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...
Jun 9, 2016

Growing Trees to Mend Old Wounds

Morocco is a gateway between Europe and Africa and as a result, different ideas, cultures, and languages have influenced the country greatly. The discord that echoes throughout North Africa as a result of extremist groups and governments has so far passed by Morocco, where it remains relatively peaceful. Historically, there was a Jewish population in Morocco but it has dwindled over the years. As a result, ancient Jewish cemeteries are spread out across the country. Recently, initiatives have been started to recall and advance the unity of the Jewish and Muslim Moroccans.

It is unusual to hear of projects that are attempting to bridge this tumultuous gap through tree planting, let alone planting trees beside Jewish cemeteries. However, the High Atlas Foundation saw the importance of bringing these two communities together. It is a rare situation where a nonprofit is led by an American Jew, Dr. Yossef Ben-Meir, who speaks fluent Moroccan Arabic and is committed to the betterment of Morocco and its peoples no matter their religion.

As the tree saplings grow, so does the trust and respect between the rural Muslims and the urbanized Jews. Morocco is attempting to overcome a deep rooted prejudice that has, and still does, impact people all over the world. Instead of rocks being thrown at each other, trees can be planted together to improve the environment and heal old wounds. Morocco is an example for other areas of the world where Muslims and Jews have lived side by side but in situations can become disparate and where hope, in more forms than one, awaits to be planted.

Jun 6, 2016

Legal Aid Program for Mohammedia and Boujdour

The purpose of this project (beginning in November of 2014, ending in January of 2016) was to respond to and lead advocacy efforts on at least five priority issues with the CSOs (Action of the Moroccan Coalition for climate justice & Moroccan alliance for the climate and sustainable development) and university students working collaboratively. The project team applied an experimental design where baseline and end surveys of beneficiaries and financial groups measured the achievement of each project objective. Participants focused on gathering information related to: 1) changes in human development and legal statuses (through interviews and questionnaires); 2) tangible impact of initiatives and projects implemented by beneficiaries; and 3) effectiveness of technical training components. Thirteen CSOs targeted by this NED-HAF Legal Aid Program (LAP) coordinated and organized 6 round table discussions on the topic.  They also collected citizens’ feedback and recommendations, and channeled them to the Ministry of Environment.

Training workshops took place at the Faculty of Juridical, Economics and Social Sciences of Mohammedia, in addition of two Youth Centers in Mohammedia. In Boujdour, most training workshops took place at a training facility for CSOs run by the Boujdour Municipality “Espace Associatif”. Local capacity was strengthened, and management capacity was consolidated to permit the replication of the community projects model on a larger scale. Participation of youth university students and CSO activists in the training workshops and implemented community and CSO initiatives reached 144, exceeding the target numbers. Approximately 85 percent of participating CSOs received direct services, training and/or coaching and support. The remaining 15 percent had less intensive participation, through weekly capacity building workshops.

This visit catalyzed a productive discussion among activists about Morocco’s commitment to the promotion and protection of economic and social rights and the steps taken to ratify a number of important international human rights treaties and conventions, and to improve their implementation at the domestic level, including the country’s recent engagement with the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. As part of this debate, CSO activists initiated an evaluation of the adopted revised Constitution and the recognition of the Economic, Social, and Environmental Council; the National Council for Human Rights; the Office of the Ombudsman; and the Competition Council.


Attachments:
May 19, 2016

A Tally of the 2016 Tree Planting Seasons

It is our sincere pleasure to convey to you that during this 2016 planting season we distributed and planted 20,400 fruit trees with 120 schools located in nine provinces of Morocco, including 42 municipalities.

 The attached tables summarize the locations, the tree varieties and the number of students (130,000 total) that participated in this national effort. We call this initiative Sami’s Project in loving memory of the sweet child and his complete love of nature.  We are grateful to Sami’s father Rachid, the Embassy of Switzerland, YSL Beaute and the very kind individuals in Morocco and the United States who supported this project.

 In addition, we highly appreciate the Education Delegation of the Province of Ifrane for our partnership agreement that enables planting community fruit tree nurseries on land lend by schools. We are also thankful for the schools in Smimou and Boujdour who also kindly lent land for this national agricultural imperative.

 Tthese initiatives raise the consciousness of our children in regards to their stewardship of the natural environment and the enormous health and profitability that comes with organic cultural practices.

 It is our humble hope that the next planting season and all the ones that may follow that together and with ever more partners we may plant with the children of Morocco as far and as wide as possible.                                     

It is our sincere pleasure to convey to you that during this 2016 planting season we distributed and planted 20,400 fruit trees with 120 schools located in nine provinces of Morocco, including 42 municipalities.

The attached tables summarize the locations, the tree varieties and the number of students (130,000 total) that participated in this national effort. We call this initiative Sami’s Project in loving memory of the sweet child and his complete love of nature.  We are grateful to Sami’s father Rachid, the Embassy of Switzerland, YSL Beaute and the very kind individuals in Morocco and the United States who supported this project.

In addition, we highly appreciate the Education Delegation of the Province of Ifrane for our partnership agreement that enables planting community fruit tree nurseries on land lend by schools. We are also thankful for the schools in Smimou and Boujdour who also kindly lent land for this national agricultural imperative.

Tthese initiatives raise the consciousness of our children in regards to their stewardship of the natural environment and the enormous health and profitability that comes with organic cultural practices.

It is our humble hope that the next planting season and all the ones that may follow that together and with ever more partners we may plant with the children of Morocco as far and as wide as possible.

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