Agriculture Training for Women of the Aboghlou Cooperative

                                          By Amina El Hajjami

                  Project manager with High Atlas Foundation

Sustainable development fornew projects requires sustainable training for people. In this regard, the High Atlas Foundation signed a partnership agreement with JLM IAV Hassan II, in Rabat, with the objective of training the women of Aboghlou cooperative. The students educated the women in advanced agricultural technologies within the Ourika Commune.

On April 16th, 26 women of cooperative learned theoretical and practical techniques about agriculturein the nursery YSL in Ourika. After a grand traditional Moroccanbreakfast, the HAF team and 5 students of JLN IAM Hassan II initiated the training in the nursery,beside a beautiful landscapewith open fields filled with aromatic calendula flowers.


The women were divided by 3 groups; the training covered the following aspects:

·         Planting,harvest and grafting almond tree.

·         Time of irrigation.

·         Planting, harvest and dryingcalendula.


·         Problems of the current irrigation system in the nursery and solutions.


The student group shared the design of new labels for cooperative products, as well asprovided a booklet, which had been prepared to include a fully detailed presentation about the cooperative efforts.


At the end of training the women Student facilitator, Soufiane, shown the method of grafting almond trees. The women showed their desire to learn this method and engage in the process.


The women were very happy about the training and they asked many questions to develop the work in the nursery and improve their marketing strategy. They also shared with the students their knowledge in agriculture.


Not just the women who attended the training but also the children were part of that training  and they were sitting in a circle like women and Aya Who is four and a half years old who took the initiative and speak with the group with self - confidence.



In behalf of all High Atlas Foundation we deeply thank the students of JLM IAV Hassan II in Rabat Ahmed El Khawlani, Hajar El Khalfi, Khaoula Jellal, Ibtissam Haouari and Soufiane Kadiri. We’d also like to thank the Agronomic and Veterinary Institute Hassan II in Rabat for supporting trainings in women’s agriculture. Lastly, a huge thank for our partners YSL L'Oreal and PUR project for contributing  significantly to the success the project of the Aboghlou cooperative.

Moving my Home Community Forward

Another Touch in Rhamna with HAF



By Errachid Montassir

HAF volunteer


After three months with the High Atlas Foundation, I returned again to my origins in the Rhamna province, where I had the chance to earlier bring the benefit of more than 400 trees on the 16th of January – for the planting event on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.


Today – the 3rd of April – I visited those seven schools to:

- Distribute the certificates - appreciating all the efforts of students and teachers as they take care of the trees

- Inspire the students to smile

- Build upon the health of the trees that we planted

- Discuss future projects with HAF


I can say that I still really get priceless information about the environment with the High Atlas Foundation.  I appreciate the good work of the active students and teachers as they create more than green spaces at their schools.


The distribution of certificates reflects our sincere gratitude to the students and teachers at Rhamna schools who planted the 400 almond, fig, and pomegranate trees.


When we planted the trees at the event, I noted the many smiles of students.  That is exactly the what happened when we gave them the certificates.


That was a precious feeling when the students came running and hugged me.  I really learned many things about responsibility from these moments.


As I look at the trees, I was surprises that I found they grew with green leaves.  The schools’ spaces became so green, and here I can say that we already achieved one of many goals.


The last step was to discuss with Mr. Mehdi, the president of the association WASSIL, about future projects with HAF; one of them is an action to plant more than 2,000 trees around 7 villages, with more than 1,000 beneficiaries.


With this collaboration, we are making green spaces for our youth and communities of the Kingdom of Morocco.



تنمية ذوات الشعوب هي أساس التنمية المستدامة

تنمية ذوات الشعوب هي أساس التنمية المستدامةتنمية ذوات الشعوب هي أساس التنمية المستدامة



بحثا عن الأنسب وسعيا إلى تنمية حقيقية فقد قامت مؤسسة الأطلس الكبير- الجنوب- بدورة تكوينية حول موضوع"التمكين الذاتي" لبعض السيدات ببوجدور بدعم من الصندوق الوطني للديمقراطية الدي نتقدم له بخالص الشكر و الامتنان لتمويله مجموعة من الورشات التدريبية. 


كان الفضاء الجمعوي  ببوجدور قبلة لعشرين امرأة من مختلف الثقافات والأعمار مدة أربعة  أيام  والهدف هو الحضور لدورة تكوينية استثنائية بالإقليم.


فبإلحاح من المدير العام لمؤسسة الأطلس الكبير الدكتور "يوسف بن مير " و سعيا إلى التشجيع على التنمية الحقيقية قامت مؤسسة الأطلس الكبير-الجنوب- بالاستثناء من خلال تنشيط مديرة مشاريعها الأستاذة "حانة الزاوي" لدورة تكوينية أولى  حول موضوع "التمكين الذاتي"

كان الهدف الأسمى هو الحضور إلى ورشات الدورة التكوينية التمكينية بمحاورها المنظمة بدءا من التعريف إلى فكرة التطبيق مرورا بتمارين قربت المشاركات إلى  دواتهن وتحديد رؤاهن و التأكيد على تجسيدها.رؤاهن و التأكيد على تجسيدها.انتهت الدورة التكوينية بجني ثمار التصالح مع الذات وكسب مهارات توجيهها انطلاقا من الاقتناع بها واحترامها والبعد عما يحبطها والإيمان بقدراتها.انتهت رحلة التمكين الذاتي ببسمة آمل كل الحاضرات وبتأكيدهن أن "ذات كل فرد هي بذرة تنمو بطريقة الاهتمام  بها وسقيها ..."

HAF and the “City of Coexistence” - Essaouira

A review of an Al Jazeera podcast


By Rachid Montassir

HAF Volunteer



This documentary produced by the Al Jazeera podcast channel takes us to the heart of Essaouira, which is often referred to as "the city of coexistence". Some say that this is because of a large number of foreigners who call the city home, and others suggest that it is because of the historical role the city has played involving religious faiths over centuries.

Whether one practices Islam, Christianity, Judaism, or secularism, you will be welcomed warmly in this city of calm and comfort (in Morocco more broadly as well). The city is filled with recreations of traditional Moroccan industry, and picturesque graphics from artists inspired by Essaouira, which leads to the makings of exhibitions of their paintings in this beautiful city.


The documentary takes us deep into the peaceful coexistence and solidarity which the city has become known for both across the Kingdom of Morocco and internationally over past decades.   


The first person’s life example is Ahmed Harouz, a Moroccan Muslim. He mentions many great things such as compassion and kinship between the Muslims, Jews, and Christians who call the city home. He expressed some worry about the possibility of international political issues affecting this, but he truly believes that this way of viewing one another will be passed on to future generations.  He also believes it can be further spread across Morocco and hopefully can be a model for other countries in the world.  


The second is Mira Bohssira, a Moroccan Jewish man who has lived in the city center of Essaouira for over 15 years. He believes that the city is one of the finest in the world in regards to its historical values and its modern-day beauty. He greatly stresses that the city is a symbol of religious compassion and empathy.  Mira gave an example of Eid Al-Adha, the Islamic holiday, practiced by Muslims across the globe. He said that he gives and receives gifts during this holiday, even though he is Jewish.

The third participant in this documentary is a British person and former HAF project manager in the city, Lynn Shepperd.  She first visited Morocco in 2001 and since then she has fallen in love with the country, and especially the city of Essaouira.  Lynn has worked with many different organizations in the city and was HAF’s manager there for a few years.  In the podcast, she describes her work on behalf of HAF to restore the cemeteries of the three Abrahamic faiths in the city, as well as our other initiatives to rehabilitate historical mosques, Zaouias, and the Portuguese church.


The primary project that is directed by Lynn is the restoration and maintaining the historic graveyards in the city. This project was decided upon by the community of Essaouira themselves, and the community believes that the restoration of the grave yards in the city will lead to economic development because of religious tourism, and will help educate the youth about how special the current and historic religious coexistence is in the city.

Lynn is so glad for working with the High Atlas Foundation to help with up-keeping and restoring sacred sites in the city.  She says that aside from helping the city more than she could have ever imagined, the project has taught her so much about herself, and has led to much personal growth.

Lynn added that the High Atlas Foundation is an organization that is very well known, both across the Morocco and internationally, and loves how the organization ties together religious coexistence, development, and environmental protection. She believes that the model this organization is implementing in Essaouria specifically, and in Morocco as a whole, can be spread to other areas of the world where religious and cultural coexistence has not been as easy.


All three of the participants in this documentary brought different views, and experiences to the table, and come from quite diverse backgrounds. They all spoke about the uniqueness of the city in their own special way, but communicated one major message which is that the cultural and religious solidarity in Essaouria specifically, and across the Kingdom of Morocco as a whole, is something special, that must be held onto as the world goes through what can seem to be unprecedented and challenging times.


"مؤسسة الأطلس الكبير و مدينة التعايش الصويرة"

الوثائقي الذي بين ايدينا ثمرة حلوة من انجاز قناة الجزيرة تأخدنا الى قلب الصويرة '' مدينة التعايش '' و يظهر هذا جليا في كمية الاجانب الدين اختارو الصويرة قبلة و مسكنا لهم.

مسلما،يهوديا، مسيحيا، لا دينيا... اي كنت ، في الصويرة ستحتضنك بدفء لا مثيل له ..هي مدينة الهدوء و الراحة، الاستجمام و الاستمتاع بالصناعة التقليدية و بالرسومات الخلابة ل فنانين الهمتهم الصويرة و جعلوها معرضا للوحاتهم.

ولكي يعرفنا هذا الوثائقى أكثر على التعايش الديني هناك، تم استدعاء ثلاث أشخاص مختلفين الديانات.

الأول أحمد حروز و هو مغربي مسلم، حيث تحدث على مجموعة من الأشياء الرائعة و في مقدمتها التعايش الديني بين المسلمين واليهود و المسيحيين في المدينة. حيث قال أن الجميل في الأمر ان هناك أبواب منازل اليهود عليها رموز بركة محمد و العكس كذلك بالنسبة للأبواب منازل مسلمين عليها رموز مثل وردة سليمان و نجمة داوود.

متمنيا في الأخير أن يستمر هذا التعايش مع الأجيال القادمة.

و الثاني ميرا بوحصيرة و هو مغربي يهودى عاش أكثر من 15 سنة ولازال يعيش في مدينة الصويرة التي يعتبرها من أروع المدن في العالم، و اعترف أيضا أن الصويرة تتميز بالتعايش الديني البارز والحقيقي.

أعطى ميرا بوحصيرة مثال على ذلك حيث أنه في كل عيد أضحى يمنح عطلة و بعض من الهدايا الرمزية للعاملين معه.

أما الثالث فهي إمرأة من أصول بريطانية اسمها "لين شابرد" زارت المغرب سنة 2001 و منذ ذلك الحين و هي مولعة بمدينة الصويرة.

حيث عربت على أن عملها مع مؤسسة الأطلس الكبير يتميز بالإنسيابية و الجد، أما علاقاتها مع أعضاء المؤسسة تعتبرها أكثر من علاقة صداقة.

و بحكم المشروع التابع لمؤسسة الأطلس الكبير الذي تسيره "لين" في مجال إصلاح و إعادة تهيئة مقابر الديانات الثلاث المتواجدة في مدينة الصويرة، هذا يجعلها منفتحة أكثر على نمط العيش هناك الذي توصفه بالجميل و الهادئ.

و تحث إشراف مؤسسة الأطلس الكبير تم تنظيف و إعادة ترميم مقابر الديانات التلاث هناك و صباغة الموقع كله، كل هذا لأجل هذف واحد و هو إعادة إحياء الذاكرة لذى الشباب الصوري وآخرون بتاريخهم الجميل.

"لين شابرد" مسرورة جدا لتعاملها مع مؤسسة الأطلس الكبير، حيث تعتبر ذلك المشروع فرصة ثمينة جعلتها تتعرف على الكثير من المبادئ القيمة، وهدفها الأول هو الحفاظ على المعلومات التاريخية للمدينة.

وأضافت أن مؤسسة الأطلس الكبير هي مؤسسة معروفة على الصعيد العالمي كما هي معروفة في المملكة المغربية باعمالها الرائعة سواء في المجال البيئي أو في مجالات أخرى.


الرشيد منتصر.

Katharine’s Story

By: R. Maxwell Bone

HAF Intern  



How does a stay at home mom from New York City with a background in marketing and publishing start a multi-national company and empower women from rural villages, many of whom are illiterate and have received no formal education? All that one needs to do to find out is look at the inspiring work of Katharine L'Heureux.

 In Katharine’s story, what was planned to be an exotic vacation to Morocco, turned out to be a game changing trip through possibly one of the most unexpected ways possible. While departing the United States to fly to Morocco, her facial oil was confiscated by the TSA. She thought that she would be able to make it through her trip without it, but after four days travelling through the desert she decided that there must be something she could do in order to get over how dry her face was becoming.

She decided to ask her guide what the local women use to keep their skin moist, and he informed her that they often use the oils from the Argan plant in order to moisturize their skin. She decided why not give it a go, and little did she know, using this oil would be a life changing move for her.

Katharine found that this simple oil worked amazing. It immediately made her skin moist again, and on top of that, it was all natural, pure, and organic.  She realized that this was the type of facial oil she had been searching for over many years, she just expected to find it in a department store in the United States, and not in the deserts of Morocco.

After returning to the United States, Katharine came to the realization that she had fallen in love with two things, both the people and country of Morocco and the natural oil she found in the country’s desert.  She decided that she wanted to do something with this newfound passion.

This led her to take several trips back to Morocco to look into using this amazing oil to empower the people of Morocco whom she had come to love so deeply. During this process, she had come to admire the dedication of the women who assisted her in sourcing the Argan oil.

As she continued to develop ore products within her new brand named Kahina Giving Beauty, she came to realize that the true idea behind this project was the empowerment of the women who were making this product. She assures that they are represented at every step of the production of the product, and even designed the boxes in which her various products are sold to include the signatures of the very women who make the product across the Kingdom of Morocco. 

The brand of Kahina has seen great success over the past few years, and provides multipurpose oils for dry skin, as well as natural face masks and eye creams formed from both the Argan oil, as well as remnants of natural clay from the High Atlas Mountains.

The High Atlas Foundation is incredibly proud to partner with Katharine and Kahina Giving Beauty, and the women that deeply benefit from this enterprise. Kahina Giving Beauty and HAF have built bathrooms for rural schools, which is not only essential for a positive learning environment but also increases girls attendance.  

Check out an exclusive interview with Katharine to learn more about this product!

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HAF in Morocco

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High Atlas Foundation
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