Improve Rural Moroccan Schools: Sami's Project

by High Atlas Foundation
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Improve Rural Moroccan Schools: Sami's Project
Improve Rural Moroccan Schools: Sami's Project
Improve Rural Moroccan Schools: Sami's Project
HAF President and students from the school
HAF President and students from the school

Since 2003, HAF has planted over 1.3 million seeds and trees throughout the Kingdom. In 2015, HAF planted a record-breaking number of trees: 320,000 fruit trees and seeds throughout all of Morocco, of this, 15,809 trees planted in 86 schools and reaching over 17,800 students.  In 2014, we planted trees with 67 schools. 

It is in light of the 2016 planting season, which has already begun, we have the opportunity to plant more seeds that we have in our entire history as an organization.

Specifically, for Sami’s Project, HAF has the potential to reach over 36,200 students at 113 schools throughout 44 Municipalities in 11 Provinces in Morocco. These schools and communities have identified local priorities and needs for which species to plant, over 17,100 in total. The pedagogical gardens that could be grown from these quantities, would greatly stimulate the learning environment and engage entire communities.

Growing environmental stewards of Moroccan reinforces community efforts to identify, prioritize and implement community-led development projects. Sami’s project supports policies like the Plan Maroc Vert and the “éco-école” program of the Mohammed VI foundation for the Protection of the Environment, among others. These efforts lay the future for a sustainable, stimulated and green Morocco for generations to come. Knowing of your deep commitment to inspire participatory environmental education, we hope to work together to facilitate human development throughout Morocco.   

With the planting season already under way, we hope with all our heart that we achieve the 2016 Sami’s Project potential and at the many other schools in years to come. It is therefore, that I would kindly like to request your support of HAF this planting season to allow Moroccan school children to opportunity to reap the benefits of the seeds sewn. We look forward to our collaboration to make a real difference in the lives of Moroccan school children.

HAF President & A. Guahouane working for project
HAF President & A. Guahouane working for project
The female students from the school in Bouchane
The female students from the school in Bouchane
Trees change their future
Trees change their future


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The HAF is concluding two new partnership agreements in the Rahmna province. These partnership agreements include planting botanical gardens and tree nurseries to benefit the school children and the surrounding rural communities. The partnerships also include environmental awareness workshops that are interactive, fun, and informative.

The first partnership agreement is with the school of Bouchane and there a nursery of olive and pomegranate trees will be planted in an area of 2,500 square meters. Over a five year period, this will generate approximately 100,000 trees which will be distributed to 40 villages in the area and will benefit approximately 8,000 people. With your kind and thoughtful support, we can implement this project starting January 2016. 

The second partnership agreement is with an elementary school in Ait Taleb. Here, school children and families will plant a botanical garden of local wild medicinal plants which, if cultivated, have market value while at the same time, they promote bodily health and environmental strength. The HAF looks forward to sharing knowledge about these plans and how they can be an important part of improving rural incomes and sustainably addressing rural poverty. We hope very much that you join this partnership to benefit rural Moroccan families who will happily give their time and energy to implement these projects if the seeds and tools are provided. 

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HAF with partnership with Kaihina Giving Beauty builds two bathrooms in a rural elementary school location Switer. 


There are over 100 rural school in the Al Haouz province that are without bathrooms and clean drinking water, and we have developed a project proposal to meet this major need. Not only does this create discomfort and illness amongst children, but also tragically, sequesters girls participation in education. We are dedicated to building the infrastructure of schools in order to maximize the attendance of all children and create accessibility so that teachers can spend all of their workday at their schools rather than spend a major portion of their time traveling to their work locations or being rained or snowed out completely. 


Adapting national curriculum to the specifics of Morocco’s diverse regions is an essential part of gaining understanding and building knowledge. Even as we do this, we must also dedicate ourselves to building the schools to begin with and the necessary amenities so that our children learn, share, and grow in the healthiest and safest place possible. Community-wide meetings where local people identify the projects important to them always include school infrastructure as a top priority.


On behalf of them, and our partners we kindly ask that you support this community mission which is about justice and prosperity. We can immediately build bathrooms and clean drinking water systems in the provinces of Azilal, Al Haouz, Essaouira, Rhamna, Boujdour, Ifrane, Taza, Oujda, Taroudant, and Chichaoua. Sami’s Project is inclusive of all these components including curriculum and infrastructure building to enhance the lives of Moroccan youth.  
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On a Saturday in March, the Teachers Association of Life Sciences and the Earth, partnering with the High Atlas Foundation, completed planting 110 Argon, carob and olive trees with students at the Sidi Bouskri School in Smimou, Essaouira.

With the support of the PaperSeed Foundation and the Embassy of Switzerland, Rabat, this project is also planting a community tree nursery of 40,000 fruit seeds, and is working to establish an organic agricultural value-chain with rural communities.  

The trees planted marked the beginning of a tree nursery, an environmental education program and, eventually, a crucial source of revenue to benefit the students of this small rural school, based near Essaouira. According to Abderrahim Ouarghidi, HAF’s Director of Programs, students will soon learn to care for saplings, which will eventually be distributed to local farmers.

“That nursery is going to be not only for generating income for rural families, but it’s going to be a fun and interesting opportunity for the kids to learn stuff about how they can build a nursery, and how they can organically maintain trees that greatly enhance their lives,” said Ouarghidi. 

HAF and the Teachers Association of Life Sciences and the Earth are signing in the month of April 2015 the partnership agreement related to the nursery and assisting human development in the area.  The immediate objective is to build a well, terraces, a greenhouse, and plant 40,000 seeds, over the next six months.

The Sidi Bouskri nursery is part of Sami’s Project, a program focused on enhancing elementary school education and breaking the cycle of poverty through environmental education, tree planting activities and improved infrastructure. Through Sami’s Project, HAF has worked with 152 schools to plant trees, and built clean drinking water systems and bathrooms with 10 schools, four school classrooms, and one teacher’s house. HAF also offers tutoring and scholarships to empower students from families engaged in subsistence agriculture to pursue higher education.


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Putting a tree in the ground
Putting a tree in the ground

Moroccan farmers are planting all across Morocco, and the High Atlas Foundation and Sami’s Project are no exception. In mid-January, Project Manager Amina El Hajjami visited twenty-one elementary school students in Al Houz province. The Moroccan semester break is ending, and the next two weeks will bring both many more plantings both around Marrakech and much farther afield.

On January 17th, two HAF staff members visited several schools in rural areas around Amzmiz, a small town at the foot of the Atlas Mountains. At many of the schools visited, as soon as staff members began unloading trees grown in HAF’s nurseries, students rushed to help bring trees and prepare the planting site.

After a brainstorm about the benefits of trees and how they contribute to both the environment and the economy, students got to work planting the tree that they had brought into the school. Some schools were well established and larger, whereas others further outside of the city consist of a network of one-room schools.

By the end of the day, students planted 195 trees at seven different schools, including 80 pomegranate, 30 walnut, and 30 olive trees. This is just one day in HAF’s ongoing planting season. Furthermore, the High Atlas Foundation is currently finalizing draft activities for a standardized environmental education curriculum for teachers and administrators to expand and adapt. In the spirit of HAF’s dedication to participatory planning, teachers will determine the majority of the curriculum design at a workshop including administrators and parent organization members at the end of this month.

Tree plantings at elementary schools in rural Morocco are not just tree plantings—they allow students to gain a sense of responsibility in caring for their tree and a more pleasant environment in which to go to school every day. Thank you for supporting our goal of allowing students to learn about the environment while making their schools better places!

One of the planting sites at Madrasa Al Atlas
One of the planting sites at Madrasa Al Atlas
The last step--water!
The last step--water!
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High Atlas Foundation

Location: New York, NY - USA
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @AtlasHigh
Project Leader:
Yossef Ben-Meir
President of the High Atlas Foundation
New York City, NY United States
$46,533 raised of $100,000 goal
688 donations
$53,467 to go
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