The High Atlas Foundation (HAF) is a Moroccan-US organisation dedicated to participatory development approaches that build partnerships for projects determined by the participating communities themselves. The HAF philosophy is to create an inclusive process that emphasizes the participation of disadvantaged groups and uses methods of community planning towards the realization of development projects. Access to clean water is one of the most serious problems affecting rural communities in Morocco.
There is a rate of 19 per cent of infant mortality in the region where we are implementing this project, four times the national average, and it is directly related to drinking water. We continue to work with the people of rural villages in Taroudant Province – not only to construct infrastructure to provide clean drinking water, but also to help them pursue other dreams and priorities. We are also working in this area on women’s cooperatives, agricultural terracing and irrigation and fruit tree orchards. In addition, we work in other areas of Morocco to transfer this experience to other rural and disadvantaged communities.
The absolute essence of HAF’s work is that communities decide what is in their best interests. In making this decision, HAF facilitates the inclusion of those who might ordinarily be excluded or marginalised and seeks to support the sustainable development of the communities’ rich human resources, in particular women and young people. In training community members to work in participative approaches, the training itself encourages the formulation of ideas, priorities and development projects – as well as ensuring a corps of local leaders trained in techniques necessary for their implementation. In this way, the learning is experiential and participants learn by doing. Although the backbone of the HAF approach has always been participatory development, the Foundation has come a long way from its roots in the High Atlas Mountains and its first tree-planting projects. Wit projects like this one and those which flow from this experience,we are now helping the communities help themselves in eight of Morocco’s 62 Provinces and Prefectures. It is thanks to our many supporters, friends and donors like you that we are able to carry out this important work. Thank you and thanks to GlobalGiving for your commitment to HAF and to the people of Morocco.
Imagine for a minute that the water goes off in your home, and that all of your bottled water supply has run out. Imagine now you go to your water company and complain. No answer. You march to your local town council, demanding support. No answer. You hear that they are selling water a few towns over, so you wake up early, take the car and drive an hour each way to bring water. The days begin to pass this way, but you are tired, not feeling well, and barely have the energy to go to work.
Let's bring this scene to Rhamna Province in Morocco, where water sources are often far from villages. At the same time, Rhamna is vast, sprawling with agricultural potential in its large fields that turn green when it rains. There is no water company to call, the local council has the same issue, and the girls and young women responsible for carrying water can barely dream of having a car, let alone a donkey to help transport water.
The High Atlas Foundation is so fortunate to have you as a supporter. Thanks to the funds you donate, we can respond to the needs of the communities of Rhamna that are trapped in cyclical poverty because they struggle to have just the basic essentials. Water makes all the difference in terms of productivity, health, time to go to school, agriculture, and livelihoods.
This period, your donations, along with funding received from the OCP Foundation in Rhamna, have enabled us to build 70% of a water system in Aarabet, a village in Ben Guerir region of Rhamna. We won't stop here. Let's work together to make sure that we can complete this system, and give the people of Aarabet this most basic necessity.
The impact of your support is HUGE. And we at HAF are so grateful to you.
We are so pleased to report that thanks to your generous support, implementation of a clean water system has begun in Rhamna Province. We have identified the need to build a basin and to deepen this well. Local citizens are incredibly devoted to seeing this project through to completion, and as such they are offering labor in kind, which assures that the work gets done on schedule.
In addition, thanks to your funds, we have bought the materials for a water tower, and that is being constructed as well. Community members are working to collect piping, checking prices to make sure we can purchase enough to bring potable water to every single household in the village.
To get a sense of the full budget breakdown for clean-drinking water, check out the Budget Chart below. Your donation goes to the direct cost of this project, which is life-saving and contributes to sustainable human development, giving women and children a chance for a better life for years to come.
HAF's Project Manager Abderrahim Ouarghidi reports:
Approximately 60% of rural Moroccans now have access to clean drinking water, up from 14% in 1995. During that same period, however, access to house connections and improved water sources had extremely modest gains. Clean drinking water projects remain a top project priority expressed by High Atlas Mountain communities. Nationally, infant mortality rates are 26.49 per 1,000 — more than 4 times higher than the United States — and are significantly higher in rural areas. Too often, there seems to be a disconnect, as in this case, between the national human development figures that show marked improvements, and the reality of Morocco’s mountain communities which have been left behind.
NOTE:Time spent to procure what is often non-potable water (in addition to fuel wood) is a burden on women and girls — and prevents their participation in education. While a 2001 World Bank survey showed that girls’ enrollment in school increased 16% in communities that benefited from the installation of clean drinking water systems, interestingly, this project priority often does not appear among the suggested projects from the women's participatory planning meetings. One possible reason for this, as HAF has observed in a different community, is that the time spent fetching water is also an opportunity during the day for women and girls to socialize together.
May 2012 updates:
Construction of a drinking water basin in the village of Ahl Mbarek Massoud, rural commune of Ait Taleb:
During participatory planning meetings, this project has been designated as a highest priority. Once the land was identified and designated for the basin and a well was dug, an architect had topography plans drawn up and HAF recruited an engineer specializing in reinforced concrete to supervise the construction and a certificate of the structure’s strength obtained. The work is expected to take about 40 days.
Villages of Karya, Ait Taleb, Ouled Bella, Smasda require drinking water system:
Four additional villages have also expressed their desire for construction of a drinking water basin to relieve their suffering, and a partnership has been formed between HAF, the local community, and FHA-FOCP to do so. This partnership will fund constructing of the clean drinking water basins and the community will invest in digging and deepening the wells as well as the purchase and installation of a pump, the piping to serve the households with drinking water, and the community will also take charge of constructing the basins.
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President of the High Atlas Foundation
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