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...
Jul 1, 2013

Lots of Work Between Planting Seasons

Last Year
Last Year's Planting Season

The planting season is in the winter in the High Atlas Mountains. But don't let this make you believe that we aren't as busy in the off season as we are in the planting season. In fact, we might be even busier. This is because we are turning the trees planted into a great source of income for farmers who have been unable to compete with international market prices, leaving them in poverty.  

Ironically, due to the local stakeholder’s inability to invest in pesticides, 70% of the land surveyed for this project is uncontaminated and ready for organic production. HAF and its partners have planted nearly 200,000 walnut and almond trees in the region. HAF has developed a model to support over 3,500 households in the Tadmamt and Al Haouz Provinces in the High Atlas Mountains to harvest, produce, and sell organic walnut and almonds for organic export. Here is how it works: HAF assists rural communities through the entire agricultural development cycle – from tree nurseries, irrigation, training, organic certification, and marketing – combining to increase household incomes on average of 400%, with resounding local and national development impact both economically and in terms of infrastructure, as entrepreneurship and value-add production capacity grows as the project comes to scale.

HAF is working with a team of agricultural experts that are going household to household in the rural mountains of the Northern Atlas to assess the trees and soil of each family. After the assessment and an audit, crops will be certified for organic sales in the US and Europe. Only then does the realy work begin, with collection, quality control, transport, packaging, and sales to international buyers. 

This project has enormous implications for economic and community improvement, as farmers will work together in federation to gain access to greater market prices.

Initial investment costs are high, but the return is so big, that we at HAF ask our partners to support in any way that they can to make the first harvest (which starts in September) profitable and sustainable. 

Thank you so much for helping us get this far. HAF is committed to the full project-cycle, and we hope you are too. 

Trees Growing Thanks to You
Trees Growing Thanks to You

Links:

Jul 1, 2013

Keeping Cool this Summer

Preparing the Irrigation System
Preparing the Irrigation System

HAF had one of its best planting seasons this year, and that is so much thanks to you. HAF continues to partner with the Jewish Community of Marrakech to care for the nurseries planted in Akraich, Morocco, on the land surrounding the grave of a Jewish saint. When these plants reach maturity, they will be distributed to local community members who can profit from their fruit by selling at market. 

In the meantime, HAF's local field manager, Abderrahim, is busy caring for these trees in very hot weather, with minimal water resources. How do we do it? With drip irrigation, of course. 

Drip irrigation is a system of irrigation that has revolutionized agriculture. It requires less water than traditional irrigation and can be controlled digitally. HAF is still using manual control, but nonetheless, it allows Abderrahim to conserve the precious water resources while caring for the plants in what is currently 105 Degree weather!

HAF hopes to continue to plant on this land in the coming year, but we will have to invest in further irrigation systems. We hope to have these in place before the planting season begins again this winter, so we can assure that the trees you help to plant grow to maturity.

We will keep you updated as we make it throught the heat, but rest assured the trees are healthy and growing.

Thanks for your support.  

Links:

Jun 18, 2013

What We Accomplished Together

During the 2013 season, HAF planted in total 234,000 fruit seeds and saplings (inclduing also walnut and cactus) – the most HAF and its partners ever planted in one year.  This brings the total amount planted since 2003 to 692,500 trees.

From the 16thof February to the 23rdof April, HAF, along with primary school directors, teachers, and students, organized planting events that integrated children and their families. Fruit trees were planted, including walnut, lemon, olive, almond, and pomegranate – all of which grow endemically.

The delegate of education in Al Haouz province participated in planting to show his support of Sami’s Project, which seeks to teach children about protecting and benefiting from the environment, improving quality of life, and building school infrastructure.  Sami’s Project, in memory of lovely Sami, also partners with local parent and environmental associations.

Together, the students and  staff school dug holes in their school plots and planted the trees, and HAF team members presented information about caring for trees.  The students prepared thoughtful theatrical scenes about environmental degradation caused by human misuse.  Some of the trees were planted in community gardens, while the majority of trees (varieties that local families identified) were given to the schoolchildren to plant in their family farm.

In March 2013, G4S North and West Africa, contributed 5,000 trees to Sami’s Project. Over 70 members of the G4S team visited schools in the Rhamna province over two Saturdays to plant these trees with school children and community members. G4S has voiced its commitment to continue to support Sami’s Project in the future.  HAF is also grateful to the OCP Foundation for support of human development projects also in Rhamna.  Of course, the combined support of hundreds of inviduals made a powerful difference.  Finally, we’d like to thank U.S. Consul General Brian Shukan for his visit to Sami’s Projet Site in Ait Talib commune of Rhamna.

We've just put out a proposal asking to build 40 toilets in rural schools that don't have the facilities for students to relieves themselves sanitarily or modestly. This is our next goal for Sami's Project until the 2013 planting season. We hope you can give these children a chance to learn comfortable and cleanly. 

Thanks for your support!

Links:

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