Morocco: One Farmer’s Struggle for a Better Life

Ahmed Ouajib

University Student and HAF Intern



Conducting interviews with farmers across Morocco has left me in awe of them.  

Take for example twenty-three-year-old Najib Charhabili, who received his BA in Arabic last summer from Cadi Ayyad University, Marrakech.  He hails from the town of Zagora, where his family owns a small field of date palms.  

The area around Zagora is very poor, dependent primarily on farming.  Aside from dates, crops include wheat and barley as well as almonds, the latter only for local consumption.

A small percentage of income is derived from tourism, with hotels benefitting from the tourists who visit the Drâa oasis, the desert and nearby Kasbahs.  Jobs have been created in this way but in general, high unemployment levels force local people to migrate to big cities such as Marrakech, Casablanca and Rabat.

All of this negatively affects agricultural production around Zagora; nobody wants to work in farming and thus if a farmer wishes to hire labour, he needs to be prepared to pay a higher than normal wage.

This is the place Najib calls home; he asserts affectionately that working on the farm as an undergraduate did not detract from his studies.


Visiting Akrich and Aboghlo women’s cooperative: shared stories and new perceptions

By:  Marwa Natsheh, HAF intern

 A mere three days after my arrival at the High Atlas Foundation office in central Marrakesh, as an intern at the High Atlas Foundation (HAF) focusing on women’s empowerment, project manager Amina El Hajjami offered me the exciting opportunity of a brief field trip out of Marrakesh, which turned out to be more meaningful than I could have imagined.


A Unique Partnership for Youth, Farming Families and the Environment


The High Atlas Foundation has a unique partnership that launches an initiative to profoundly benefit Morocco's youth and farming communities in the Ifrane province.  Ifrane's Education Delegation (the provincial office of the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training) and HAF signed an agreement that enables the lending of underutilized land near schools to be lent in order for communities to grow organic fruit trees and medicinal plants.  HAF has partnerships with individual schools that involve their lending of land so that farming families can meet their tree and plant needs as they transition away from traditional subsistence practices, which is at the root of systemic rural poverty. This kind of public support for farmers on a provincial level, however, is a first in the nation.  

The planting season is near, and we hope we can make the greatest possible advances in our new collaboration - and to so with Moroccan student youth, with their families, public and private partners, with urban people from all walks, with you.  In this project, students build essential knowledge and skills and rural families gain organic trees and launch and agricultural value chain that strengthens their cooperatives and generates the revenue they need to build more schools, create new businesses, install clean water systems, and achieve their needs and dreams.  Read more about the project in Morocco's Le Matin.


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Morocco in the world

By Dr. Yossef Ben-Meir, HAF President

If Morocco could effectively implement participatory development through decentralized administrative systems across the population, the model could then be emulated and adapted to help create pathways for the people of the Middle East and Africa to achieve the kind of future they seek. 

Morocco could guide the region by its attempt at, and example of, community democratic development--or “bottom-up” civil movements--that, with cross-sectoral partnership, elevate life conditions across communities and provinces and at the national level. Morocco’s development experiences and lessons are, therefore, informative and relevant regionally and globally.

The Arab Spring has brought about a heightened sense of urgency for governments and societies in the Middle East and North Africa to promote development that both directly engages and benefits the majority of the population. 


جسر الفجوة للشباب المغربي: مكافحة التطرف العنيف من خلال التنمية البشرية

بقلم : د. يوسف بن مئير،  محسن تدلاوي – شرقي و  كاتي روماني


الضعف. قاسم مشترك يتقاسمه العديدون فى المغرب، بما فى ذلك طلبة وخريجون عاطلون عن العمل ومعتقلون سابقون شباب.


لدى هذه المجموعات في الواقع عوامل مشتركة اكثر مما يبدو للوهلة الاولى. نسبة كبيرة من الشباب المغاربة الذين يتمكنون من إتمام الدراسة الثانوية والإلتحاق بالجامعة ينمون مع اقرانهم الذين قد يتركون الدراسة فى سن مبكرة, فى بعض اشد مواقع الفقر في البلد حيث الفقر المنهجي واللامساواة الاجتماعية الصارخة تلقي بالحياة في حالة مستمرة من  الإضطراب.

مع او بدون الإستفادة من فرص التعليم النظامى، فالشباب "المحرومون اقتصاديا والذين يناضلون من اجل تحقيق التوازن بين عدة روايات سياسية واجتماعية وعرقية ودينيّة" يمكن اجتذابهم بسهولة نحو التعاطف مع الإيديولوجيات المتطرفة والأعمال العنيفة.

هذا العامل يعمل ضد مبادرات السلام والأمن القائمة عن طريق تخفيض فعالية جهود التنمية البشرية، دافعة ً بذلك أضعف الناس أكثر فأكثر نحو ميول التطرّف والشبكات النشطة.


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HafFdtn الحفاظ على الثقافة المغربية والخبرة اليهوديّة
HafFdtn Participatory democratic initiatives are made for people’s dev. projects to meet multiple human needs at once!
HafFdtn RT @ProfessorBone: … Thank you @GLAteens for this article on @maxbone55 & the value of #globaleducation @HafFdtn @…
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HafFdtn Mimouna's event truly demonstrates the unique ability the Kingdom of Morocco has to foster interfaith dialogue in t…
HafFdtn HAF planted a community tree nursery on land of the Hussein Ben Ali school in Moulay Yacoub (near Fes).
HafFdtn We enjoyed discussing the potential of renovating the Mellah of Marrakesh this weekend. By doing this, we can impro…
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HAF in Morocco

High Atlas Foundation
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