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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
Improve Rural Moroccan Schools: Sami's Project
Improve Rural Moroccan Schools: Sami's Project
Improve Rural Moroccan Schools: Sami's Project
Improve Rural Moroccan Schools: Sami's Project
Improve Rural Moroccan Schools: Sami's Project
Improve Rural Moroccan Schools: Sami's Project
Improve Rural Moroccan Schools: Sami's Project
Improve Rural Moroccan Schools: Sami's Project
Improve Rural Moroccan Schools: Sami's Project
Improve Rural Moroccan Schools: Sami's Project
Improve Rural Moroccan Schools: Sami's Project
Improve Rural Moroccan Schools: Sami's Project
Improve Rural Moroccan Schools: Sami's Project
Improve Rural Moroccan Schools: Sami's Project

Annually, on the third Monday of January, the High Atlas Foundation (HAF) holds a high-profile day of national tree planting across Morocco.  On this day—the 21st of January this year—Fatima Zahra Laaribi, HAF’s financial Manager, and Abderrahim Baddah, HAF’s nursery caretaker, headed toward Amizmiz, a small mountain town located 60 kilometers southwest of Marrakech, to celebrate a memorable day of planting.

 

On that morning, in the girls’ dormitory, Ms. Laaribi started her talk with a saying by the Prophet Mohammad (may Allah bless him and grant him peace): "If the Final Hour comes while you have a palm-cutting in your hands and it is possible to plant it before the Hour comes, you should plant it" (as reported by Anas ibn Malik, a companion of the prophet). Then, administrative staff spoke about Quranic passages related to fig and olive trees and their benefits.  For instance, trees help people to become connected to the growing process while also providing a nutritious food source and food security. Planting fruit trees also has many helpful environmental benefits, from cleaner air to reduced energy costs. Together, we tried to raise awareness of the importance of planting trees in schools and sharing our insights about why we think that planting trees is important. For high school students studying life sciences and land, the trees will help them in their studies, as they can use the green space in their schools as a learning laboratory.

 

HAF provided 20 grape plants, 20 pomegranate saplings, and 20 fig saplings and involved a nursery caretaker who ensured that the saplings were planted in properly.

 

The president of the parent’s association and the administrative staff were eager and energetic as we pulled up to deliver the trees. They were so happy to be a part of the planting event and participated actively in the planting process as they showed their full engagement.

 

All of us took the initiative and planted in an organized way to ensure that all the saplings were planted on the ground and that we took their GPS points to track their growth in the future.

  

We were invited by the directors of the schools to make a short visit to the schoolyards to show us the potentials of the schools. We want to plant more trees with them in the coming year. We were very impressed by the environmental club that they created in their schools and how quickly growing beautifully even though it was established in last October. All the tiny saplings that the students planted this year had grown beautifully. Such an initiative in schools encourages us to work with them in the future. Moreover, the growth of these trees assured us that students, teachers, and headmasters will give great care to these trees. While visiting the schoolyard, many questions were raised such as, is there a nearby and dependable water source if we plant in the future?

 

If we plan to establish a nursery in this large spare space in the school is this will be this accepted by the delegation of education under the school plan?

 

We learned a lot about their environmental and ecological needs in terms of training of planting techniques. For Moroccan schools, it is important to be open to their partners and to involve all of them, specifically the civil society. Today Moroccan school is in dire need of openness to its surroundings if it wants to invest the highest potential available. But this will be achieved only if the educational administration changed its approach, which is - and unfortunately - away from activating the educational system. For the school to be open, the administration must firmly believe in this openness, its positive, and the important of the schools’ partners.

 

Administrative staff and the president of the parent’s association showed their appreciation, joy, and happiness. They were so excited to participate and assured us that their teachers and headmasters will take care of these trees and will water them.

  

The day ended with hope and excitement for the future, as directors and the president of the parent’s association and its members, expressed their gratitude and their desire to work closely with HAF. 

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Girls making the compost-model

 

I was excited about my first field visit and about getting to know what the High Atlas Foundation’s work looks like in action, because before starting my internship, I only saw the social media posts, blog articles, and photos.

 

This day, we didn’t travel long, as we went to two schools in Marrakech. The first one was a primary school with around 600 children. Esmae, the parent's associations president, welcomed us warmly at the door and we went to meet the children in their classroom.

 

Errachid, project manager at HAF, conducted an environmental and participatory workshop about decision making to protect the environment. The students were very active and had a lot to say. They had lots of ideas, like building an environmental club, creating trash places, and planting more trees. They learned more about global warming and the problems of flooding. The students decided to make some changes on their own to improve the environment—one mentioned that he will stop cutting flowers; other said they would stop throwing trash on the ground and that they would use water more responsibly.

 

Afterward, our dear volunteer Nisreen conducted an introduction-to-composting workshop in order to put into practice what they have learned and later do a compost-making activity outside with the children.

 

Then we gave the children some time to express their newly-learned ideas and visions of their future school in drawings. I asked some of the children what they’d like to change in their school, and they answered that they need more classrooms and that they would like to have more flowers in the school.

 

After a delicious breakfast, which was offered by the parents’ association to us, we started our composting workshop outside. Nisreen asked the kids “Who likes trash?” After a little confusion, everybody denied. She asked, “Do you want more or less trash? “ Of course, they answered “Less!“. They were very interested in the composting workshop to reduce at least the biodegradable waste. We brought some plastic bottles, cut the tops off, and put some holes in the bottom. Then we began layering the compost, and the students were excited to find some soil for the first layer, then they put some food waste, then soil again, food-waste, and soil. In the end, they added some water and placed the compost-models besides trees, so the trees can benefit from the nutrient-rich compost which is produced like that.

 

At the end of this visit, we did a tree-planting activity with the kids and talked to the head of the school about the problems the school is facing: they need more bathrooms and have a problem with water when it rains a lot.

 

When we arrived at the second school in Marrakech later that day, the president of the parents’ association welcomed us again very warmly and we met with the school director. We talked with him and some teachers and he told us about his year-long experiences working as head of a school in a rural area of Morocco.  Afterward, we met the kids and Errachid, talked with the children about decision-making processes and environmental issues. He practiced the model of pairwise ranking in order to figure out what their biggest challenges are in the school. Although I do not understand Darija (the Moroccan Arabic), just by observing their interactions, I was impressed by how the children listened and were eager to participate. Everyone was very attentive. At the end of this visit we had some tree-planting activities outside and after having some tea and snacks we said goodbye to this school as well.

 

Found some nice work about climate change and environmental issues!
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(Video)

ROOTING FOR A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE: COMBINING TREE-PLANTING ACTIVITIES AND ENVIRONMENTAL WORKSHOPS IN MOROCCO.

 

The High Atlas Foundation (HAF) is committed to promoting sustainable development, using a participatory-action approach to address challenges identified by communities.  While partnering with community members, local associations, schools, municipal governing bodies, and other stakeholders, HAF believes in the efficacy of sustained communication and meaningful involvement in fostering skills and methods to enact positive change.  Following this model, the HAF team frequently couples tree-planting activities with students with environmental workshops with members of local associations and the community.

 

We are excited to share this video, capturing moments from tree-planting activities and environmental workshops in Morocco at the Bouchane High School-Secondary School complex in Rhamna and the Hassan I High School in Azilal in December 2018. The environmental workshops were led by the HAF team and university volunteers, and made possible thanks to the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs (OES).

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Greetings Friends,

 

Here we have a final moment in 2018 where we can give to uplift the course of families, communities, schools, cooperatives, women's groups, and youth.

 

Morocco is creating opportunities for its people by encouraging through its policies and programs public participation in all aspects of development. For local communities of the nation to fulfill this enormous opening for transformative change, also means that Morocco can become a hugely important model for other countries of Africa and the Middle East.

 

Here is one action we can take now together to fulfill this hope:

 

It is amazing the varied and profound benefits of organic fruit tree planting.  It promotes livelihoods, the environment, food security, nutrition, trade, culture, and self-reliance. It promotes women's liberationyouth’s advancement, and - when we organic certify their cultivation - tree planting brings growth and justice to communities that are marginalized.

 

Plant with us now before the season ends in March. Together we can achieve these truly good outcomes for people and nature, and to realize Moroccan dreams.

 

Most of all, we at the High Atlas Foundation wish you health, success, joy, fulfillment, and all that your heart seeks for yourselves and communities.

 

With warm regards and gratitude,

 

Yossef Ben-Meir
President
High Atlas Foundation
yossef@highatlasfoundation.org

 

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At present, the world community has limited options for responding to humanitarian crises. It’s time to engage more the youth in building plans in order to create a collective commitment of key actors to ensure that the priorities and rights of communities around the world affected by disaster, conflict, forced displacement, and other humanitarian crises, are informed and meaningfully engaged during all stages of planning and action. The goal ought to be to not only fund, research, and address youth’s needs in crisis settings, but also to ensure they are part of leading those responses.

 

The High Atlas Foundation (HAF) alongside the agencies of the United Nations, the International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF), the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and Qatar Red Crescent (QRC) all together participated in MYCHA program organized by Reach Out To Asia. It is a program of Education Above All Foundation (EAA), an organization established and existing under the laws of Qatar that works to create access to quality education for young people and to shape the development of their communities.

 

MYCHA is is a capacity-building program designed for young people in the Middle East and North Africa to support them as engaged partners in Humanitarian Action. MYCHA also provides knowledge and skills on how to plan and carry out small-scale social and community development projects in emergency and post-crisis environments. The program hosted 210 youth participants (53% of them were female)  from 15 Arab countries. Everyone proposed a development project that can be funded and implemented in one of the Arab communities. MYCHA focused on many important points that can positively contribute in helping the youth to implement their projects/initiatives based on a participatory way:

 

A - The International Humanitarian System and its Actors (OCHA):

OCHA reported that they stand at a critical point in history. Already at the beginning of 2018 they have faced the largest humanitarian crisis since the creation of the United Nations. Without collective and coordinated global efforts, people risk starving and succumbing to disease, stunted children and lost futures, and mass displacements and reversed development gains. Only in MENA region there are such serious crises such as: - Yemen: 18.8 million Internally displaced person (IDPS) and 10,3 million in acute need; and - Syria: 6.5 million IDPS and 5 million refugees. Now the agency took a new way of working that aims to offer a concrete path to remove unnecessary barriers to such collaboration in order to enable meaningful progress. Achieving this will be through involving youth in decision making and partnerships among:  UN agencies, International and local NGOs, private sector and civil society actors, governments and alignment, and where possible between humanitarian and development processes.

 

B - Steps to organize a humanitarian action initiative:

To build and implement a development  project or a humanitarian action, it’s important to go through these steps:

 

1 - Develop the idea based on a participatory approach that involves the beneficiaries, and examine the idea of work through the follow questions: Is it feasible and technically possible? Is it applicable? Is it desirable by the people and the donor? What are the expected benefits and the collateral impacts?

2 - Plan, which comes by the beneficiaries’ determining the purpose and the objectives; list the tasks to be performed and detail the budgets.

3 - Evaluate the feasibility of the work, options, and partnerships; identify a network of knowledge that can be used to accomplish the work, as well as build an organized work plan.

4 - Implement, which comes through an operational plan that arranges the tasks to be carried out.

5 - Follow-up the work progress, which helps in:

- Evaluating and demonstrating progress in achieving the goals to ensure that the need is met.

- Improve decision-making on plans of action and how the team works (success factors, difficulties, identifying useful / useless ways, etc.).

- Empower and motivate volunteers and supporters.

- Ensure accountability for key stakeholders (community, friends, supporters, financiers, etc).

 

The High Atlas Foundation introduced one of its main programs with youth in Morocco that managed by a Moroccan youth; Sami's Project which is dedicated to working directly with schoolchildren in rural areas. HAF also presented its future visions, one of which is to grow organic fruit trees within the schools to supplement their incomes, as well as to focus more on improving infrastructure, especially drinking water systems and bathrooms.

 

Errachid Montassir HAF representative at MYCHA, met with Mr. Essa Al Mannai the executive director of Reach Out TO Asia (ROTA), regarding an upcoming collaboration between the Education Above All Foundation and HAF, in order to enhance high quality education for rural schoolchildren in Morocco through initiatives starting in June 2019.

Morocco and all the participant countries are wonderfully contributing in expanding the humanitarian action in Africa and Asia.

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Organization Information

High Atlas Foundation

Location: New York, NY - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @haffdtn
Project Leader:
Fatima Zahra Laaribi
New York City, NY United States
$41,395 raised of $50,000 goal
 
608 donations
$8,605 to go
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