NEWSLETTER SIGN UP

Community Assessments in the Vallée d’Azzaden.

By Jan T. 

HAF Intern 

Rachid and I visit the often overlooked villages of the Vallée d’Azzaden and meet with local people.

Efforts to coordinate actions and stimulate cooperation throughout the Vallée d’Azzaden are starting to take shape. To facilitate our communication, we decided to host a breakfast with community members (some of whom are members of civil associations) of the twelve villages along the valley. The setting: the Saturday Souk in Asni, a weekly market where items for sale range from fruit and vegetables to cows and donkeys, spices, clothes, household utensils and everything in between. Most people from the nearby towns make a trip to the market anyway, so it gave us the perfect opportunity to have a sit-down over some eggs, bisara (a thick bean soup with olive oil) and msemen (thick, pancake-like bread with honey or crème cheese).

During the meeting with the members of the different villages, we agreed that Rachid and I would come and visit them during the next week to hold participatory meetings and discuss their challenges and opportunities. Early morning several days later, we set out from Ouirgane for a couple of days of community discussions on the past and future development, and intense hiking through the beautiful valley while meeting incredible people along our way. The first stops were Augni, Amras and Tikhfiste, this last one being a remote village perched on a lone peak. However beautiful the views up there might have been, their location did not make their situation any easier: schoolchildren had to spend two hours a day hiking up and down the mountain to go to school, 120 hectares of fruit- and nut trees were dying due to insufficient water infrastructure, and getting to a doctor proved to be a difficult task for the most vulnerable members of the community.

After spending the night with my host family in Tassa Ouirgane, Rachid and I headed out to explore the even more remote side of the valley. Currently, the first five villages of the area are connected to Ouirgane and the main route by a dirt road just big enough for cars and camions to pass and transport supplies. However, this road stops in Azerfsane, after which a mule treks lead to seven more villages hidden deep in the High Atlas region. After conversations with inhabitants, it becomes clear that these villages seem almost overlooked and forgotten, causing problems for mobility, economic possibilities, government support, and education.

However urgent the problems for these villagers and their way of life may be, inhabitants of the villages are gearing up to face them head-on. In every community we visited, we found people had already founded organizations, requested funding and proposed projects aimed improving life in their village. More than anything else, it is this incredible human potential that will enable these communities to adapt to the challenge posed by climate change and improve the quality of their own lives.

 

FRÉ AND HAF PARTNER FOR WOMEN’S CULTIVATION AND OWNERSHIP OF ARGAN TREES

 

By Max Bone

Social Media Team Memeber 

 

The High Atlas Foundation is thrilled to announce a new partnership with FRÉ, a company that uses organic argan oil to offer a skincare solution for women who work out, formulated for skin that sweats. FRÉ uses argan that is harvested and processed in Morocco, and they are committed to giving back to the communities that make their world-class product possible.

 

FRÉ and HAF are working to empower women. Having extensive experience working with argan nuts, FRÉ understands the crucial role that rural Moroccan women play in making their first class product available to world markets.

 

FRÉ and HAF will plant argan trees in the Province of Essouira that will be cultivated by women’s cooperatives, and we will assist the organic certification and sale of their product in local and international markets. This will be a fundamental change for the women’s cooperatives: as instead of processing the product of others for an excruciatingly low salary, they will now be able to cultivate, process, sell, and receive the entire profits from their own argan.

 

HAF and FRÉ are also teaming up in order to expand environmental education and preservation with women and youth groups. Environmental preservation is a cornerstone for both FRÉ and HAF. Our partnership with FRÉ will allow us to plant trees at public schools to encourage students to be empowered environmental stewards, and make all of Morocco a greener place.

 

The High Atlas Foundation is grateful to FRÉ, and all of the partners who enable us to carry out our work driven by Moroccan communities to brighten the future of women, children, and the entire world.

 

Community Service Workshop in Ben Guerir

 

By Fatima Zahra Laaribi

On the 11th and 12th of September 2017, three HAF staff members participated in a workshop organized by OCP at Mohammed VI Polytechnic University in  Ben Guerir, located in the Rhamna Province.

There were 200 participants in the workshop, including OCP employees active in the voluntary sector, members from Foundation OCP and Phosboucraa Foundation, local community facilitators, members of civil associations, and development experts.

The plenary session was characterized by inspiring the audience through sharing experiences, testimonials, and success stories of some NGOs and institutions.

The Community Service Volunteers program aims to offer OCP employees the opportunity to dedicate up to four weeks of their working time to voluntary actions for citizenship and put their skills and experience of the Group's employees in the service of sustainable development and inclusive of the communities.

During these two days, the community service workshops covered nine fields: Agriculture, Art and Culture, Employability, Entrepreneurship, Environment, Education, Health, and Social Economics and Solidarity.  HAF staff members took part in three critical workshops namely Agriculture, Environment, and Education.

In the thematic Workshops, we discussed 14 agricultural projects including HAF’s seeds to sale value chain, organic certification, and carbon sequestration.  Other projects closely considered were the Integrated Agricultural Development Project presented by Foundation OCP, and health campaign and agricultural caravan by Phosboucraa Foundation.

There was a great interaction between the potential volunteers and the members of civil society by trying together to find the zones of the intervention and the necessary actions.

We gathered into three large groups to create an operational model where we concluded with the following ideas:

Vision: Contribute to the development of communities through the anchoring of the spirit of volunteerism

Values: Solidarity, commitment, tenacity, sharing, empathy, integrity, and respect

Objectives:

-          To contribute to socio-economic development

-          Expand the spirit of solidarity

-          Contribute to the improvement of the interventions of the various actors through the skills of their collaborators

-          Support citizen initiatives by voluntary collaborators

Priority areas:

  1. Employability
  2. Education, training
  3. Health
  4. Environment
  5. Agriculture
  6. Art and culture Social economy and solidarity

Our next action: create a platform of all volunteer opportunities so that all the participants and others interested will have access to it.

 

OCP’s Workshop on Volunteerism

 

By Errachid Montassir

HAF Project Manager

At the Mohammed VI Polytechnic University in the city of Ben Guerir, the OCP Group organized a two day workshop about a new program they are launching, called Community Service.

The OCP Group has a Board that was created to carry out the social and societal commitment of the organization.  Its main goal is to develop and implement community programs, focusing mainly on the human development. By adopting and seeking to effectively apply the participatory approach, the new program intends to establish the basis for integrated citizen action for an economic and social development in Morocco and other African countries that are part of a South-South cooperative context.

The idea behind these workshop is to develop sustainable community initiatives, as described by the General Director of the OCP Group, Dr. Mostafa Terrab: "This company will provide short term expert volunteers to the to assist our projects in many dimensions, including entrepreneurship, social economic solidarity, youth training and employability, agriculture, education, art and culture, health, humanitarian support and the environnement.”

The volunteering duration for OCP employees will be four weeks.  During this period, the volunteers will not be controlled, they will continue to receive their salary, on condition they will achieve something helpful for our communities through actions, creating projects with cooperatives and civil associations, assist new workshops, and also provide final reports. The program can also build capacities, means, methods, resources and financial support in some cases.”

More than 200 people attended this important workshop, including OCP partners, members Foundation OCP, and all the participants from different civil groups, cooperatives, and organizations.

The High Atlas Foundation was invited by the OCP Group to attend the workshop as an example of a group working closely already with one of the most recognizable volunteer programs in the United States called Farmer-to-Farmer.  This program is managed by Land O Lakes, who works exclusively with HAF in Morocco to field 30 volunteer-experts to support all aspects of agricultural development.  The technical assistance of these volunteers assist HAF’s community partners in business plan development for the organic product; technical assessments for new nurseries, orchards, seed banks, and product processing; in monitoring carbon sequestration and commercialization of carbon credits; and building local capacities to combat climate change and sustainable management of natural resources.

These volunteer-experts from the United States have done a priceless job with Moroccan cooperatives through the High Atlas Foundation.  HAF shares the experience, technical information, and feasibility documents development with all local and national, public and private partners.

 

The first day of the OCP workshop started by welcoming the attendees to the conference.  The session facilitator, Mamoun, came with a great ecological project; special plastic bottles made to use for a long time, and they gave the bottles to all the attendees.

Mohamed Soual, the chief economist of OCP group, spoke on behalf Chair Mostafa Terrab, and he discussed the importance of organizations and associations in Morocco to play a serious role to move communities forward.  He mentioned how OCP employees are excited about this big upcoming volunteer program.  At the end of his talk, he spoke to all attendees to take this opportunity to make every effort to improve our Kingdom and Africa as well.

The HAF team addressed the participants, about our experiences with the expert-volunteers, its partnerships to support volunteers, and about outstanding volunteer achievements in HAF-community projects, in the environment, education, organic agriculture, and culture.

In the environment workshop, there were three ecological projects selected, including from HAF: Sami's Project, which is working with youth through planting trees with students and their communities to create green spaces in schools and communities and expand the culture of planting between the students.  The project endeavors to make better education available to the rural population through establish clean water systems at schools, build bathrooms and housing (which directly increase girls participation), and facilitate interactive environmental and hygienic activities.

The second day of the workshop was dedicated to creating the operating modes of the community service program.  Some of the basic components include:

- The volunteer assignment should be identified by the collaborators.

- OCP manages the community service program, identifies and manages a list of projects and partners, and allows collaborators to contribute by proposing new projects, which are validated.

- There will be a charter of commitment to be signed by the collaborator before the voluntary action.

The High Atlas Foundation and the OCP Group share the goal to work hard on sustainable development and move forward communities of our Kingdom and of African nations.

 

 

“The Not-so-Ugly Americans”

 

 

 

By Max Bone

Social Media Team Member

 

I am sharing an interesting documentary that suggests that “Not-so-Ugly Americans” outside of the United States are Peace Corps Volunteers. The Peace Corps, which was founded in 1961 by the late President Kennedy to promote “peace and friendship across the world” has sent over 225,000 volunteers to 193 countries across the globe.

 

The aspect of Peace Corps volunteers changing stereotypical images of Americans abroad is outlined in this 1965 documentary, The Not-so-Ugly Americans. The documentary centers on the role that Peace Corps Volunteers stationed in Guayaquil, Ecuador, have on shaping the local public opinion of the American people as a whole.

 

At the beginning of the documentary, all of the featured Peace Corps Volunteers speak of how local people were skeptical of their intentions, they were assumed to be elite politicians and missionaries. Eventually, the local population came to see that there are pre-conceived notions of the visiting Americans were not true, and that they were in fact simply there to be of assistance without ulterior motives. The Peace Corps Volunteers came to find the same of the local people as time went on as well. The building of this mutual trust came to be when successful projects were carried out with all parties involved.  

 

The role of Peace Corps volunteers working towards a more connected and trust-filled world does not end when they are in-country service is over.  Indeed, that is often-times when it begins. One example of this is Dr. Yossef Ben-Meir, who founded the High Atlas Foundation in 2000 with other former Peace Corps Morocco Volunteers.  HAF is dedicated to achieving sustainable development with all Moroccan communities.

 

Hopefully, in the future, the role of the Peace Corps, and other organizations such as the High Atlas Foundation will be able to achieve a world where preconceived notions can be put behind, and all can come together to work towards a better world.

 

For further reading about the Peace Corps and the global opportunities it presents, please read this article in Voice of America, as well as this article by Dr. Ben-Meir on adapting the Peace Corps to this new era.

 

Join us on facebook

HAF tweets

HafFdtn Not enough emphasis on local communities & them driving development. "PhDs are needed to understand local needs due to complexity." Not true
11mreplyretweetfavorite
HafFdtn The lack of the range of capacities preventing agricultural export is afflicting most nations. #ICSD207 @ICSD_Conf
4hreplyretweetfavorite
HafFdtn "Quick win" interventions or "low lying fruit"; Morocco as the whole of Africa is filled with such opportunists. #ICSD2017 @ICSD_Conf
4hreplyretweetfavorite
HafFdtn At the Millennium Promise session; works in 10 African countries to achieve SDGs at the local level. #ICSD2017 @ICSD_Conf
9hreplyretweetfavorite
HafFdtn Check out this amazing blog written by HAF Intern Jan on his visit to asses communities in the Valley of Azzaden https://t.co/uk3OKCb1T2
12hreplyretweetfavorite
HafFdtn HAF President, Dr.Yossef Ben-Meir is participating in the Sustainable Development Conference at Colombia Universit.More updates coming soon!
13hreplyretweetfavorite
HafFdtn Mapping soil in Africa is a major need; this lack of information does not allow accurate diagnosis of a problem.
19hreplyretweetfavorite
HafFdtn The key concepts and inspiration for empowerment are self-discovery, action identifying and driven, unifying, and knowledge strengthening.
23hreplyretweetfavorite

HAF in Morocco

High Atlas Foundation
4 Rue Qadi AyaadAl Manar 4A - 3rd floor - Appt. 12 El Harti, Guéliz, MARRAKESH 40.000 - Morocco

Tel: +212 (0)5 24 42 08 21
Fax+212 (0)5 24 43 00 02 

E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Directions to HAF Marrakech Office

HAF in US

High Atlas Foundation
High Atlas Foundation 332 Bleecker Street, #K110, NEW YORK, NY 10014
USA

Phone: +1 (646) 688-2946
Fax: +1 (646) 786-4780

E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Follow us

Photos

showshowshowshowshowshowshowshowshowshowshowshow