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 3, 2013

Irrigating the Trees

Bringing water to the nursery
Bringing water to the nursery

Thanks to your generous support, we had a record planting season this year, 40,000 fruit tree sapplings were planted in Akraich, on the land donated by the Jewish community. This astounding success would have been impossible if not for the committment of the friend's of HAF, our partners, the Jewish community, and our team. 

What's next? 

This week, we completed a well that is 80 meters (about 262 feet) deep in Akraich. We have installed the drip-irrigation systems that will carry the water to the young trees in the nurseries, so that they will come to maturity on target for initial harvesting next year. The new water system will provide water for the local community, and for the nurseries that we've planted on the land of the Jewish community, to ensure that the trees will grow to full maturity, even through the hot, dry summer months. 

HAF is devoted to the sustianabiltiy of our projects, and thanks to your help, we can continue to watch them grow, providing fruit and increasing incomes for years to come. We will share with you the progress with you each step of the way. The 2013 planting season is drawing to a close, but our project has just begun. 

Preparing the ground for planting
Preparing the ground for planting

Links:

Apr 1, 2013

Over 100,000 Trees Planted, Now Time for Organic

Trees Planted in Tifnoute valley
Trees Planted in Tifnoute valley

Thanks to you, as well as generous funding from the Alliance for Global Giving, we were able to surpass our goal of 50,000 trees by planting 100,000 walnut trees and 14,000 almond trees. The caviat -- we must certify these trees to be organic, so that their produce can be sold at high profit for export. 

We have begun this process by sending a team of two agricultural experts and a participatory trainer to the Tifnoute to map the land on which the trees are being planted and ensure that they are viable for organic certification. This is a long and meticulous process that will take about six months, especially since we are covering over 50 acres of mountainous land! We are so pleased to share this development, and to let you know that your support is going to something bigger than just planting trees - it is going to ensure sustainable incomes for years to come in the Tifnoute, which will be a model for other planting projects throughout Morocco.

Distributing thousands of trees
Distributing thousands of trees

Links:

Mar 27, 2013

Making the Most of the Planting Season

Planting with Students on a Rainy Day
Planting with Students on a Rainy Day

Thanks to you, HAF helped improve the lives of over 700 children and their families by delivering fruit trees for students to take home and planting fruit trees in the schoolyard, teaching students agricultural techniques for sustainable development. This planting and distribution with children is the pinnacle of Sami’s Project, a HAF program inspired by the loving memory of Samil El Kouhen to bring sustainable benefits to youth in Morocco.

Every weekend for the past month, HAF's team has joined local educational and community leaders to plant trees in schools throughout Rhamna and Al Haouz provinces in rural Morocco. Trees planted include pomegranate, lemon, fig, and olive. Others are given to the students to bring home to their families. HAF has been greeted by songs and presentations from eager, clever, and passionate youth. 

Sami's Project encourages children to be their own advocates for education through the participatory approach that gives them a stake in their education, assuring that Sami's students aren't part of the 400,000 students in Morocco who drop out of school before their baccalaureate. This is because HAF teaches the benefits of small scale farming by showing the direct impact of innovative agricultural techniques on families' income. Students that learn how to properly care for a fruit tree understand the opportunity to scale up and agricultural and market entrepreneurialism. HAF and communities are working to improve this model and the economic benefit as it seeks to incorporate organic certification of fruit trees around Morocco, and train students and families in these methods.

The benefits of Sami’s Project resonate around Al Haouz and Rhamna, because the results are sustainable, and the next generation in Morocco will benefit the most. Sami’s Project teaches elementary school students the numerous benefits that trees can bring to a community, and then trains them in how to plant and maintain trees in their school yards. The eventual fruits of the trees will benefit each school. HAF coordinates this project with teachers, community members, local Ministry of Education delegates and members of communal councils. Labor to plant the trees is provided in-kind by the communities, and the students participate wholeheartedly in the planting.

Sami’s Project was conceived by the El Kouhen family, inspired by loving memories of their 3-year-old son Sami (in the photo) who, before losing his battle with cancer 5 years ago, had already shown his love for the outdoors even at such an early age.  Sami’s father, Dr. Rachid El Kouhen, catalyzed this initiative with HAF Board Members, and together they organize the youth activities.

HAF is concerned with all aspects of community development. HAF recognizes that it is not only tree planting that encourages students to become entrepreneurs through education and good practices. It is also improving conditions in communities by bringing clean drinking water, which leads to a 16 percent increase in attendance rate (HAF Study in Tassa Ouirgane 2011). HAF both works with children to improve their technical education, and encourages participation in education through clean-water projects, school infrastructural and botanical garden initiatives, and participatory trainings.

Planting Proudly in Morocco
Planting Proudly in Morocco

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