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. HAFas 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...
Apr 7, 2014

HAF celebrates International Women's Day

Last month on March 7th, HAF celebrated International Women's Day with women across Morocco and the world. Malika Kassi, Director of Programs in Al Haouz Province and manager of the women's cooperative project described the connection between women's empowerment and human development in general:

"The growth of women's power and the sustainability of development are inherently tied together. Women have great potential to create and implement solutions to their community problems; these solutions often turn into oppurtunities for the socio-economic benefit not only of themselves, but of their whole families."  

International Women's Day was a moment to reflect on the important role women play in human development throughout the world. At the High Atlas Foundation, we are fortunate to have powerful female role models and community leaders participating in our programs. These mothers, students, teachers, thinkers and entrepreneurs are the backbone of the Moroccan economy. We are grateful to have met and worked with hundreds of women and girls from throughout Morocco, all of whom share a common goal: to create a better tomorrow for their country and their families. Please read more on HAF's International Women's Day blog to hear from the beneficiaries themselves.

Thanks to your generous support, HAF can continue to expand its women's empowerment efforts throughout Morocco and the region. Your donations allow women and girls to participate in independent income-generating activities, and set the stage for improved gender equality and dynamics in rural Morocco. 

Mar 31, 2014

Using Olives to Develop Rural Moroccan Villages

Moroccan Olives
Moroccan Olives

It’s olive planting season in Morocco!  Olives are a part of HAF’s innovative business model to sustainably address socioeconomic challenges with organic agricultural development. Organic certification of produce increases market value, which doubles household incomes thus ending the cycle of poverty. HAF has trained 820 farmers in organic farming techniques and is now marketing this produce internationally to generate added income, which will be reinvested into additional community-identified projects. This model provides a sustainable source of funding to implement projects identified in each community’s Communal Development Plan (which Moroccan law mandates that each commune create), including in resource management, health, education, and women’s and youth empowerment.

HAF’s social enterprise, called High Atlas Agricultural and Artisanal (HA3), has created an agricultural development process that is comprehensive, sustainable, and transferrable. It will generate income and is based on the expressed needs of the local population to increase their livelihoods. A percentage of the sale of agricultural organic raw and value-added products will bring transformative development to rural areas.  Certification of organic fruit and nuts significantly increases the value for family farmers.  HAF’s social enterprise will connect these products with global purchasers.  HAF’s training programs experientially teach agricultural technical techniques, natural resource management, professional skills for marketplace success, and participatory planning and management. Skills gained from these trainings advance the identification and implementation of projects. This approach combines technologic and business knowhow with optimal farming strategies to vastly improve livelihoods of rural families through sales of organic fruits and nuts, and in the future other products, while creating a revenue stream to enable HAF to reinvest in new agricultural and human development projects (such as in education and health). A percentage of the new revenue generated will return to HAF for the implementation of other community project priorities.  

Rural Women Harvesting Olives
Rural Women Harvesting Olives
Mar 31, 2014

HA3 Social Enterprise Develops Future Partnerships

Networking at AgoraMed Event
Networking at AgoraMed Event

On February 12-13, HAF Director of Development, Aicha Galef, represented HAF at Agora MedSpring brokerage event in Cairo, Egypt. There she presented HAF’s innovate social enterprise, High Atlas Agriculture and Artisanal (HA3). HA3 was chosen as one of 15 idea carriers from throughout the Mediterranean region and was given the opportunity to pitch its sustainable and eco-friendly business model to a group of researchers, experts, and investors, resulting in the creation of new partnerships for the success of this agribusiness startup. With a strong focus on food, water, and energy, this event celebrated creative solutions to the challenges that face Mediterranean nations including environmental protection, food security, and water conservation.

HA3 received great feedback for its social enterprise structure based on securing organic certification to increase farmer incomes and to create revenue for community development projects. The brokerage event sought to provide a venue for civil society members, government representatives, and research institutions to connect and increase collaboration.  Aicha had the opportunity to speak with young entrepreneurs and innovative thinkers from throughout the Mediterranean region.

HA3 is expected to benefit greatly from new partnerships formed at the Agora MedSpring event. Dynamic partnerships and inter-sectoral cooperation will help overcome some of the most challenging obstacles to environmental conservation and food security. The HA3 social enterprise will confront these challenges throughout rural Morocco by reinvesting profits from the sale of organic walnuts and almonds into human development projects that benefit the community, such as in education, health, and women and youth empowerment. 

AgoraMed Brokerage Event in Cairo
AgoraMed Brokerage Event in Cairo
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