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...
Apr 10, 2013

G4S Joins HAF to Plant Your Trees!

The irrigated hill from a distance
The irrigated hill from a distance

It was a pleasure to join the HAF field team and visit all of the projects we’ve worked on in Rhamna Province this past weekend, when nearly 80 members of G4S Morocco from all sectors of the company (from maintenance crews to the Regional North Africa Director) planted with community members and schoolchildren some of the 5000 trees G4S donated in honor of Earth Day. This past Saturday, we planted and distributed 2500 olive trees to the communities that we've been working with over the years. 

We were quite a site, a caravan of eleven G4S 4X4s and a large bus in a line behind the modest HAF grand taxi driving the 50 kilometers from Ben Geurir to the Ait Taleb commune, also called Jamm’at ma berd, or the village of cold water. I felt very proud to be in the car with my fellow HAF team members, Project Manager Abderrahim Ouarghibi and Administrator Fatima-Zahra Larbi, leading this caravan to one of our big project sites.

Abderrahim Gahouane, HAF’s local community facilitator in Rhamna, greeted us and brought us to the site on which hundreds of olive trees donated, thanks to your support, have been planted and are now growing with a newly installed irrigation system. After working in the office, processing your donations and coordinating with the field team, it was so rewarding to see one hill, covered with green olive sapplings, rising above unplanted terrain. This site is thanks to you. 

After a long day of planting, our group was welcomed by Abderrahim into his home, where a team led by his wife and sister cooked what I imagine was more than 15 pounds of couscous, fitting all 80 of us into their lovely home.

I look forward to returning to Rhamna, as I feel that HAF has a home there, as the projects implemented by HAF are essential to community development and the sustainable future of these communities. The changes that have occurred since we began our work are enormous, and HAF is honored to have the opportunity to continue to make a difference, thanks to our partners such as OCP, MEPI, G4S, and wonderful individual partners through GlobalGiving.

Abderrahim O., Alex, Fatima Zahra & Abederrahim G.
Abderrahim O., Alex, Fatima Zahra & Abederrahim G.
Carrying the olive trees from the schoolyard
Carrying the olive trees from the schoolyard
G4S North & West Africa Director Planting
G4S North & West Africa Director Planting
The planting team
The planting team
Couscous for Lunch!
Couscous for Lunch!

Links:

Apr 8, 2013

The Broader Picture for Women in Morocco

Women of Tassa Ouirgane
Women of Tassa Ouirgane

We shared an article amongst are team this week. It read: 

"The proportion of female participation in the labor market did not exceed 25% in 2012, compared to 30% in 1999, despite the improvement in women’s access to education and the apparent decline in birth rates. By comparison, the median worldwide percentage of female participation in economic activities was 51%, while female participation in sub-Saharan African countries reached 60%." Source: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/culture/2013/04/morocco-gender-equality-failed.html#ixzz2PiKqJca1

This brought back a conversation that the HAF team had in our national team meeting back in February, in which we asked, "Who are we and who do we work for?" In a room of mostly Moroccan woman and a few Moroccan men, we said we are Moroccans and Americans working for the people who are trapped in an institutionally unjust system. 

It is for this reason that we continue to work with the women of Tassa Ouirgane to find them a space for their coop (which we have -- it is donated by men in their village), teach them skills from which they can make a wage (we have hired an expert embroidery trainer in the region), and provide them with equipment and material (which are being delivered this week to the coop site) so that they have the opportunity to be part of the workforce, and get out of this cycle of unemployment and poverty. 

You're supporting much more than these hundreds of women by funding this project. You're supporting the long but increasingly traversable challenge to give women the opportunity to be self-sufficient, to provide for their families, and to chose their future. 

Thank you for being part of our journey to level the playfield, for women in Morocco and around the world. 

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

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