By Errachid Montassir, Country Manager – HAF Farmer-To-Farmer Program
(From right to left) HAF-F2F Country Manager Errachid Montassir, former F2F Volunteer Hicham Amarouch, Dar America Deputy Director Staci Dawson, Tangier American Legation Institute for Moroccan Studies Director Jennifer Rasamimanana, representative of the American Legation Itimad, and F2F member Hassan Ait Ouatouch.
Exactly one year after the United Nations (UN) established a set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to help businesses and governments build a more equitable and sustainable world, in 2016, the High Atlas Foundation (HAF) opened the door for me in order to contribute in an extraordinary tree-planting action, which HAF organizes every year on the third Monday of January. This action engages thousands of Moroccan communities, volunteers, and students In what I personally like to call “Planting Green Machines” simply because trees are just natural machines that stand out as having the potential to positively impact all 17 SDGs.
These green machines can eradicate poverty and improve the communities’ lives by providing immediate employment, increasing the land’s ability to produce food and building materials over time, and protecting infrastructure from extreme weather events, as well as improving human health by providing sustainable, high-quality supplies of food and water over time — and by reducing the incidence and transmission of diseases.
The third Monday of January coincides with the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service, which celebrates the same dedication to the community and sustainable development that HAF represents. This year, the event also coincided with Tu B’Shevat, a Jewish holiday that celebrates the environment through the planting of trees.
This year, I had the honor to join Dar America Deputy Director Staci Dawson and Tangier American Legation Institute for Moroccan Studies Director (and former Consul General in Casablanca) Jennifer Rasamimanana to plant new fruit trees at the Legation building and the Jewish hospice of Tangier, accompanied by a former local Farmer-To-Farmer (F2F) Volunteer, Hicham Amaarouch, who shared his memorable experience serving two F2F assignments with groups of women in Morocco with the assistance of U.S. remote paired volunteers Laura Neale and Stephen W. Hallgren. The volunteers assisted women in Ouajda and Taroudant to create their own cooperatives and start their tree nursery projects that provide organic fruit trees for farming families all over Morocco.
HAF is contributing to achieving the sustainable development goals by planting outstanding green machines with Moroccan communities every single day. Come join this amazing journey and give back to your community.