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...
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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May 17, 2016

A Tally of the 2016 Tree Planting Season

Every planting season has its own life story. We are at that time of the year when it has just concluded.

This year, as every year, we gave it all the energy and resources that we could muster.  Here are the incredible results and our deepest hopes for the future.

In the past 12 weeks we planted more than one million fruit seeds and saplings in twelve community nurseries and with 120 schools, in 15 provinces of Morocco.

It took us eleven years to plant our first million in the Kingdom, and now we have accomplished the same in almost as many weeks.

This is our seventh record breaking year in a row. During this 2016 season we planted more than three times the amount we did in 2015.  As the trees mature, 50,000 people will benefit from the income, food security, and robust environment.

The nurseries are made possible by the grants of land for 5-10 years from public schools, the High Commission of Waters and Forests, cooperatives, municipalities, associations, and the Moroccan Jewish Community.  We are grateful for our partnerships to end rural poverty.

Planting seasons are not just about seeds, soil, and water – they are also about seizing opportunities and using the momentum and finite time frame to generate greater support.  The coming together of people is the storyline that marks each season unique, each with its trials, each a redemption.

We would like to have planted many times more than we did.

We would like to take to scale the model that would deliver one billion trees and plants to the nation.

We would like to expand to new places the agricultural value-chain that would certify the people’s product as organic and process and sell it in Morocco and other countries.

We would like to reach further, touch more, enable more dreams to come true.

We have a dream to plant far and wide, in all places, and with all people that say ‘Yes, that is the future we want.’

The end of a planting season at the High Atlas Foundation and for most every farmer is already filled with thoughts of next year. 

We pledge this true and heartfelt creed that no soul will be denied trees and the everlasting goods that they yield.

Happy End to the 2016 tree planting season, Happy Beginning for every season, united in purpose.

Yours sincerely,

The High Atlas Foundation

Apr 20, 2016

2016: A Planting Season to Remember

We are now at the conclusion of the 2016 planting season and we are thrilled to report that during the last 12 weeks the High Atlas Foundation and community and civil partners planted approximately 900,000 seeds. To put this amount into perspective, it took us eleven years -from 2003-2014 - to plant our first million seeds and saplings and we have nearly planted that same amount in as many weeks. Furthermore, to get a sense of the scope of this number of trees, there are 26,000 trees, for example, in New York city’s Central Park. In total, the seeds and saplings were planted in 12 community managed nurseries in 5 different provinces and the contribution of land was provided by local cooperatives, the High Commission of Waters and Forests, the Jewish Community of Morocco, municipalities, schools, and private individuals.

 This now makes seven years in a row where HAF and its partners planted a greater number of trees than during the year prior. However, this year represents the largest increase from the previous year - we planted three times more than during the 2015 season. We also planted with a larger number of schools than we ever have in the past. This includes 113 schools in 10 provinces of Morocco. In addition to fruit trees, medicinal aromatic plants were planted by the women’s cooperative of Ourika Valley, which is a major opportunity for them since those flowers are in demand by our partner YSL Beaute.

Even as we feel grateful for these accomplishments, there are as many nurseries for which we have partnership agreements but not the funding for them to be realized. These potential nurseries include with at-risk youth who have been detained for minor crimes, on lands contributed by schools in order for those nurseries to serve their communities and province, and in an area so that we may cultivate varieties of figs that are indigenous and threatened.

In conclusion, we sincerely look forward to the 2017 planting season for which we are now preparing and we hope that it will include opportunities to help corporations achieve carbon balance, to expand to new areas, to serve people with significant needs, to benefit women and youth who are so eager to achieve their dreams if given the resources to catalyze the process, and to areas long neglected or marginalized that would most welcome participatory planning and organic agriculture so that they may achieve the future they want.

 
   

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