Project #6501

Clean Drinking Water for 1250 Villagers in Morocco

by High Atlas Foundation
Water reservoir
Water reservoir

Have you ever wondered what you would do if you didn’t have clean drinking water from a faucet in your home?

Well many rural households in the Atlas Mountains live in such conditions. Households are oftentimes not linked to the national water piping network, especially communities which are the hardest to reach (farther up in the mountains).

To adapt, households build on a higher-elevated part of their town or village, community-managed reservoirs to store spring or rain water. These are similar to the water towers you find in towns and villages in the United States, but built in the ground. With these reservoirs, and subsequent piping, households are able to reduce the distance needed to access water and become better equipped to ensure water year-round for household, agricultural and animal consumption.

These reservoirs are from 18-100 meters cubed and can cost a substantial amount of money; often greater than annual capacity of the community. The High Atlas Foundation works with communities, and helps support them in financing and building these reservoirs.

When we consider the importance of water and the life it provides, sustainable water management is essential for populations worldwide. This is why, together with you, we are committed to bringing clean drinking water to households throughout the Kingdom. 

As we hope you are aware, the Kingdom of Morocco is hosting the 22nd session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 22) to the UNFCCC in Marrakech this November 2016.  It will be an exciting time to come together and commitment to global action and cooperation towards sustainable environmental practices as laid out in the Paris Agreement

During the COP22, the High Atlas Foundation aims to highlight its sound water resource management, in combination with the organic agriculture value chain model, as a solution to not only poverty, but peace throughout the country and region as well.  The COP22 is a COP of action; a global climate action agenda to boost cooperative action among governments, cities, businesses, investors and citizens to reduce emissions and help vulnerable countries adapt to climate impacts. The first universal climate agreement was unanimously adopted at COP21, which took place in December 2015 in Paris. The agreement aims to limit the rise in global temperature "well below 2ºC". This COP22 in Morocco aims to bring all States into action through the mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions and ambitious national commitments. 

As part of HAF's commitment to sustainable development and given our expertise in the agroforestry sector, we will be looking to market carbon offsetting initiatives to individuals, companies and states during the COP. Not only will this contribute to our 1 Billion Tree campaign, but also allow entities to uphold their commitments to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions. Global Giving will have a Bonus Day on September 21st, and we at the High Atlas Foundation plan to offer to our Global Giving supporters the opportunity to offset their carbon emissions. 

Stay tuned here on Global Giving! You can also sign up for updates from the HAF newsletter for further information! 

Water tower
Water tower

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. 

The High Atlas Foundation is glad to report that in the Moroccan municipality called  Ait Oum El Bekht, we completed the installation including a well and water tower of a clean drinking water system. Currently, eight household benefit from this initiative, which was supported by the Organization of the Moroccan Community in the United States. 

We are currently working to secure the needed financing for piping in order to enable the delivery of clean drinking water to an additional seventy households. In order for the needed quantity of water to be pumped to the water tower, the project also requires an engine with larger capacity. We are working together with the local municipality as well as local associations in order to secure public financing in order to achieve this project. Currently, they have committed $2,000 toward expanding the project in order to reach the goal of seventy households.

The High Atlas Foundation has also conducted community meetings in the province of Al Haouz where local people ranked clean drinking water as their top priority. This process is very important  because by involving local beneficiaries in the entire planning process of development initiatives their commitment to their implementation, including their contributions, become solidified. We are working with them towards developing budgets and they have already committed to provide their labor in kind toward project implementation.

The High Atlas Foundation, partnering with the organization of the Moroccan Community in the United States, in the municipality of Ait Oum el Bekht in the region of Beni Mellal, in order to build a clean water system that will ultimately service 700 homes. The immediate goal is that the already constructed water tower will meet the clean drinking water needs of 40 households. In order to achieve this, the High Atlas Foundation is dedicated to raising support in order to purchase the water pipes that will enable water delivery. 

The municipality and local association have partnered to dig the trenches in which the water pipes will be laid and buried. Our focus now is to require the pipes in order to complete this important project. We thank you, our friends and supporters for all the generous giving that you have done this year and previous years and that you, your families, and your friends have a successful and happy new year and every year to come. 

Here and here are two links to photo albums where the community beneficiaries of this water project identified this initiative as most important to them.

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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Organization Information

High Atlas Foundation

Location: New York, NY - USA
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Yossef Ben-Meir
President of the High Atlas Foundation
NYC, NY (US) and Marrakech, Al Haouz (Maroc), Morocco
$14,400 raised of $37,500 goal
176 donations
$23,100 to go
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