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...
Jun 30, 2014

Creating a Green Economy one Briquette at a Time

High Atlas Agricultural and Artisanal (HA3) partners with farmers across Morocco to transform its agricultural system.  Through replacing subsistence farming with a green economy—training farmers in organic agricultural methods and providing the infrastructure needed for this transition—HA3 lifts farmers out of poverty and paves the way for sustainable development.

 The clean energy briquettes are a vital component to forging a green economy and embody HA3’s commitment to no waste.  Converting agricultural waste such as walnut husks, fallen leaves, and sawdust, into briquettes provides rural households alternative sources for energy other than wood. Using the provinces of Al Houaz and Taroudant to implement pilot programs, HA3 teaches local farmers how to recycle materials so that they, in turn, can produce briquettes that can be used in the local communities  as well as sold in both the national as well as international markets. Additionally, the versatility in ingredients used to construct the briquettes enables the project to easily be adopted across Morocco’s differing landscapes.  Here are some the project’s impacts:

  1. Reduction in household pollution
  2. Decrease in agricultural waste
  3. Prevention and reduction of deforestation
  4. Increases rural entrepreneurship
  5. Diversification of income
  6. Augments young girls school attendance as they are often the ones fetching wood

Thanks to your partnership HAF has been able to foster sustainable development and make notable progress towards transforming rural Morocco into a zero waste society.

Jun 30, 2014

HA3 and Organic Certification

Youth helping with olive trees
Youth helping with olive trees

On behalf of the High Atlas Foundation, Ramadan Kareem!

Currently, the High Atlas Foundation is obtaining organic certification for Moroccan agricultural products. Agricultural products marketed through a new social enterprise, High Atlas Agricutlure and Artisanal (HA3), will generate increased income for marginalized populations in Morocco and create a multiplied return.  These organic, fair-trade, environmentally sustainable, and socially responsible products will empower rural Moroccans while simultaneously improving their standard of living through reinvestment.

Olive trees are integral to Morocco’s environment, agriculture, and culture.  One cannot imagine Moroccan cuisine without olives and olive oil!  In addition, olive trees are integral to the HA3 process, as organic certification of olives greatly improves their market value, increasing the income of farmers in Morocco. One of the concerns voiced to HAF over the years is how to break the cycle of subsistence agriculture. Here at HAF, we believe that by obtaining organic certification, income generated will be increased, and this added revenue can be reinvested in other initiatives, such as increased access to clean drinking water and education, acting as a vehicle for local empowerment.

Women’s empowerment, a crucial point of HAF’s participatory development model, is especially impacted in this project.  The semi-arid commune of Ait Wafqa, near Tafraoute in southern Morocco, is made up of eighty-percent women. While the men leave for work in urban areas, women manage the family farms, which are impacted by land degradation and poverty.  This project will plant and irrigate olive tres, combatting desertification, poverty, and improving the education and empowerment of its local citizens.

Meetings, mostly informational, have already taken place with community members and women. For irrigation, a geomembrane basin, which is one-third of the cost of a concrete basin, collects rainwater and creates enough pressure without requiring energy, has been constructed. Trainings and participatory workshops are planned, and olive tree cuttings have been identified. This project is on its way, and with continued support we can help improve the economic and environmental situation of these Moroccans.

To hear more about organic certification through HA3 and this new exciting chapter in HAF, view a message from HAF’s president, Yossef Ben-Meir here. Organic certification benefits not only the local communities, but reinvests in Morocco’s agriculture, environment, and education.

Jun 30, 2014

Organic Certification

Youth empowerment
Youth empowerment

Ramadan Kareem on behalf of the High Atlas Foundation!

Here at HAF, we are busy with obtaining organic certification for Moroccan agricultural products. Agricultural products marketed through a new social enterprise, High Atlas Agricutlure and Artisanal (HA3), will generate increased income for marginalized populations in Morocco and create a multiplied return.  These organic, fair-trade, environmentally sustainable, and socially responsible products will empower rural Moroccans while simultaneously improving their access to clean drinking water and education through reinvestment.

The Organic Fruit Tree and Medicinal Herb Nurseries project is especially pertinent to the progress of HA3. The demand for organic and fair-trade agriculture has come directly from rural Moroccans, who wish to break the cycle of subsistence agriculture. The medicinal herb nurseries will especially help to empower women, who will manage the nurseries. During Ramadan, HAF plans to incorporate the participatory development method into nursery management plans and begin training community members in Ouaouizerth, Ait Mhamed, and Tifnoute. Plans for tree-planting and irrigation systems are underway, and with the harvest soon approaching, the need for organic certification becomes increasingly important.

To hear more about HA3, and this new exciting chapter in HAF, view a message from HAF’s president, Yossef Ben-Meir here. Organic certification benefits not only the local communities, but reinvests in Morocco’s agriculture, environment, and education.

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