Between June 3rd and June 5th, HAF hosted fourteen students and two adult leaders from People to People International (PTPI) in the village of Tassa Ouirgane located in southern Morocco’s High Atlas Mountains. PTPI, founded by President Dwight Eisenhower, and now run by his granddaughter, is dedicated to cross-cultural communication within and across communities and nations.
The visit helped the students build first-hand knowledge of the socio-economic and environmental opportunities in rural Morocco and gave them the opportunity to participate in a service-learning project. During the program, students gained basic knowledge about participatory development through an introductory session conducted by HAF’s Training and Project Manager, Abderrahim Ouarghidi. In addition, the students practiced hands-on activities with the community, such as social mapping and pair-wise ranking, with the goal of helping local people reach consensus on their priority development needs.
The students also enjoyed traditional Moroccan food, learned basic cultural norms in rural Morocco, and built relationships with local people through community meetings and discussions. Students toured the village with community members – a walk that took them to the local association, springs, orchards, and fields – and to discover the landscape that surrounds the village.