Community Fruit Tree and Medicinal Herb Nurseries

by High Atlas Foundation
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Community Fruit Tree and Medicinal Herb Nurseries
Community Fruit Tree and Medicinal Herb Nurseries
Community Fruit Tree and Medicinal Herb Nurseries
Community Fruit Tree and Medicinal Herb Nurseries
Community Fruit Tree and Medicinal Herb Nurseries
Community Fruit Tree and Medicinal Herb Nurseries
Community Fruit Tree and Medicinal Herb Nurseries
Community Fruit Tree and Medicinal Herb Nurseries
Community Fruit Tree and Medicinal Herb Nurseries
Community Fruit Tree and Medicinal Herb Nurseries
Community Fruit Tree and Medicinal Herb Nurseries
Community Fruit Tree and Medicinal Herb Nurseries
Community Fruit Tree and Medicinal Herb Nurseries
Community Fruit Tree and Medicinal Herb Nurseries
Community Fruit Tree and Medicinal Herb Nurseries
Community Fruit Tree and Medicinal Herb Nurseries
Community Fruit Tree and Medicinal Herb Nurseries
Community Fruit Tree and Medicinal Herb Nurseries
Community Fruit Tree and Medicinal Herb Nurseries
Community Fruit Tree and Medicinal Herb Nurseries
Community Fruit Tree and Medicinal Herb Nurseries

On 4 and 5 November 2019, the High Atlas Foundation (HAF) organized a Multi-Stakeholder Partnerships (MSP) workshop in collaboration with Germanwatch, a German NGO. The workshop aimed at developing a common understanding of the challenges and solutions for a decentralized energy transition towards 100% renewables in Morocco and all Africa.

This seminar is part of the MSP project for the energy transition towards 100% of renewable energies in Africa, which has two components: the first at the continental level, promoting the ambitious implementation of the African Renewable Energy Initiative (AREI) in Power Shift Africa Partnership by building a multi-stakeholder partnership to support this initiative. The second component aims to highlight the benefits of decentralization of the renewable energy sector for sustainable development and the energy-water-food nexus. The second component will be implemented together with Moroccan communities.  

The idea is to create a project based on the decentralization of renewable energies that will improve sustainable development in Morocco. The first steps of this project will begin in a village, still being identified by the MSP, and its impact will be evaluated with and on the local people. The idea is that the project will be replicated with other villages leading to advancing decentralization of renewable energies in the kingdom.

It was really great to attend this seminar. It was an opportunity to develop my ability to communicate with experts in many fields. I also had the opportunity to benefit from the experience of teachers and frameworks in renewable energies, its important role in developing the standard of living, and how projects of this nature can provide job opportunities for people with significantly diverse backgrounds.

I became aware of how to develop a project idea and how to manage it. In addition, what I learned from the seminar is the method of participatory and respectful dialogue between participants, and how they discuss their opinion publicly and personally. I learned a lot.

The good organization of everything, the arrangements, and the good division of tasks between the organizers greatly contributed to the success of the conference. The HAF team is characterized by a spirit of sharing. They are good leaders who have played a very important role in guiding and helping me to participate and contribute to the success of the seminar.

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This Newsletter presents the sustainable development work of the High Atlas Foundation and our fulfilling the Special Consultative Status at the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations that we have enjoyed since 2011.
We are facilitators of development that local communities of Morocco seek, and advocates of the people in order for society to achieve sustainable and shared prosperity. HAF's abiding connection with the human development purpose of the U.N. derives from these core elements of who we are.

The articles by HAF in this Newsletter celebrate this longstanding commitment.

Giving to HAF gives to the people’s projects and to fostering a country and world that enables communities to achieve inclusive growth.

Finally, the planting season begins next month. Let’s make this season for the ages by planting trees with families and schools that bare fruit for generations.
Happy winter, and rains, and best wishes for all good possibilities.
Yours faithfully,

Climate Protection and Sustainability at the UN Climate Action Summit

International Day of Childhood 

Participatory Development: An Alternative to Migration

Framing the humanitarian action: HAF in Qatar

Accelerating Sustainable Development Toward 2030

Ethics in Action an Event with Ban Ki Moon

Global Bottom-Up by 2030?

HAF Statement; 4th World Conference on Women

Yaounde: Government & CSOs Discuss Water & Development

Youth at the UN Plan Sustainable Development

International Day of Democracy: Engaging Youth

Build World Peace, Locally

The Hidden Gems of Morocco

Civil Society Matters to the Sustainable Development Goals

The next step for cooperatives is certification

Morocco provides 'Safe Spaces' for youth

HAF Action Efforts at the COP22 In Marrakech

Statement by HAF; ECOSOC High Level Segment

Implementing the UNs sustainable development goals

Meet a 2015er: Yossef Ben-Meir

Happy Tears: Human Connection Leading to Human Development

Mountain Life on Mountain Day

World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought

World Environment Day

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In my second field trip last Thursday, the 24th of October, I got a sense of the dynamics in a local community and got to know some outstanding powerful women, above all my HAF colleague Amina. Together with her and the external consultant Najwa we went to Tassa Ouirgane, a small village bordering the Toubkal National Park. There we visited an olive tree nursery and the local association, which represents the village and its agenda and daily affairs, including the evaluation of HAFs UNDP funded project which began in 2017.

Following a participatory approach, the first step at that time had been identifying and prioritizing the most important needs and challenges of the community together with local association members. The main issue was that the village suffered from flooding whenever the water in the river rose too high, which made several farmers lose their plants and therefore income for their families. So, building a gabion to prevent floods from entering the fields was the major priority of the project.

To include the villagers and keep expenses reasonable HAF did not simply help build a gabion but supported them with practical training by expert as well as tools and materials. Finally, the initiative started building the gabion this month, and still there are challenges to face. The village agreed that each household contribute the money needed for the materials between, but some families are simply not able to pay. All issues were discussed in the meeting which took place in the associations building.

I didn´t understand too much, as my knowledge of Darija is still poor. But Amina tried her best to translate from time to time, so I could at least follow what was going on. Also, it was interesting to see the dynamics of the meeting and the respect the members of the association which were all male, had for my female colleague. That was one thing I noticed right from the beginning and I asked Amina, if women were allowed in the association. She said, theoretically they are but as a matter of tradition no woman could ever become a member yet. The work in the village is strictly separated as well. This tree nursery supported by HAF is also run by men, though HAF partners elsewhere with nurseries managed by women. Amina wanted to encourage women to work there too but as the responsible men did not yet support that.

Noticing that empowerment of women seemed to be an issue in the village, Amina started another project especially for them. It began in January this year with one of the Imagine Empowerment Workshops. Describing the purpose of the workshops in just one sentence she answered: “Creating the life that you want and move from problems to having a clear vision in life”. Exactly this was a major problem a lot of the girls had. When they were asked about their vision for their selves a lot of them simply answered “To be married”. But being married is no vision for yourself, explains Amina. “They have to find a vision, independent from their husband. Married or not, you are yourself and you have to be confident about it and find your own vision in life.”

The concept of HAFs empowerment workshops seems to be really effective. One result was that the young women between 15 and 25 who participated, now founded their own cooperative, in which they want to focus on planting and selling medicinal plants. To generate sufficient starting capital, they began to produce bakery products and sell it in their village. We met the women´s cooperative in a second meeting just after the village association and I was impressed by the energy of the young women. Looking forward Amina says: “These girls have a lot of power. I am sure that things will change in the future and one day they will be in the association too.”

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The Small Grants project of the High Atlas Foundation, which is funded by the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs within the U.S. Department of States aims to encourage the development of innovative, sustainable environmental projects that encourage local sustainable resource management and engage civil society to implement environmental and development projects, such as in agroforestry, water resource management, and renewable energy. The foundation works with four sub-guarantees, two in Morocco and two Jordan.  One of the associations that benefit from funding under this project is Alfath Association in Bouchane.

The citizens of the communes of Bouchane and Ait taleb face waste problems and air pollution but they have few educational programs to educate them on how to solve these environmental issues. For this purpose, the Alfath Association for Development has put in place an ambitious project, with several stakeholders in the area, such as the local schools, parent groups, farmer associations and the local government.

The most important goals of Alfath project are:     

  • to create a fruit tree nursery with capacity of 100,000 medicinal plants and trees, a solar irrigation pump in Bouchane, with the goal of growing almond trees and medicinal plants.  The association expects the nursery to be financially independent after two years, selling 20 % of the trees and distributing the remaining 80 % to the schools in Bouchane and Ait Taleb.
  • to provide two communities, Bouchane and Ait Taleb, with solar pumps for two wells.  The wells currently use gasoline, so this switch to solar power will reduce air pollution and eliminate the need for fuel.  The foundation will continue to collect the gasoline fees and put those resources toward purchasing trees, maintaining the equipment, and providing social support for students in need.
  • to train students and their parents about the project and environmental issues more generally, with the hopes of helping to establish a culture of environmental protection.
  • to remove the traditional places of throwing animal waste and take the waste to farmers to use as a fertilizer, improving the cleanliness of the area and simultaneously helping the farms to improve soil fertility.
  • to evaluate the project using local graduate students under the supervision of the Geo-Development Association.  The study group will publish a manual for each village to serve as a reference for measuring the development and the preservation of the environment.

The project was inaugurated in March 2019; the first phase of the project has now been completed, after months of hard work, huge efforts, engagement and fulfillment. To evaluate the progress the past months part of the HAF team, project managers Kerstin and Imane, country director Moulay Hassan, and volunteer Yenniv visited Alfath Association and the project sites. They were impressed with Alfath’s progress: the tree nursery has successfully been built and medicinal plants have been planted in it. One solar pump has been built to water the saplings in the nursery. Furthermore, the foundation organised 15 cleanups, 5 more than originally planned, and distributed the organic waste to 17 farmers, who distributed this waste on their fields thereby improving soil quality for the years to come. The foundation also engaged various schools, parents associations, university students and farmers and will start capacity building workshops and environmental education soon. The Alfath Association is thereby proving that successfully facilitating sustainable development is an equation with several variables. It is as much environmental education of the young as it is empowerment, capacity building, and effective natural resource management. Alfath Association in partnership with HAF  is implementing a project that addresses all those variables.

During the visit, we noted that a considerable part of the project has been completed and several successes have been recorded.

We would like to congratulate the members of Alfath association for their hard work, as well as for their success in combining several components within the project, namely: environmental education, tree planting and sustainable development of the municipality.

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Land degradation is a large issue for Morocco. The Atlas Mountains dominate the central part of the country, explaining why much of the landscape is mountainous with slopes that gradually transition into plateaus and valleys, which are very dry during the summer. Even such, dry areas can be made suitable for growing fruit trees by constructing an efficient irrigation system. One main purpose of the High Atlas Foundation (HAF) is to provide people with food security in rural areas by building tree nurseries. In addition to building the irrigation systems, the most difficult task, in my opinion, is to maintain the pipeline in good condition so that water can continually flow to the plants. At first glance, the process seems easy, but it is not.  Water descends from the very tops of the Atlas Mountains into special reservoirs, and then is distributed using pipes and smaller tubes that are led to the plant roots themselves.This water flows a very long way, which could be interrupted by a natural accident. For example, one stone could stop or significantly weaken the flow of water by falling into the pipes, thus causing the trees to die. Additionally, a stone could plug the hole and stop the leak. Therefore, in this case, the human factor is very important: even the smallest efforts such as clearing stones and branches will help fill the reservoir and supply the plants with necessary water. This observation inspired me with the hope that each person with a small action can contribute to what ultimately leads to big changes in the future.

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Organization Information

High Atlas Foundation

Location: New York, NY - USA
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @AtlasHigh
Project Leader:
Yossef Ben-Meir
President of the High Atlas Foundation
Marrakech, Morocco
$40,972 raised of $50,000 goal
528 donations
$9,028 to go
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