BLOG 2018-11-28T12:10:33+00:00

WOMEN BETWEEN THE PAST AND THE PRESENT IN AKRICH REGION

Houria Chouhab
HAF Volunteer

On Women’s International Day, the High Atlas Foundation visited the Association Assalam for Development in Douar Achbarou. This village is located in the Rural Commune of Tameslouht, which is only 20 kms away from Marrakech.
Beforehand, the activities in this association were run by men only, but since last October, women were integrated into the association and started to work alongside their male peers. The area, like many other ones in the High Atlas Mountains, is traditional, and it was a huge step for these women to get out of their comfort zones and work inside this cooperative.
The idea of creating women’s cooperative was first discussed together with Mrs. Batoul, the president of Association Amal for Development of Women and Children in Achbarou village. Amina Hajjami, Project Director at HAF, prepared a folder and submitted it on the 10th of October to OCP which financed the looms and other materials for the cooperative. As mentioned earlier, women were integrated in the association of men where they occupied three rooms to embroider, crochet and weave carpets. Additionally, a part of the carpet-making room is devoted to learning where women develop their literacy skills, and another room nearby is used for a preschool class.

The room where women make traditional carpets and learn how to read and write.

The women warmly welcomed us and were keen to show us what they made during these five months. We can divide these women’s activities into three groups according to their age: older women who craft traditional carpets, middle aged women who make crochet products and young women who learn tailoring. It is good to mention that there is interaction between women from Douar Akrich who make handicrafts (carpets mainly) and other women from the Achbarou, who crochet.

The carpets are  made by women from Akrich while the crocheted hats and cushions are made by women from Achbarou.

In the courtyard, we gathered with both men and women from this cooperative to drink tea. At the same time, the women thanked the presidents of the cooperative, Mr. Said Idmansour and Abderrahim Badah,  for giving them this opportunity to work inside their association. The men as well appreciated the step which women are taking to improve themselves on both financial and personal levels. “Unlike the past, we have freedom now; for example we can now go to the market, while it was a privilege that only men could have.” said one of the women. Doriss, a German lady who owns an hotel in the neighbourhood, explained how she has always been against the idea that women shall stay at home. “ Women need an outlet away from their houses,” said Doriss.

Women and men gather.
Furthermore, the women’s teacher is doing this job for free. She is instructing them on how to sew and embroider without anything in return even though her husband is against this idea.  » I would love to earn money from this daily work, but what encourages me to do this job for free is these women’s strong determination. » For this reason, HAF’s representative recommended her and the girls to go to Chambre d’Artisanat and submit their application forms in order to get a diploma which will allow them to teach in other villages. The same thing goes with the elder women who transfer their carpet-making skills to the new generation.
Mrs. Batoul is now implementing the idea of creating women’s cooperative which was only a topic of discussion with HAF last October. Yet, it is important for these women to receive training on how to create a cooperative within a legal framework. Accordingly, HAF will conduct the training as well as a workshop on how can these women empower themselves.
After this rich discussion, we have all moved to the garden where women served a traditional and delicious meal for lunch.
Before leaving this beautiful place, some girls performed a play in front of the rest members of the cooperative. This play tells the story of two women who were offered to go to school and combat illiteracy. One of these women were not allowed by her husband and was obliged to stay at home, while the second woman welcomed the idea, broke the social norms and got educated. At the end of the play, women insisted on sending their daughters to school to learn and be able to raise an educated generation. These two women were an example out of many who live in rural areas and want to widen their horizons and expand themselves.

A view  of the village from the opposite side.

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HAPPINESS INSIDE THE HIGH ATLAS FOUNDATION (HAPPY INTERNATIONAL DAY OF HAPPINESS)

By Houria Chouhab
HAF Volunteer

Hey! My name is Houria and I am a masters degree student at the Faculty of Arts and Human Sciences in Marrakech. At the end of the third semester (the end of January), I had to apply for an internship that will be the base of my graduate research. I quickly found myself holding an administrative position in a company, but after one week, I decided to look for another internship because I simply was not happy there! When I joined the High Atlas Foundation, I easily  integrated with the team as well as the activities that demand sharing parts of your days with others.
I read once that the beauty of life does not depend on how happy you are but how happy others can be because of you, and HAF lives by this concept while sustaining prosperity around the country. Among the activities that I run within the foundation are distributing and planting trees in rural primary schools. It is a special feeling when you visit a school and meet the students, talk to them about the environment, encourage them to take care of little things and then plant trees with them. This exact act of spending time with them and bringing new notions to their world makes their day, and this is truly something to live for. At the end of the day, you get a sense of accomplishment and purpose to know you have made a change in someone else’s life.

Planting trees with students of a primary school

Another act of making others happy is meeting and fulfilling the young people’s needs and priorities. HAF has always aims to address water access challenges for rural schools and communities in Morocco. Since its start, HAF and its partners have built 24 clean drinking water systems in Morocco’s remote villages, benefiting approximately 5,500 people. These include digging wells, building water towers, and installing solar pumps and  gravity flow systems, which deliver safe drinking water to communities.

Sustainability is also about sharing moments with others, and HAF’s happiness lies in making its staff, volunteers, and interns experience this joy by giving them a chance to do so. Give yourself that chance and be happy!

 

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FURNITURE FOR LEARNING: NOTES FROM SIDI ABDELLAH GHIAT VILLAGE IN HAOUZE, NEAR MARRAKECH, MOROCCO

by J Rojas Meyer

Researcher

 

One of the High Atlas Foundation’s general objectives in Morocco is to find novel ways to bridge a critical gap so that farmers and others, can afford to make a vital transition to planting and harvesting fruit trees. Depending of the type of trees and variation in local conditions however, the job HAF does is always more complex. The foundation can also lend substantial amounts of technical and material support when needed to enable tree planting to start with seeds and provides for maintenance throughout maturing process to ensure survival. When creating tree nurseries, partners such as participating schools and youth centers, provide grounds and infrastructure to the nurseries that are crucial in the initial phases when cuttings or seeds turn into saplings that will, with time, be distributed throughout Morocco.
However, when the High Atlas Foundation takes the first steps in engaging small, rural, primary schools in their rapidly expanding program, whether in Al Haouze or the Al-Salaam School in Ifrane, there is another opportunity to consider what kind of impact their participation can have, not just in terms of the foundations strategic agricultural objectives but also, on the quality of a child’s and young students experiences at school.

The primary schools of Ennakouch group and Unite Bouaza, about an hour East of Marrakesh, and Ifrane are perhaps typical of rural Morocco: A walled enclosure, a couple concrete classroom buildings, a sports and recreation area and an outdoor washing up facility. There were a number of preexisting olive trees that it appears had become part of the school plan. However, upon nearing the school building and peering through the open window, I was unexpectedly caught up in a sense of deeply rooted familiarity: the basic furniture of classrooms, made of painted steel and formica surfaces, small upright chairs and individual desks organized in neat rows, black boards and white boards, rectangular posters and charts hanging from the wall, open spiral-bound notebooks and pencils scattered around.
The familiarity of these furnishings, instruments and implements borders on the inane, yet the histories of their use and these ‘basic arrangements’ inevitably come to render and shape a child’s sensual experience of learning. The long years of adapting to and learning to use these material instruments are the back-bone of so many of our skilled learned conventions. The things ‘that makes a school a school’ therefore can be understood to become deeply placed in our habitual memories. And it would also be significant to what degree the continuity of these material environments having become subtly incorporated, then come to frame the kinds of knowledge that so many of us later find comfortable or even accessible.

The idea that to the rather ‘dry’ formalities of this time-honored tradition in elementary and secondary schools, something like a tree nursery would be added is, of course, a deeply intriguing prospect. At the heart of its pedagogical prospects are sensual and object lessons in how to grow and what it takes to nurture along this process and its magnificent unfolding morphology. It is also entirely possible that an innate sense of the possibilities of such arrangements already exists in Morocco, where a sensibility of life in and around gardens and orchards is already by-and-large shared and given extraordinary value.

The agreement recently signed between Ifrane’s Education Delegation (the provincial office of the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training) and the Hight Atlas Foundation is a first step in this promising direction. On a provincial level, public support of this type for farmers is entirely novel and therefore breaking ground in imagining futures in terms of the potential held in these kinds of collaborative structures.
J Rojas Meyer’s work is concerned with material culture and the ethnography of landscapes and place-making. He directs the Omaira Work and Study Group.

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INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY-A CALL FOR A GENDER-BALANCED WORLD

Today on March 8 is International Women’s Day! This day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. International Women’s Day (IWD) has occurred for well over a century, with the first​ ​IWD gathering in 1911 supported by over a million people in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland. Today, IWD belongs to all groups collectively everywhere.

This year on IWD we collectively call for a gender-balanced world. We can help forge a more gender-balanced world by celebrating women’s achievement, raising awareness against bias and take action for equality. The High Atlas Foundation (HAF) has been working in the field of women’s empowerment since 2011. Targeting women corresponds with the global understanding of women’s important role in creating sustainable development and promoting community growth.

An assessment conducted by HAF in 2017 in the Al Haouz region showed that over ninety-four percent of ninety-three participating women, had before never heard about Moudawana. Most communities indicated that they felt left behind; that national processes and changes hardly reached remote areas, and that even if they were aware of their rights, they felt they could not secure them (full study available). This highlights the importance of empowering women especially from remote, marginalized communities.

Working with the Middle East Partnership Initiative, HAF first built capacities in participatory planning with elected women to municipal councils in the Rhamna province. The HAF’s women’s empowerment workshops (2016-2017), funded by the National Endowment for Democracy, have now evolved into a rights-based approach. Using three complementary activities, HAF aims to create agents of social change with university students and rural women. Our empowerment program reduces barriers to manifest women’s place as pillars of society. The three activities and their objectives are:

  1. “Imagine’” is a self-discovery workshop developed at the Empowerment Institute in the United States. Throughout the personal growth process, we assist women in finding their voices and achieving their goals.
  2. Integrated with “Imagine” is ‘Moudawana’ (2004), based on a rights-based approach, bringing together women to learn about legal protections and determine ways to further social justice.
  3. Cooperative-building grows from empowerment gained during the “Imagine-Moudawana” experience and supports women’s cooperatives and their development to create greater financial independence, expand networks, and promote change in women’s roles in their communities.

This program has now evolved into HAF fostering a network of empowered agents of change, who support women in achieving their rights.

The purpose of the Empowerment Workshop is to enable participants to create the life they most want. It is considered one of the foremost personal growth trainings available.

Using above mentioned activities HAF aims to create agents of social change with university students and rural women. In addition HAF aims to strengthens women as rights holders by providing tools to advocate and act on their needs and goals.

To date four-hundred and sixty women benefited from Imagine empowerment workshops, from the Provinces of Al Haouz, Boujdour, Tinghir,  Marrakech and Oujda region. From them, ten female university students received training for trainers to become facilitators of empowerment programs. The results were demonstrated when beneficiaries undertook to create cooperatives and self-employment initiatives. A group of thirty-five women addressed illiteracy by hiring a female university student and starting a literacy program in their village. Participants who attended the training are supporting their children’s education. Sixty-five women joined parent associations and are actively involved in efforts to improve local schools.

Testimonials from workshops are profound, including:

  •  « I’ve never had such an opportunitiy as this. we need such exercises to listen to our inner voice and deliefs. »
  • « I promise myself to look for a dormitory school to complete my studies. »
  • « as a widow woman with two kids, I didn’t have the courage to ask anyone for work. »
  • « As a mother of three I have been busy working at home for many years. Now I am able to participate in empowerment training that helps me to discover that I have great capacities and skills that I truly mould like to use outside of the house. »
  • « I am earning money to live a better life ».

Collective action and shared ownership for driving gender parity is what makes International Women’s Day successful. Gloria Steinem, world-renowned feminist, journalist and activist once explained « The story of women’s struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organization but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights. » Therefore the High Atlas Foundation calls on everyone of you: Make International Women’s Day your day and do what you can to truly make a positive difference for women!

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Civil Society Matters to the Sustainable Development Goals

By Peter J. Jacques, Ph.D.

Visiting Expert

Life and death for whole communities hang in the balance of achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that include eliminating poverty, conserving forests, and addressing climate change, passed by the United Nations unanimously in 2015. Take for example, the Indigenous Amazigh people who live in the mountains around Marrakech. They are representative of people who need to be served first by sustainable development.
The High Atlas Amazigh people experience hard lives in small villages. Most work as day laborers and agriculturalists with barely enough income to support their families and heat their homes. Education is a major concern, but is hard to attain for a number of reasons. Sometimes families cannot afford the subsequent costs of backpacks and books, even when the school is open and free. The challenge is especially difficult for girls, because, as one person explained, “How can fathers let their girls study if it is dark when they must travel?”  The effect of incomplete education is profound, and when we asked one 62-year-old man what he thought the greatest threats to the future were for his community, he did not have confidence in his own experiences, noting, “What can I say? I am not read [educated].”
Through a partnership of the University of Central Florida (Orlando), The Hollings Center for International Dialogue (Washington D.C. and Istanbul), and the High Atlas Foundation (Marrakech), we recently conducted field work in the High Atlas Mountains, speaking with the people there who poured their hearts out to us.
The most consistent message we heard from the people of the High Atlas was that the future hinges on water. One group told us that when things are good, it is because the rain is abundant and on time; things are very hard otherwise. They are worried that climate change will affect if the rains come, or that the rain will not “come in its time.” They have good reason to worry because climate change is expected to decrease precipitation significantly, reducing streams, lakes, and groundwater.
Drought is a constant worry. The World Bank estimates that 37 percent of the population works in agriculture, meanwhile production of cereal crops varies wildly due to annual variation of precipitation– and 2018 was thankfully a bountiful year. Climate change will make the people of the High Atlas Mountains much more vulnerable while they are already living on the edge of survival. In one area, this change in precipitation timing and amount was already noticeable, resulting in a significant loss of fruit trees. In that same area, we were told that there is fear that there will be no water in twenty years, and that for these people who are deeply connected to the land, there will be “no alternatives.”
The High Atlas people are in an extremely vulnerable position. One group noted that they are so desperate for basic resources that they burn plastic trash to heat their water. Worse, they believe they have been left behind by society and that “the people of the mountains do not matter.” They feel that Moroccan society is deeply unfair—there is no help for the sick, little support for education, little defense against the cold, and that, for some, corruption is the greatest threat to a sustainable future.
Consequently, civil society has an important role in achieving the SDGs. The High Atlas Foundation has been working to help people in this region to organize themselves into collectives that decide both what the collective wants, and pathways to achieve those goals. Women have organized into co-ops that they own and they collect dividends from their products together. People in one coop lobbied the 2015 Conference of Parties climate meeting in Marrakech. Men’s associations have developed tree nurseries that not only produce income, but which protect whole watersheds – and therefore some water for the future. They are also participating in carbon sequestration markets. In this regard, the Marrakech Regional Department of Water and Forest provides them carob trees and the authorization to plant these trees on the mountains surrounding their villages.
However, perhaps the most important element of these collectives is that they give each person in them a voice. Leaders of these collectives have formal rights to approach the regional governments about their needs, and this voice would not be heard at all without the formal collective organization. These organizations cannot replace government services, but they do add capacity to the community.
Not only do these collectives lend people some influence over their current and their children’s lives, they love each other and they are not struggling alone. We witnessed profound solidarity. Repeatedly, the collectives told us “We love each other, we are one family,” “We are like one,” “We help each other,” and the conviction that “I will be with you.”The world is decidedly on an unsustainable path, so If we are going to meet SDGs, all the people like the people of the High Atlas Mountains must matter and their voice deserves to be heard.
Peter J. Jacques is a Professor of Political Science at the University of Central Florida in Orlando, USA.

Above, Amazigh women in a village with an association that cultivates an olive tree nursery. Photo credit: Peter J. Jacques

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DISTRIBUTION D’ARBRE ARGAN AUX COOPÉRATIVES FÉMININES À ESSAOUIRA AVEC FRÉ SKINCARE

Moussa Sidibé

Bénévole FHA

15 Février 2019

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Une nouvelle journée, une nouvelle destination qui cette fois-ci se trouve être la province si hospitalière et chaleureuse d’Essaouira loin de la ville rouge de Marrakech.

Une bonne partie des membres du staff de l’ONG High Atlas Foundation et moi y compris se sont alors rendus sur les lieux à environ deux heures et demi du centre-ville de Marrakech.

Ce voyage été entreprise avec un objectif bien établit suivre les objectifs communs comme ceux de FRÉ Skincare, celui de distribuer des arganiers à deux coopératives féminines locales et qui ont leur activité principale basée sur l’exploitation et la transformation séquentielle de ce dernier.

La première visite fut alors au sein du siège de la Coopérative Féminine Mogador Essaouiraqu’elle occupe de l’année 2010 d’après la responsable des lieux, Mme HAIDA Khadija.

Elle nous a ainsi fait visiter les lieux et même montré le déroulement du long processus de transformation de l’amande et de l’argan en produits cosmétique et/ou alimentaire (car pour pouvoir obtenir 1 litre d’argan ou d’amande il faut au moins 2 jours de travail manuel non-stop par femme, ce qui peut être très fatigant bien sûr). Nous avons donc eu la chance de voir une partie de ces femmes en plein travail qui étaient au nombre d’environs six (6) personnes qui chantaient en chœur pour se motiver les unes les autres. L’étape de transformation est divisée en plusieurs étape : le dépulpage, le concassage, l’écrasement et enfin le pressage sans oublier qu’il faut environ et au moins 40 kg de fruit d’argan pour réaliser cela.

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Nous nous sommes ensuite redus dans leur ferme non loin de leur siège pour y déposer environs 460 arganiers sur les 920 amenés et donc la moitié mais, nous en avons planté également approximativement huit (8) et ce fut la fin de cette première visite.

La dernière visite eut donc lieu au sein de la Coopérative Lakjoute, qui a un mode de fonctionnement assez similaire à la précédente. Nous avons été reçus par la responsable des lieux Mme Fatiha El Hilalia servi de guide pour voir les installations ainsi que leur méthode de travail et malheureusement nous n’avons pas eu la chance de contempler les femmes au travail car il était déjà leur de la descente. Nous avons donc procédé au dépôt de l’autre moitié des arbres soit approximativement 460 également marquant alors la fin de cette merveilleuse journée d’activité.

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Ce qui m’a le plus marqué et émerveillé tout au long de cette journée mis à part le fait que c’était ma première fois dans la province d’Essaouira, c’est tout d’abord le fait que ces deux coopératives sont exclusivement et entièrement féminines et donc par conséquent aucun homme n’y figure comme employé quelconque, mais également le fait qu’elles transforment des produits entièrement naturels soit en produits alimentaire, soit en produit cosmétique pour des soins corporels.

C’est avec le sentiment d’avoir accomplis un acte généreux envers la nature par le biais de ces coopératives que nous avons repris la route pour la ville rouge Marrakech.

La Fondation du Haut Atlas et FRÉ Skincare continueront de planter des arganiers avec la coopérative de femmes de la région d’Essaouira afin d’atteindre 10 000 arbres en cette saison de plantation, pour non seulement élargir le champ vert de la région et contribuer à diminuer le CO2, cela contribuera clairement à sécuriser les revenus de milliers de familles et à créer de nombreuses possibilités d’emploi, en particulier pour les jeunes.

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CONTINUING THE FIVE-DAY TREE PLANTING CAMPAIGN IN MEKNES

Youssef Moussaoui

HAF Volunteer

New adventure.  New excitement.  After an amazing day in Skoura M’daz, part of the HAF team continues the five-day tree planting campaign. We met farmers from Azrou, in the Amghas commune. Abdelilah accompanied us; he is the caretaker of the HAF Ifrane nursery which is located at the Salaam School. We spent the afternoon distributing the trees to the farmers. In total, we distributed 275 fruit trees, 225 almond, 10 fig, 20 pomegranate, and 20 quince trees.

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One of the farms where we planted in the Amghas commune

We finished our afternoon of planting and conversing with the farmers of the region. They thanked us for all our effort and expressed hope that we will continue HAF activities together.

On the next day, we travelled to Meknes. In a program from the Leadership Development Institute at Akhawayn university in Ifrane, the Cemetery Workers Association from Meknes was rewarded almost 2000 trees last year for being the best association in the Fes-Meknes region. They decided to distribute those trees to several institutions in the region.

With the lead of Si Hicham (the association’s president), our first step was to visit the Ibn Zaydon Elementary School where we planted about 125 almond trees. According to the director, most of the students are orphans.  He also explained the proper way of teaching future generations and guide them towards a better future. He passionately believes that to prepare our students for the future, we must prepare them for change by teaching them to inquiry and think, and to adapt with new circumstance as well as explains how the school system works, and which activities children do in the school.

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All the children participated in the planting, they watered the trees they planted and promised to watch over them.

We moved on to another school nearby (the Ibn Outman High School). We spoke with the director and Said, HAF Project Manager, explained everything about the High Atlas Foundation. The director was very happy and welcoming and in return, he explained everything about the school and how grateful he is that the school is going to be more beautiful with the trees which are going to be planted there. On this day, the students planted 40 almond and 10 pomegranate trees.

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The director and Said initiating the planting activities in the school.

In the next two days, Si Moha, from the Moroccan High Comission of Waters and Forests and combating Desertification joined us. We went from one school to another, to a health care center, a cemetery, and to the Office of Professional Formation and Promotion (OFPPT). We planted 318 fruit trees in total (259 almond, 30 fig, 10 carob, 9 pomegranates, and 10 quince trees). Si Moha explained to all the children and the participants how to preserve the environment and the trees which give us so much in return. Moreover, by planting a tree, we are all contributing to the word’s balanced environmental system.

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Si Moha explains and helps the children planting a tree in a proper way

We can be a problem of the environment, by polluting and not careing for it. However, we are also it’s solution. By planting trees, we are preserving the environment which takes care of us, thus healthy environments create healthy societies. As a popular saying says “They planted and we ate, we plant and they will eat.”  We are planting trees for the next generation so they can benefit from them as we did from the past ones.

Thank you to Si Hicham from the Cemetery Workers Association for the most welcoming hospitality. I hope we can meet again someday! Importantly, a big thank you to the High Atlas Foundation and to ECOSIA (a green search engine and the investor in HAF nurseries) for the amazing opportunity for helping to make the environment a better place and meeting great people on this journey.

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PLANTING IN THE NURSERY OF IFRANE

Youssef Moussaoui

HAF Volunteer

The High Atlas Foundation held a tree planting day in AL – Salaam School, where the nursery is located in Ifrane. Abdelilah, the nursery caretaker, led the process. There were 64 participants. Sixty were elementary school children aged between 10 and 12 (30 children were in the fifth grade, and 30 were in the sixth). Four teachers also participated.

The nursery in AL- Salam School in Ifrane

If they would leave the trees without covering for a day or two, they would die because of the severe cold. So, they covered them with plastic as it shows in the picture above. The plastic keeps the cold from reaching the plants and in the same time it gives the trees the heat they need to grow.

Abdelilah together with the participants planted 54 trees in total, 2 fig trees and 52 almond trees. Before the planting, Abdelilah explained everything about trees and plants to the children; what do trees need to survive, how do we benefit from trees, and he also stressed the importance of planting trees to preserve the environment and make it greener.

Abdelilah plants the first tree to show children how it’s done

After watching Abdelilah’s instructions, all the children and the participants learned how to plant a tree in a proper way. So everyone started planting their tree. The kids were very happy during this activity; they never participated in a process like that before! It was a new experience for everyone. Doing something new, something different is always exciting for children.

After the children planted all the trees, they started watering them and cleaned their surroundings. The plants always need constant caring and attention especially with water. Abdelilah also showed the children several ways of watering the trees. He said that too much water can also harm the trees so the watering process should be limited to a certain number in one week.

Drip irrigation is a valid solution. The two advantages of drip irrigation are that the water will be preserved, and the trees won’t be harmed from overwatering.

An example of drip irrigation operation

The children of the school had an amazing day. They enjoyed planting the trees and liked the new information they gained from the activity. We are all grateful for the High Atlas Foundation’s efforts, for including the children in the planting of trees and helping them understand how trees should be planted properly as well as how to preserve them.

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HERE’S WHAT MAKES A DAY IN TASSA OUIRGANE EXCEPTIONAL!

by Fatima Zahra LAHRIRE

HAF Volunteer

Early morning on Tuesday, February 19th, we went to Tassa Ouirgane passing by the magnificent view of snowy mountain peaks, wildflowers, and small hills. At a distance of approximately 70 kilometers from the ochre city, Marrakech, the Tassa Ouirgane village stands in its beautiful Azzaden valley.

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The day started with a meeting next to where the HAF-community olive tree nursery resides. The meeting was facilitated by Amina El Hajjami, HAF’s Director of Projects, with the farmers from the region. It started with a brainstorming of the achievements, challenges, and recommended solutions. The farmers planted almond and walnut trees and they planned to plant more olive trees. Thus, the challenge is finding high-quality cuttings. They suggested to bring the cuttings from the surrounding farms and they thought that they may plant lemon trees as well.

We met village members, the UNDP’s National Coordinator Badia Sahmi, the UNDP’s Legal Counsel Najwa Alyassari, and Zahra Alyoubi the UNDP’s Assistant, in addition to Soufian Msou, a member of the Moroccan Association for Environment Protection and Human Development.

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The meeting was followed by a traditional lunch meal prepared by a local family. We were warmly welcomed by the family members and served tea and nuts as soon as we took a seat. After lunch, mineral water from the well in Tassa Ouirgane was served. The members of the committee had another meeting in a nearby village and so they bade us farewell.

At the same time, a group of girls and young women were waiting for us at the office of the local association of Tassa Ouirgane. It is like a classroom with desks and a blackboard. The light of a sunny day, that the various windows of the classroom allowed, was reflected on their enthusiastic faces. The workshop was facilitated by Amina who succeeded in brainstorming ideas and pushing the girls and young women to speak up and voice their opinions.

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Among the various resources in the region, olive trees, honey, aromatic herbs, and natural views, are just a few to state. Most of them agree that they need to establish a woman’s cooperative that would help to create job opportunities and generate income. The young women show a great interest in developing themselves. They believe that they can make a change because they have recognized the importance of economic independence in their lives.

The workshop was concluded with high expectations and a promise to meet as soon as possible after thinking over the findings from today. I was amazed by the warm welcome and positive environment offered by the local population. Heading back to Marrakech, the golden sun of the afternoon relieved the trees on the road from the flakes of snow and enlightened the white peaks of the surrounding mountains.

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STUDENTS AND INTERNS PUBLISH WITH THE HIGH ATLAS FOUNDATION

Work-study students, interns, and volunteers of the High Atlas Foundation have opportunities to analyze development as it is experienced in rural and urban communities, by farmers, women, youth, and people of all backgrounds.  We also give the students and volunteers the encouragement and support that they need in order to write their observations, improve upon their writing, and to share their work with the public.

This Newsletter is composed of the published articles by HAF’s work-study students, volunteers, and interns.  We hope that you find them informative and inspiring.  We also hope that you visit HAF and take this opportunity to assist people’s development, research and analyze their situations and how conditions at national and international levels impact people’s lives, and write about it for a global audience.  You can now do this and more and receive college credit through the University of Virginia.

These articles that are published in outlets around the world are important not only in regards to the professional growth of the writers, but because they share the perspectives of the people about whom they are writing, and advocate positions and policies that advance sustainable growth in Morocco and beyond.

We hope to see you in Marrakech as a visiting (and writing) member of HAF’s team.

Yossef Ben-Meir, Ph.D.
President
High Atlas Foundation
yossef@highatlasfoundation.org

 

CIVIL SOCIETY MATTERS TO THE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS 

Countercurrents, by Peter Jacques (visiting expert), 8 February 2019.

• Arabic: Al-Watan Voice, 16 February 2019

PARTICIPATORY DEVELOPMENT: A HUMANITARIAN ALTERNATIVE TO MIGRATION, GLOBAL RESEARCH

Global Research, by Yossef Ben-Meir (HAF President) and Manon Burbidge (Graduate Student and HAF Intern), 11 December 2018.

 

A CALL FOR LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE FOR INTERFAITH INITIATIVES: FROM MOROCCO TO JERUSALEM 

The African Exponent, by Sarah Turkenicz (Graduate Student and HAF Volunteer), 4 December 2018.

• Arabic: Sotal Iraq, 28 December 2018.

المغرب العميق بعيون جزائري 

Sotal Iraq, by Brahim Bahmani Rai (HAF Intern), 28 November 2018.

 

EFFECTIVE PRACTICES TO SUSTAIN DEVELOPMENT IN MOROCCO

D+C, by Kerstin Opfer (Graduate Student and HAF Volunteer), 11 October 2018.

• Arabic: Ach Press, 17 October 2018.

 

COULD RIGHTS-BASED DEVELOPMENT ENCOURAGE RURAL MOROCCAN WOMEN’S CAPACITY BUILDING

The Fletcher Forum,by Gal Kramarski (Graduate Student and HAF Intern), 24 September 2018.

 

MOROCCO PROVIDES SAFE SPACES FOR YOUTH 

The New Arab, By Julia Payne (Undergraduate student and HAF Intern), 8 August 2018.

• Arabic: Arab Voice, 1 September 2018.

 

WHY EDUCATION ISN’T THE ONLY SOLUTION: AN OVERVIEW OF FEMALE EMPLOYMENT IN MOROCCO AND THE REGION 

Global Research, by Katherine O’Neill (Undergraduate student and HAF Intern), 24 July 2018.

• Arabic: Iraq Akhbar, 6 August 2018.
 

CAN THE MOROCCAN APPROACH INSPIRE A DEVELOPMENT REVOLUTION? 

Business Ghana University, by Julia Al-Akkad (Undergraduate student and HAF Intern), 21 July 2018.

• Arabic: Al-Bayadar, 1 August 2018.
• French: Africa News Agency, 30 July 2018.

 

THE NEXT STEP FOR COOPERATIVES IS CERTFICATION

The McGill International Review,by Amy Zhang (Undergraduate student and HAF Intern), 12 July 2018.

• Arabic: Alshamal News, 13 July 2018

 

FROM TRANSIT TO INTEGRATION: A MOROCCAN INITIATIVE FOR COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT

Morocco World News, by Nathan Park (Undergraduate student and HAF Intern), 31 May 2018.

• Arabic: Marrakech 24,12 June 2018

 

PROMOTING HUMAN RIGHTS TO SUPPORT DEVELOPMENT IN RURAL MOROCCO 

The Jerusalem Post,by Gal Kramarski (Graduate Student and HAF Intern), 10 February 2018.

• French: World News,16 February 2018.

• Arabic: Sadaalahdas, 14 February 2018

 

7,100 TREES GROWN IN FEZ NURSERY IMPROVING LIVELIHOODS IN MIDELT

by Nisreen Abo-Sido, HAF volunteer, Thomas J. Watson Fellow.

 

MOROCCO: ADDRESSING SHANTYTOWNS IN AN EMERGING DEMOCRACY

Eurasia Review, by Wajiha Inbrahim (Graduate Student and HAF Intern), 30 July 2017.

 

COMMUNITY MAPPING IN THE MELLAH OF MARRAKECH

Modern Ghana, by Richard Bone, (Undergraduate Student and HAF Intern), 13 June

2017.

 

COUNTERING EXTREMISM THROUGH HUMAN DEVELOPMENT

University World News, by Yossef Ben-Meir (HAF President), Mouhssine Tadlaoui-Cherki (HAF Program Manager), and Kati Roumani (HAF), 12 August 2016.

 

A MESSAGE TO A WORLD RIFE WITH TERRORISM

The Algemeiner, by Emma Tobin (Undergraduate student and HAF Intern), 8 April 2016.

 

WHAT IS THE VALUE OF A WOMAN?

ZNET, by Emma Tobin (Undergraduate student and HAF Intern), 23 March 2016

 

GROWING TREES TO MEND OLD WOUNDS 

Modern Ghana, by Emma Tobin (Undergraduate student and HAF Intern), 18 March 2016.

 

A LEGACY OF PEACE CORPS SERVICE

Friends of Morocco,by Lillian Thompson (Peace Corps Response Volunteer), 20 February 2016.

 

ON THE CUSP OF CHANGE – WALNUT DISTRIBUTION IN TADMAMT, AL HAOUZ

World News, by Elle Houby (HAF Intern), 15 February 2016.

French: World News,16 February 2016

 

BETWEEN DESPONDENCY AND HOPE IN MOROCCO’S ORIENTAL REGION

The Perspective, by Elle Houby (HAF Intern), 29 January 2016.

French: Libération, 5 March 2016.

 

LENDING LAND TO ENHANCE LIFE

Scoop News, by Kati Roumani (HAF Volunteer), 8 August 2015.

French: Libération, 14 August 2015.

 

MEET THE HIGH ATLAS BOTANICAL SUPERHERO 

Green Prophet, by Ida Sophie Winter (HAF Volunteer), 26 June 2015.

GG Rewards Superstar status as of Jan. 31, 2019

High Atlas Foundation has earned the following badges on GlobalGiving:

                                                                                                            

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