Apr 12, 2013

Partnering for Action - Makes for Progress

Well Source
Well Source

PROBLEM: RURAL POVERTY AND LOW CROP PRICES

In rural Morocco, the combination of population growth and the low market-value of traditional staple crops (corn and barley), from which most rural households derive their income, has made subsistence agriculture unsustainable.  

PARTNERSHIP:

The High Atlas Foundation has partnered with the Trustees of the Sacred Site of Rabbi Raphael Ha Cohen, Region of Akraich, Province of Al Haouz and the Moroccan Jewish Community to improve the lives of over 10,000 people in twelve rural villages in Akraich region by planting and transferring skills to local community members to maintain 80,000 fruit trees.

STEPS FOR ACTION:

This project began in July of 2012, in which a partnership was agreed upon and villages prepared for an irrigation system and nursery. The initial phases of the project involved building agricultural terraces, including delivering earth and natural fertilizer to the nursery, installing an irrigation system, and developing competencies among community members to maintain the nursery site and irrigation system, as well as general project management.

 Members of the participating village communities maintain the nursery, while developing  technical skills necessary to raise and cultivate healthy fruit trees.  Once the seeds and saplings mature into young trees after two years, they will be distributed to each household at no cost and planted in their private orchards.  After four to six years from when they are transplanted to household orchards, the trees begin to bear fruit, which can then be sold in domestic fruit markets.

 SUSTAINABLE ACCOMPLISHMENTS:

This planting season, HAF planted 40,000 fruit saplings planted in a nursery in the region. Over four to six years, these trees will provide fruits that can be sold at market prices,

 The second milestone we celebrate this week is the completion of the well that will provide clean water to the nursery, and to the surrounding villages.

 Thanks to the generous support of the friends of HAF and the Jewish Community of Marrakech, this project will have implications for development for years to come. 

Links:

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. 

 
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