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 app...
Jul 19, 2016

A Fresh Step

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As we find our way coming out of Ramadan and Aïd Mubarak celebrations, we are starting to prepare for planting season 2017. One of the project’s focus is the building of a community-managed tree and medicinal herb nursery in Tadmamt of the Asni Commune of the Al Haouz Province, a total of 6,000 people in 30 villages also effecting Asni, Oukaimeden, and Ourika. This beautiful region of villages sits on the northern side of Morocco’s oldest nature protected area, the Toubkal National Forest; a vibrant area of pasturelands for goat and sheep herds and a large plethora of indigenous species of vegetation.

This project of building fruit tree and medicinal herb nurseries was designed to include the community and to ensure its lifelong success and viability to the individuals profiting from it. The trees and herbs in question do not need the use of pesticides, they have a high market value, and the people maintaining them already possess the skills to maintain and market the fruit produced.

To paint a picture of the social context, the villages of the High Atlas region rank among the poorest in all Morocco. The lack of, to little, infrastructure has left communities with little presence of government institutions and services in the area. And eighty-five percent of rural households earn less than the national average and nearly eighty percent of rural economies in Morocco are supported by agricultural production. Projects like these diversify the rural economy, create employment, and help diversify diets by contributing to public health initiatives from the consumption of fruit.

Generous contributions to this unique project ensure key institutions that will support their development, culminate relationships among the local populations, and provide work across seasons. Thank you to all supporters of this project. We have made significant progress and we are excited of what is to come. Stay tuned! And until next time. 

Jun 14, 2016

A Dry Need for Water

Water is a precious commodity, but even more so is the need for potable clean safe drinkable water. What may appear to be so rudimentary and necessary to carry out daily routines are often not accessible to as high as 70% of Moroccans in most rural areas. The clean drinking water project by the High Atlas Foundation (HAF) aims to provide $37,500 to provide potable water for 5 villages of about 1,250 people in the Toubkal Region in Morocco’s High Atlas Mountains. By doing so, the benefits of providing potable water will reduce an already high infant mortality rate, and improve overall life spans. Additionally, by providing potable water, it creates a heightened efficiency that can funnel energy back into communities for development and participatory initiatives for young women and girls to be reintroduced into education and other proactive activities.

HAF has always been committed to a participatory approach with its communities in accordance with its belief in sustainable development. Within these communities, in addition to using local building techniques, knowledge, and resources, the project also focuses on community feedback sessions and meetings to promote awareness of health problems and the necessary steps to solve them for the key issues stated above, for example, sanitation and personal hygiene. It is HAF’s goal that villagers will have a better understanding of the causes of not only water-borne disease, but other health problems and how they can both be treated and prevented. What is also important is the development of young women and girls in terms of education and other activities. The availability of potable water will free valuable time for many girls to put their time into furthering education.

Lack of potable water hinders the quality of life for villagers, time, capital, and resources that can be spent more efficiently in other spheres such as long-term development and development potential. The need for the creation of sustainable potable water is the number one priority during needs assessments and these communities consider it an essential requirement for health, literacy, and proactive activities for their fellow neighbors. Contributions and support to this project would provide these individuals the opportunity to better future generations to come and ammeliorate a significant concern for the many families that call the mountains, home. 

Jun 13, 2016

Irrigation Systems With Many Purposes

Installation of a Drip-Irrigation System
Installation of a Drip-Irrigation System

Here at the High Atlas Foundation (HAF), assisting communities in promoting economic growth and community income generation through participatory development has been as the forefront of our mission. One project that we are working on to fulfill this objective is increasing efficient irrigation to new and existing fruit trees. The primary goal of this project is to plant new saplings and provide irrigation to 20,000 fruit trees, which will increase income generation through higher crop yields. At the same time, by planting these trees on mountainside agricultural terraces, the project will help to mitigate erosion and deforestation from mudslides.

This ongoing project is essential to rural agricultural development in the Tifnoute Valley as it provides necessary irrigation system development in 14 communities (over 3,500 people) and directly improves individuals' daily lives. Currently, HAF and our partner communities continue to plant new cherry and walnut trees on mountainside terraces. In the Atlas Mountain region specifically, the ground and soil environment is not necessarily conducive to the rich growth of crops, but through terracing and HAF’s drip irrigation system, farmers are able to efficiently irrigate trees and saplings and keep water run off to a minimum, as access to water in these communities is still a precious commodity. This process is also integral in helping to stabilize ground soil and rock beds. Terracing and tree growth on mountainsides can alleviate the risk of mud and rock slides which not only strip soil of vital nutrients but can negatively impact homes, schools, transportation systems and businesses. Our irrigation project enables communities to increase their growing capacity of fruit trees and ensure a prosperous economic future for communities and families throughout the region.

Through continued collaboration and implementation with our community partners, we are working to facilitate the sustainability of both the nature environment of the High Atlas region and communities’ economic stability. To ensure the longevity and viability of this project and the continued promotion of fruit tree agriculture throughout Morocco, we appreciate and welcome the support of our allies across the world.

 
   

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