funded by MEPI), we have identified most viable community-determined projects in 9 communes and have pending project proposals for their implementation to the INDH (HAF submits INDH proposals to the governorships in all the provinces it works). In the Taroudannt province, Rural Commune of Toubkal, we are creating a participatory and agricultural development model for the country a significantly informing the Communal Development Plan (with NED funding), building self sufficiency with fruit tree nurseries through the Memorial of former Peace Corps Volunteer Kate Jeans-Gail, securing organic certification (in partnership with the Alliance for Global Good) toward export the product, and implementing clean drinking water and women and youth projects and empowerment. A vital innovation which we anticipate will engine HAF's spread of participatory development throughout Morocco, is its self-generating and accelerating levels of new funding for projects and training: 5% of the gross of sale after securing organic certification of produce of farming families (doubling product value for them) and connecting their product with global purchasers. HAF assists rural communities through the entire agricultural development cycle a from tree nurseries to export a with the goal to increase household incomes on average of 400%. <br> In the Taza province, HAF began a college scholarship fund, with the investment and vision of Wahiba Benloughmari Estergard, born and raised in Taza. After graduating from graduated from Lycee Sidi Azzouz High School, she had the opportunity to attend the University of Iowa in the US followed by a pharmacy doctorate in 2002, was awarded a post doctoral fellowship at Eli Lilly Co. and stayed. Wahiba and HAF believe that students attending high school have tremendous potential to succeed within the higher education. However, many of those students don't have access to means to pursue their studies. One example was a student who graduated at the top of her class at Lycee Sidi Azzouz and was accepted into medical school (students can go to medical schools right after high school in Morocco). Unfortunately, she was not able to attend university even though the tuition was to be paid by the Moroccan government; her parents were simply unable to afford her books and living expenses. This scholarship program identifies Moroccan students helps provide them with the necessary tools and resources to achieve their dreams through higher education. The scholarship supports educational expenses, and pays vendors directly.

Statistics on High Atlas Foundation

donate now:

Make a monthly recurring donation on your credit card. You can cancel at any time.
Make a donation in honor or memory of:
What kind of card would you like to send?
How much would you like to donate?
  • $15
    give
  • $25
    give
  • $50
    give
  • $125
    give
  • $200
    give
  • $300
    give
  • $700
    give
  • $2,000
    give
  • $15
    each month
    give
  • $25
    each month
    give
  • $50
    each month
    give
  • $125
    each month
    give
  • $200
    each month
    give
  • $300
    each month
    give
  • $700
    each month
    give
  • $2,000
    each month
    give
  • $
    give
gift Make this donation a gift, in honor of, or in memory of someone?

Reviews of High Atlas Foundation

Great Nonprofits
Read and write reviews about High Atlas Foundation on GreatNonProfits.org.