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Last Moments To Support HAF In 2018!

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

 

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The communities in Draa Tafilalet deserve their own fruit tree nursery

By Said El Bennani

Project Manager

 

Crossing the High Atlas Mountains—from Marrakech to Ouarzazate—to get to the Ighrem N'Ougdal commune, the High Atlas Foundation (HAF) decided with the Jewish community in Morocco and all of the local authorities to start planning the first fruit tree nursery in the Draa Tafilalet region. This follows the successful experience of building a community fruit tree nursery near the Akrich Jewish Cemetery for the farmers and schools of Morocco.

 

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Monday, December 24.

The HAF team traveled from Marrakech to Ouarzazate to meet with the local authorities and other government offices and local communities to plan for the fruit tree nursery near the 1,000 year-old burial site of ‘’Rabbi David Ou Moshe.”  Since long ago, Jewish and Muslim people have been living in this region with their families, in peace, tranquility, and friendship. This nursery will become like the one in Akrich: a point where the Muslim and Jewish communities will have the chance to communicate more and to build more trust between each other.

 

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The total quarter of the cemetery is estimated at more than five hectares. The HAF will try to use almost the entire area of more than one and a half hectare to establish a fruit tree nursery to produce many local fruit trees, from which all the villages who belong to Ouarzazate province will receive trees. More than that, it will be the first fruit tree nursery in Draa Tafilalet region. However, this project is not without its challenges; the first one is that the land we will use for the nursery is located in a very steep hill. To make this project more sustainable, HAF and partners envision building terraces that could serve as a floor for the planting of the seeds to become future seedlings.

 

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In Ouarzazate province this time, we will have a large amount of land for a nursery—about one hectare and half near the Jewish Cemetery to build as terraces. The terraces we will build in partnership with the Ouarzazate province, and will not only serve as land for the nursery, but also—because the hill is very steep—the terraces will be saving the hill from erosion.  At the burial location of Rabbi David Ou Moshe there is an existing well that we can use to water the nursery. However, we will need to install a solar pump, and build a storage at the top of the hill so that we can have enough pressure to water all of the nursery. In addition, a greenhouse will be built to produce more seedlings and make ensure we have all the conditions necessary for each type of seed.

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The red lines in the picture above indicate that twelve terraces can be built, as each horizontal line is fractioned into two terraces.

Moroccan Communities Engage in Environmental Development

By Said El Bennani

Project Manager

 

Traveling to the Bouchan commune was my first field visit with the High Atlas Foundation (HAF), when I was a volunteer in 2016. I had the chance again this year to take part in the tree-planting event and an environmental workshop with local farmers from the same village at the school. The weather was beautiful that day, sunny and warm enough to do more activities with the students and the Rhamna communities. While we drove to the school, I noticed that the nature around Rhamna Province looks more green this year compared to the last year that I had been there with the HAF team. The farmers already planted their fields with barley and wheat and many of them started planting trees in their lands, and HAF was a part of that, by distributing thousands of trees to the Rhamna communities and schools.

 

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This year as well, HAF will organize more tree planting events to plant more trees, as we had today with the student and the school staff. Together, we brought the seedlings from the car to the school garden. Then we went to a classroom with the school director to visit the students in their class and share with them more information about the environment and the importance of trees in our lives. Errachid, HAF Project Manager, started the environmental workshop with the students, and they were very creative with the answers and the way they explained their thoughts. I was very happy listening to the kids telling us how they are a part of the environment where they live; most of them already had the chance to plant the trees with their families, as most of Rhmana is rural, and most of the student are helping their families in agricultural activities.

 

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After, Errachid, members of the HAF team, and volunteers listened and talked to the kids, we moved again to the square to plant some of the aromatic and medicinal plant. More than 50 students—girls and boys—joined the HAF team, an amazing volunteer from the US, and Privet University of Marrakech (UPM) students in the square to plant trees and make it more green and beautiful. We dug the holes together, then we planted and watered the plants. Everyone wanted to offer a hand and be a part of the planting. While some planted, the others kept watching to learn how to plant more later in the school or somewhere else.

 

We discussed with the kids further about their school and their visions, and how they want their school to be in the future. The students were excited too to talk and to express their feelings about the day. After that, the school received more guests; they were some of the parents of the student and local association, which we planned to meet on the same day as well.

 

The school break was from 12:30 to 13:30; at that time, we went with the parents and the association members to a classroom to start another workshop about the environment, using the participatory approach. We started by introducing everyone to each other, then Errachid started again by asking the participants about their environment knowledge, and, as they are residents of that village, how they are affected by the environment, positively or negatively. The farmers and the association members, one by one, shared their thoughts with us on their needs in the village and what they are looking to change in their village. Moreover, they talked about their environmental challenges and how they can solve them.

 

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Environmental education is about teaching the values, attitudes, skills and perceptions necessary to understand and appreciate the complex relationships that connect communities and their lives with their physical biosphere. Furthermore, environmental education emphasizes the need to preserve natural environmental resources and the rational utilization of them for the benefit humans and maintaining their standards of living.

 

When it comes to environmental protection, prevention is much cheaper and more effective than treatment. Damage caused by degradation of the environment cannot normally be reversed. Biodiversity cannot be restored to equilibrium again or it cannot be fully restored. Efforts must, above all, be focused on the protection of global biological resources, and the prevention of their exploitation.

 

Clearly, environmental education requires modifying behavior as well as addressing environmental problems by training people to participate and develop environmental awareness with positive values and commitments to protect and improve the environment. In effect, this education will prepare a generation to be responsible for its natural and social environment.

 

HAF and the Moroccan communities would like to thank the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs (OES) for its support to help educate young people about the environment in Morocco.

 

Partner to implement this project.

Framing the humanitarian action & Youth engagement - HAF in Qatar

Errachid Montassir

HAF project manager

 

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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.

 

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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.

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

Exploring carbon credit potentials to support community development

By Nisreen Abo-Sido, HAF Volunteer, Thomas J. Watson Fellow

 

Last week, HAF President Yossef Ben-Meir, program assistant Hassan Ait Ouatouch, a couple of forestry engineers and I visited farmers and community leaders in the villages of Aghbalou and Anamer, and in the Azilal Province to discuss the potential of carbon credits to support development projects within the communities. 

 

Carbon credits are essentially tradeable units of permitted carbon dioxide emission.  Think of carbon credits as a product: those that plant trees generate carbon credits as the growing plants remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, while those that emit carbon dioxide would purchase credits to offset the environmental impact of their activities. 

 

Farmers and community members were undeterred by the training and monitoring required to certify carbon credit programs in their communities; in fact, they enthusiastically committed to plant even more trees!  Furthermore, our conversations also highlighted parallel priorities of the communities to overcome challenges of erosion and water-access.

 

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Field manager Abdeljalil Ait Ali points out elements of the landscape along a country road in Aghbalou.

 

Aghbalou and Anamer

On Friday, part of the HAF team met with farmers in Aghbalou and walked along the hillside perimeter to see 800 carob trees, a fraction of the 3,320 that they planted in 2017/2018.  Between the trees were clear signs of erosion, and the farmers discussed plans to obtain large stones to control the problem.  Moreover, they expressed their desire to install a solar pump to carry water to the trees.  When asked about their long term plans, the farmers identified planting 5,000 trees on 10 hectares in a neighboring area that they decided would benefit more.  They added that the entire municipality would help plant.  In the distance, we admired a large plateau, and the farmers recounted how they would hike up and enjoy tea from foraged herbs at the summit. 

 

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Dr. Yossef Ben-Meir and Abdeljalil Ait Ali walk along the hillside perimeter in Aghbalou, observing the growth of carob trees planted in 2017/2018.

 

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Small farmers in Aghbalou describe their challenges and goals to Dr. Yossef Ben-Meir.

 

In the evening, we arrived in Anamer and met with farmers in an area with approximately 2800--mostly olive--trees planted a few years ago.  The community hopes to plant another 4000 trees, in partnership with HAF and the Department of Waters and Forests.  As their afforestation efforts expand, the demand for water increases.  As a result, the farmers identified the need for a larger pump and a system in which water could be pumped from the river below and stored to irrigate the entire area.  “If there is water, people will plant,” a local explained, illustrating the interconnectedness of water access and tree-planting, and how investing in one can help develop the other.

 

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A small farmer from Anamer describes his challenges to Dr. Yossef Ben-Meir.

 

The following Monday, more of the HAF team and the forestry engineers returned to Aghbalou and Anamer to discuss requirements for monitoring tree growth in order to claim carbon credits.

 

Azilal province

We met with the Governor Atfaoui of the Azilal province to discuss carbon credit potentials in the region.  According to the governor, between 2014 and 2016, the communities planted approximately 150,000 trees in the province, and experienced a 95% survival rate, and they are discussing plans to plant another 35,000 trees on 75 hectares of land.  Governor Atfaoui highlighted the value of tree-planting projects in Azilal in describing not only the environmental benefits but also the social impacts.  By partnering with local associations, the province has been employing local people to plant and distribute trees (for both forestry and agriculture), mitigate erosion, build gabions, and watch and care for the trees.  Furthermore, Governor Atfaoui believes that these community-based tree-planting activities have shifted people’s attitudes toward the forest, in that they now want to plant trees on their own lands, and not just lands managed by the Department of Waters and Forests.

 

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Governor Atfaoui points out forest cover in Azilal to Dr. Yossef, forestry engineers, and other provincial government officials.

 

The governor also reported that all of the water in region is served by the Azilal province.  Taken together, he believes that Azilal’s water and forests would make it an ideal region for a carbon accreditation program.  Our next steps include analyzing regional maps and drafting a monitoring protocol to estimate carbon credit potentials.

 

We then visited the Tinfidine Forest in the province, where we joined a gathering of approximately 60 men with representatives from the municipality, local associations, Ministry of Agriculture, Department of Waters and Forests, Ministry of the Interior, and the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, as well as community members at large. 

 

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We follow a local from the Tinfidine forest area and a representative from the Department of Waters and Forests to join a gathering of men in the tent above to discuss carbon credits and field monitoring.

 

Upon describing what carbon credits are and the importance of monitoring--by measuring parameters like tree heights and diameters, as well as co-benefits like fauna diversity--community members expressed their opinions and questions.  They described how they are not interested in receiving money individually, but rather hope to channel revenue from the carbon credits to development projects in the community, including clean drinking water.  In fact, the forestry engineers confirmed that reinvesting carbon credits in communities--rather than distributing the revenue to individuals--leads to more successful progress in sustainable development. 

 

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Dr. Yossef describes carbon credits and monitoring to the participating community members and representative.

 

The community members were eager to begin training so that they can begin to claim their carbon credits, from which they hope to build systems that would bring clean drinking water closer.  In the time that it takes for HAF to train in monitoring practices--to, in turn, train community members--the participants committed to planting another 9000 trees in the Tinfidine Forest: 3000 each of the almond, walnut, and carob varieties. 

 

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Dr. Yossef sits with community leaders as we enjoy tajine made using local ingredients.

 

Partnerships and progress

 

The forestry engineers--speaking from their experiences partnering with other NGOs internationally--commented on HAF’s unique position in cultivating relationships with not only the community, and not just the government, but both.  Rooted in the HAF mission is the belief that the most effective way to further sustainable development is via participatory-action based approaches, where local communities lead in partnerships with all stakeholders.

 

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We continue our discussion of plans and goals for afforestation and field monitoring.

 

We are immensely grateful to the Azilal, Aghbalou, and Anamer communities for welcoming us warmly, and we are excited to return with more trees in hand this planting season!

 

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Dr. Yossef and a community member walk among newly planted olive trees in Anamer.

 

 

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HafFdtn On Wednesday, February 13, we accompanied the women on a visit to the field where the cooperative grows their crops… https://t.co/rTg3NAfk5D
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HafFdtn he weather is getting warmer here in Morocco. The sun is shining the whole day and providing us warmth. Yesterday,… https://t.co/4os7BPEkPY
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HafFdtn HAF currently manages 15 nurseries with communities in five provinces of Morocco (Al Haouz, Azilal, Fes, Moulay Yac… https://t.co/WLLdi5qeEC
HafFdtn The High Atlas Foundation currently has 80,000 almond saplings of the Férragnes, Férraduel, and Prunus amygdalus va… https://t.co/ndFZVj7qPZ
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HAF in Morocco

High Atlas Foundation
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High Atlas Foundation
High Atlas Foundation 511 Sixth Avenue, #K110, NEW YORK, NY 10011
USA

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