EDUCATIONAL EVENTS SHOWCASE WOMEN’S COOPERATIVES AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT IN MOROCCO

On May 2nd, HAF friends and supporters gathered in New York City for the second Eat.Drink.Share event, which focused on women’s cooperatives in rural Morocco. Attendees had an opportunity to learn more about HAF’s current project in the Tifnoute Valley that will serve ten villages, with the main objective to increase household incomes by 25 percent through fruit tree planting, irrigation, training and the women’s choice of projects ranging from carpet weaving to embroidery. HAF presented the topic in conjunction with Kantara Crafts, a fair trade company specializing in women’s carpet weaving cooperatives, which gave attendees perspective on the production-to-sale process of the crafts as well as an opportunity to view the final products.

More recently, a delegation of students, ranging in age from eighteen to twenty-five, led by People to People International (PTPI) departed for Morocco to work on numerous projects, including a three day program in the village of Tassa Ouirgane with The High Atlas Foundation. As part of their 2010 Young Generation (YG) IMPACT Weekend prior to the students’ departure, HAF Board Member Nora Larhouasli Marrakchi was invited to lead an interactive session on the topic of “Global Sustainability through Community Development” at the Heldrich Hotel in New Brunswick, New Jersey. The discussion was aimed at introducing the students to the importance of community development in Morocco, the participatory community planning methods used by HAF in the field, and the successes and challenges of these development approaches.  Students were led through a series of community mapping activities, which challenged them to focus on defining their actual and ideal community, as well as prioritizing their challenges and opportunities through pairwise ranking exercise.

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