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Experience at Cadi Ayyad University

students

By Fatime Zahra Emachloukh

Student at Cadi Ayad University

 

When we talk about Cadi Ayyad University, we are talking about a history, which involves a long period of hard work and great efforts. The eclectic student population is the best part of this University, since it comes from different places, with different ideas, goals, ambitions and beliefs. However, there is one special thing that ties us together - LOVE. We all love discovering, experiencing new things, meeting new people, and making new friends.

Thanks to this University, we have learnt so many things, from writing short paragraph essays, to dealing with hard situations. We have laughed, cried, and shared a lot of feelings with each other inside this warm place. We feel that we belong to this university. The feeling that I am talking about, is not that simple.  When I say I belong to this University, I mean I am a part of this University. When I say I belong to this University, I mean I have a role in this University. When I say belong to this University, I mean I love this University.  I love it no matter what happened in it in the past, or the challenges I might face in the future. No matter how hard the journey, at the end of the road, you will realize that you have enjoyed and learnt so many things about yourself and life as well.

I still remember my first day here. I still remember that girl; that ‘little girl’ with limited ideas, experiences and dreams. However, all these things immediately changed, because this ‘little girl’ started to think bigger and see things in a different way, that helped her to build her personality. A way that made her stronger, more productive and clearer about her dreams.  All the things the ‘little girl’ developed, were because of this university. After this, I realized 

that this amazing place deserves to be in a better condition, and we must do something to ameliorate it. We should give back, what we take from the university. The best thing that we can give this university, is our time and energy. Our time to create something unique, and our energy to study and work hard.

This piece of my story, about my metamorphism at Cadi Ayyad University, is an experience that must be shared, regardless of how it is received by others. Perhaps, it will allow other students to appreciate our university and its historical context in shaping lives of those who have attended it, since 1978.

After university students Cadi Ayyad University evaluated their ideas for change (with the participatory facilitation support of the High Atlas Foundation), Fatime Zahra Emachloukh was inspired to write these thoughts about her student experience.

 

Striving for a green world, one plant at a time

By Said Bennani

HAF Project Manager

The successful partnership between the High Atlas Foundation (HAF) and Ecosia, a social business based in Germany, provides a special example of the utility of such unions, evidenced in the project for sustainable development in Moroccan communities. 

The idea of sustainability development stems from people’s participation in their own development, community-based natural resource management, and a multiplicity of other factors, including achieving income-generating opportunities by farming families. With Ecosia’s partnership, we are building a sustainable future for the coming generations by assisting farmers in their growing of organic fruit trees and green spaces.  We aim together to also protect and preserve biodiversity using the existing natural resources.

The efforts for the creation of this project were not singular, and we wish to thank those who helped us materialize and implement this project, here as it unfolded in the Fes and Ifrane regions. 

Said

We started working on building fruit nurseries in Fes and Ifrane a year ago, with the aim of providing communities and farmers agency to practice organic agriculture on their own lands. We were able to see the first tree nursery’s incremental growth in Fes, at the ‘Abdelaziz Ben Diss’ Center for the Protection of Children, where HAF partners with the Ministry of Youth and Sport, in order to create a productive green space for the youth living at the center.  

The project hopes to give these disadvantaged young people an opportunity to partake in agricultural activities such as watering the plants, seed cutting, planting and fixing the drip tape. While providing them an opportunity to learn about agricultural practices, this project also involves local stakeholders such as farmers, who also assist in the cutting and planting of the fruit tree seeds. Additionally, the youth learn techniques on how to take care of the seedlings during growth stages, until the trees become strong.

Fig

 

These trees will be transplanted to farms, where it will find warm hands, from the farmers who will benefit and care for the trees from the nursery.  By involving multiple stakeholders of the community such as youth and local farmers, we aim to provide a ‘hands on’ approach to the process of learning and implementing new skills, while benefitting the community in a sustainable manner.

At this Center, we are growing more than 290,000 fruit tree seeds and cuttings. The table below shows the amount of seeds and cuttings already planted at the nursery:

Month

Cherry

Almond

Carob

Fig

Olive

Pomegranate

Quince

Total

January

110000

3750

3000

2389

30000

3794

0

 

February

75000

17050

0

14000

1500

5000

500

 

March

 

0

0

0

12000

5000

0

0

 

0

     

13000

0

0

 

Total

185000

20800

3000

28389

49500

8794

500

 
 

295983

 

Said2

While it might seem that we planted many seeds in one place, we are expecting to produce and plant many more seeds this year with the help of the youth at the Center (as well as a dedicated technician and local farmers). Our plan for the coming months will be to plant more seeds using small sacks in greenhouses, in order to enhance growing conditions.  

To provide the appropriate suitable conditions for all the seeds we planted, we prepared the land with a group of local farmers, who cultivate the land, build seeds beds and do the weeding.  We also supplied, with the help of Ecosia, all the needed equipment, such as the irrigation system, by feeding all the seeds with drip tape and pipes and fittings. In addition, we put a new well connected with a solar pump, which we are using to irrigate the nursery.

Nearby, in the Moulay Yacoub province, we have small nursery land at the middle school, ‘Lhoussine Ben Ali’. We have already produced a thousand pomegranate, grapes and fig seedlings since last year, and we had the chance to plant some of these seedlings with students in a land owned by a farmer near the school! The students were able to watch the seeds in the school nursery grow day by day, month by month. When asked what the nursey meant to them, the students responded that “the school looks so different before we built the fruit tree nursery”, indicating that “it was like the desert” previously. The school is using the nursery in the environmental education teaching program and encouraging students to make their school a green region.

We planted grapes, pomegranates and figs, with students and teachers from the school and other community stakeholders such as local farmers and staff from the Education Delegation of Moulay Yacoub. We took the trees from the nursery to the farmers land after planting them together with the students and the local farmers. The farmer and his family who benefited from the trees were incredibly grateful to be working the children and the HAF team.

Said3

This year, after we met with more local farmers and their communities. We told them more about the nurseries that HAF has built with its partners.  We also asked the students (who were instrumental in building the fruit nursery) to discuss with their families the kinds of trees that are needed the most and would benefit their communities considerably. Based on their responses, we decided to plant only olives seedlings this year due to its growing need in the community.  HAF was able to plant 26,000 olive cuttings at middle school nursery for Moulay Yacoub communities.

Olive

In Ifrane, we built two nurseries, one at Al Akhawayn University’s Annex, and the other at the Salam School. At the first nursery, we distributed 24,000 almond trees in the regions of Ifrane, Azrou, Figuig, Bouarfa, Errachidia and Al haouz.

ifrane

The picture above is of the Salam School nursery after we installed a new solar pump for its new well.  We bought soil, after which, a machine was used to spread it on the land. This land now grows 121,000 almond, fig and olive trees and cutting. 

solar

I would like to congratulate our partnership for planting such a vast amount of seeds. With the help of Ecosia, youth, farmers, schools, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Youth and Sports, Al Akhawayn University, and the High Commission of Waters and Forests, we were able to implement our project and, in the coming months, we will be able to plant more seeds in the regions of Fes and Ifrane, and also Oujda at its Center for the Protection of Children.

We deeply appreciate all the efforts and the financial giving of Ecosia, who is bringing more green life and opportunities to Morocco! Thank you for all those who have been encouraging and enabling us to do more, for the environment, for our collective future, and for this planet.

Happy Ramadan and HAF's 2018

 

2018 HAF MILESTONE: 1,4 MILLION TREES AND SEEDS PLANTED

An old Moroccan proverb, “One hand can’t clap,” is one that embodies both the approach to and application of the work implemented by The High Atlas Foundation (HAF) ...Read More

 

Ramadan


HAF INVESTS IN UCA STUDENTS TO SPREAD THE PARTICIPATORY APPROACH IN MOROCCO

By Errachid Montassir, HAF Project Manager

The growth of sustainable development as a mainstream concept and practice in Morocco has been progressing but not as much as most people (particularly rural, and women and youth everywhere) have hoped…Read More

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Field Train Students, CSOs & Officials in Morocco

TREES FOR A FRUITFUL FUTURE

By Mohamed Abdel-Rahman, Ph.D. USAID-HAF Farmer-to-Farmer  Volunteer

The Farmer to Farmer (F2F) program is a USAID development initiative that is implemented throughout the world …Read More

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Tree Nurseries to Benefit 10,000 Rural Moroccans

 


VISIONARIES THEN AND NOW

By Thomas Kimmell, USAID Farmer-to-Farmer Volunteer

In the 1980’s, a solo American made a huge impact on Ouaouizerth, Morocco, an Amazigh village, located in the western High Atlas Mountains …Read More

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Improve Rural Moroccan Schools: Sami's Project

 

CONSERVING TRADITIONAL CROP DIVERSITY AND WILD MEDICINAL PLANTS IN MOROCCO

By Abderrahim Ouarghidi, Ph.D. Farmer-to-FarmerVolunteer

The Moroccan proverb “New things have a charm and old ones should be preserved” has wide applicability in current Moroccan agricultural practices and attitudes toward conventional and local crop varieties …Read More

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Organic Fruit Tree and Medicinal Herb Nurseries


DEVELOPING CAPABILITY FOR SEED STORAGE AND PRESERVATION IN MOROCCO

By Russ Zick, USAID Farmer-to-Farmer Volunteer

Small holder farmers in Morocco are engaged in upgrading their agricultural practices in order to increase income by expanding exports to Europe, the United States, and other Southern countries....Read More

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Multicultural Cooperation for Fruit Tree Planting

 

HAF JOINS THE DELEGATION OF EDUCATION IN CHICHAOUA FOR EARTH DAY EVENT HOSTED BY HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS

By Eliana Lisuzzo, HAF Program Assistant

Just as every other nation in the world, Morocco faces consequences of climate change including higher temperatures, more extreme weather conditions, and rising sea levels due to the human population’s collective treatment of our earth…Read More

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Improve Rural Moroccan Schools: Sami's Project


 

 

 
 

2018 HAF Moroccan milestone: 1.4 million trees and seeds planted

By Eliana Lisuzzo

HAF Program Assistant

 ---

An old Moroccan proverb, “One hand can’t clap,” is one that embodies both the approach to and application of the work implemented by The High Atlas Foundation (HAF). HAF is made up of a team of people dedicated to empowering Moroccans by engaging them in the process of achieving sustainable change for their communities. This year may not even be halfway over, but 2018 has already been abundant with accomplishments due to the collective hard work of HAF staff and Moroccan people.

 

In tandem with Morocco’s planting season starting in early January, HAF kicked off 2018 with its annual tree-planting event on 1/15/18, during which 3,000 trees were planted with 57 schools in 10 provinces across the country. The planting season, which lasted through March, has been extremely fruitful—both literally and figuratively. Dr. Yossef Ben-Meir, HAF’s founder and president, reflected on this year’s milestones. “We replanted [organic fruit trees] to the maximum extent in HAF’s 11 nurseries and opened three new ones, totaling 1.4 million seeds that were placed in the ground by farming families, children, women, and men—young and forever young.”

 

Since January, HAF has transplanted approximately 225,000 organic fruit saplings from its nurseries located in seven provinces (Al Haouz, Azilal, Fes, Ifrane, Moulay Yacoub, Oujda, and Taroudant) into farmers’ fields and schoolyards. HAF also continued to plant seeds and cuttings in HAF nurseries, for which data had been collected since last April to track one year’s worth of planting: a total of 53,000 seeds in Oujda; 462,483 in Fes; 200,000 in Ifrane; 100,000 in Azilal; and 394,700 in Al Haouz. In addition, HAF has distributed 190,872 trees of different fruit and nut varieties to 156 schools (7,341 trees), farmers (183,501 trees), and a Jewish cemetery (30 trees) since December 2017.

 

Notably, the value of these figures goes far beyond the raw number of planted and distributed seeds and trees, which are indeed impressive. Rather, the value of planting and distribution intrinsically lies in the empowerment of and unity among local people, eventual economic growth, improved livelihoods of communities, and the offset of severe environmental challenges; the participation of HAF in Morocco’s planting season are undeniably immeasurable. “It took our team and partners 11 years to plant our first million trees and seeds, and to now have planted 1.4 million in a single year shows that passion and good actions spread from person to person, place to place, region to region, world to world,” Dr. Ben-Meir proudly proclaimed.

 

HAF has deep gratitude for all of its existing partnerships with government agencies and delegations, universities, associations, and other nonprofit organizations, which help maximize HAF’s impact on Moroccan communities. In particular, the High Commission on Waters and Forests, Project PUR, and Ecosia directly benefit HAF’s agricultural programs.

 

Specifically, the High Commission of Waters and Forests and their regional administrations—particularly the Marrakech and Ouezzane regional managements—have been exemplary in their partnership and contributions to community tree planting by contributing trees and land. Their generosity provides farming families opportunities to plant and better secure both their livelihoods and environment for many decades to come. Project PUR is another valuable partner as they provide fruit trees for communities in the Ourika Valley of the Al Haouz province. Additionally, they assist with monitoring and registering for securing carbon credit certification. HAF is grateful for their close teamwork that has built capacities to track planting accomplishments. Last, but certainly not least, the German social enterprise Ecosia has made HAF’s and its community partners’ planting season in Morocco “one that we will never forget,” described Dr. Ben-Meir. “They allowed us to create new nurseries, to plant as expansively as possible, and to respond to the organic fruit tree needs of people and schools wherever they are in the nation. That kind of support has been the greatest gift of 2018.”

 

Yet, this year is far from over and there are plentiful prospects of agricultural development—both known and unknown at this time—for which HAF will certainly undertake. As Moroccan farmers consistently voice their desire to transition to cash-crop farming and also identify agriculture as a major Moroccan employment sector, tree planting as well as establishing fruit tree and plant nurseries are two ways in which HAF supports farming communities. These ongoing agricultural projects will contribute to continuously increasing the impact on tens of thousands of Moroccans and rural household incomes.

 

Further, it is never too early to identify goals for the upcoming planting season in 2019. As Dr. Ben-Meir reflected, “The end of planting seasons seem to always end with a sense of relief and fulfillment as well as with thoughts of what could have been.” He eloquently deliberated, “What if we were to plant in every land grant that has been so kindly given to us? What if we planted with every family that asked and would most welcome this opportunity that keeps giving for generations? What if we would have planted as much as what is really possible and absolutely needed by the people, in order to overcome harsh conditions of poverty?” The aim of every subsequent planting season is to address such open-ended questions—to identify sustainable solutions for organic agriculture and environmental development. “We do all we can to ensure the next planting season results in every field filled, and every need embraced and allowed to exist no more,” Dr. Ben-Meir explained. Considering HAF staff’s tenacious work ethic and genuine passion, it is without a doubt that the organization’s mission will continue to be fulfilled for not only the remainder of 2018 but also for many years to come.

 

 

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HafFdtn We deeply appreciate the efforts of @Ecosia, who is bringing more #greenlife and opportunities to #Morocco! Thanks… https://t.co/bR3CoswHKU
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HafFdtn Considering its growing need in the community, @HafFdtn was able to plant 26,000 olive cuttings at a middle school… https://t.co/GLQSXrE1Pe
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HafFdtn In the Moulay Yacoub province, our nursery at the middle school, ‘Lhoussine Ben Ali', has already produced a thousa… https://t.co/9tl2M6K6oG
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HafFdtn Our biggest fans this week: @CIHEAMIAMM, @EdRojasBr, @infomorsels. Thank you! via https://t.co/yheK5uMYit https://t.co/x34Yr9yL0L
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HafFdtn We started working on building fruit nurseries in Fes and Ifrane a year ago, with the aim of providing communities… https://t.co/fSAW2vMXMn
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HafFdtn With our current partnerships, we are building a #sustainablefuture for the coming generations by assisting farmers… https://t.co/W7aGopXAcd
HafFdtn #Morocco has opportunities to implement #churchrestoration projects, such as the #FranciscanChurch in #Essaouira, f… https://t.co/AGK1fPzIwn
HafFdtn The idea of #sustainabilitydevelopment stems from people’s participation in their own development, community-based… https://t.co/QiaqBr8qFa

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