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...
Sep 30, 2014

Clean Energy Briquette Production Update

HAF nuts will soon be in the market
HAF nuts will soon be in the market

As the nut harvest is coming to a peak, the HAF and HA3 teams are currently working on implementing the first ever purchase, processing and sale of organic certified walnuts and almonds. Organic certification has been secured and initial funding is available. Negotiations are underway with the Atlas farmers. Once product is obtained, it will be cleaned, packaged and shipped to the US.

HAF aims to acquire the agricultural waste from this harvest and uphold its zero waste commitment. Further updates following the harvest will be provided, once available. 

Additional background information for further details:

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.

Sep 12, 2014

Nursery in Akraich

Volunteers at the nursery
Volunteers at the nursery

Due to the success of the community tree nursery on arable land lent by the Jewish Community of Marrakech, located near the village of Akraich in the Al Haouz province, the Moroccan Jewish community has lent an additional four parcels of land for nurseries.  Three of the added parcels are in the Al Haouz province, and the fourth is located in the Azilal province.  The High Atlas Foundation is also developing a partnership with the Moroccan Jewish Community of Casablanca in order to build a community tree nursery on their land located in the region of Ourzazate.

Larbi Didouqen, the co-Vice President of High Atlas Foundation aids in the management of one of these nurseries in Akraich. Recently, trees have been planted in the primary school, specifically eucalyptus, fig, and pomegranate trees. These fruit and medicinal trees not only combat deforestation and desertification, aiding in environmental sustainability, but they also provide added sources of income for the rural community in Akraich.

Because of this especially hot & dry summer, a local development association offered to assist in irrigation for this nursery. Generally, the well is sufficient throughout the year, but this sunny and hot summer proved the need for assistance. A special thanks goes to this association, for without their help with irrigation and materials, the nursery would have suffered.

These projects alleviate rural poverty by providing fruit trees that grow organically, while also building productive partnerships among Morocco's ethnic and religious groups.

Irrigation of nursery
Irrigation of nursery
Nursery in Akraich
Nursery in Akraich
Aug 29, 2014

Summer updates and school curriculum

Children in schoolyard
Children in schoolyard

Although it has been a hot summer, that has not prevented communities from maintaining the health and ensuring the growth of their trees! Here are some project updates from the various school benefitting from Sami’s Project.

The headmaster of Talat n Yaacoub school ensures the well-being of the trees. The school has a generous amount of property upon which they plan to create an environmental club that includes all types of trees that suit the area. This school is provided with enough water from its well, conveniently located on the school property. Currently, the school is seeking help from their commune to install a drip system to water their trees.

The Loualja school has greatly benefited from the tree-planting activity and initiatives of the High Atlas Foundation. In addition, the school has developed and formalized a partnership with the local youth association. This association consists of school alumni who are committed to implementing further project activities and taking care of the facility.

At the Imgdal School, the trees are flourishing as the students water them during vacation. The teachers encourage the students to take care of trees at the Lberj School. Some of the kids said that ‘’owning and watering a tree is a privilege for me from this school’. At this school, all the trees in this school are irrigated via connection to the drip system, which uses tap water.

The teachers and the students chose, as a result of a consensus vote, a student from grade 6 to water the trees during vacation. He was chosen because he had a pervious experience: his own family has a similar drip-system of irrigation in their yard. In addition, many other students assisted him in the process of maintaining these trees.

In July, HAF staff and local teachers discussed some of the major challenges teachers face in rural areas. Particular grievances were related to curriculum. Currently, High Atlas Foundation is working on creating a standard curriculum, to benefit these rural areas.

Trees in Sami
Trees in Sami's project schoolyards

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