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...
Oct 27, 2015

Pressing into fall with exciting new partnerships!

Women in Ourika
Women in Ourika

The women of the cooperative in Ourika are seeking an area where they can produce food products (for example, couscous) and articles of clothing. In addition, they are working to identify land upon which they can plant a nursery that will include marigold, nigella, and pomegranate. Toward the identification of a building where the women’s cooperative members can work, the provincial and municipal authorities have recommended a school building that has not been in use for the past 15 years. Together with the HAF, we are now in the process of developing a contract that will transfer the right of occupancy to the cooperative for a 90 year period.

In regards to securing land in order to secure the nursery, we have submitted a request to the regional management of Waters and Forests. The goal is to transfer land located in the Ourika valley to the cooperative in order to plant these two herbs and one tree, all of which can be grown organically. The municipal and provincial authorities have also recommended land in order to establish the nursery, however the parcel is no longer available and the local government authorities are determining another recommendation.

We thank Yves Saint Laurent Beauté, both for supporting women in establishing a productive cooperative in terms of artisanal and agricultural initiatives, as well as in committing to buy those products, without which income and opportunities would not be assured.

Women in Ourika
Women in Ourika

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Sep 28, 2015

HAF Endorsed by Clinton Global Initiative!

During what has been a very exciting summer for the High Atlas Foundation, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) has endorsed the High Atlas Foundation as we presses on into the fall through the “House of Life” project. The term “House of Life,” denotes a traditional name for a Jewish cemetery. The Governor of the Al Haouz Province, Younès Al Bathaoui, to employed the phrase in respect of the project, led by the High Atlas Foundation (HAF) in the Kingdom of Morocco and endorsed by the Clinton Global Initiative in three provinces: Azilal, Ourzazate, and Essaouira. 

The “House of Life” project works to allow low income farming families access to a new source of income and an alternative to subsistence farming by starting nurseries on land donated by Moroccan Jewish communities. Not only does this cultivate economic opportunity for those involved, it also promotes a cultural exchange between religious communities. The uniqueness of the scheme lies in its intercultural aspect. The “House of Life” project facilitates the free loan of land adjoining Jewish burial sites, in order to establish organic tree and medicinal nurseries for the benefit of neighboring Muslim farming communities.

Aided by the creation of HA3 (the High Atlas Agriculture and Artisanal social enterprise), a complete process from farm to table is envisaged, thus addressing existing gaps in the organic agricultural entrepreneurial system. Organic certification, fair trade prices and wider markets – national and international - are secured for local farmers, whose communities go on to benefit from reinvestment in further projects. This endorsement with CGI poses a wonderful opportunity to continue and develop HAF’s work in Morocco. We look forward to continuing into the fall!

Sep 14, 2015

Well of Opportunity for Rural Villages in Morocco!

In the Ait Taleb located in the Rhamna province, the High Atlas Foundation completed an assessment and developed a proposal to build clean drinking water systems located next to schools, which would benefit entire villages. In rural Morocco, it is commonplace that schools do not have access to clean drinking water and bathroom facilities. Installation of the drinking water systems ensures that children will participate in education with this most basic necessity while their villages and communities also benefit from this health initiative. 

The Rhamna region is semi-arid and the project involves digging wells, building water basins and towers, and installing pipes, as well as experiential training, in order for the initiative to be maintained by the local people.

In total, 18 schools will gain access to clean drinking water, with a total school population of 1,505. The total population of the village communities that will benefit is 4,728. Furthermore, health and hygiene education workshops will be conducted with the school children which will also incorporate a gendered perspective because the installation of clean drinking water increases girl’s participation in education (according to the world bank, 2013). Finally, the provision of water will also enable the planting botanical gardens at these schools, which will increase student awareness of the environmental and economic importance of organic cultivation of medicinal plants and fruit trees. 

 
   

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