Ouaouizerth Project: in love and honor for the spirit of the late U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens
The High Atlas Foundation (HAF) partners with the commune of Ouaouizerth, in the Azilal Province of Morocco, and the Adrar Cooperative to help the local community to achieve an agricultural development project.
By the High Atlas Foundation
Published: July 8, 2013
MARRAKECH – The amazing story between the HAF and Ouaouizerth region is based on a unique and historical connection. The HAF was created in 2000 by former Peace Corps volunteers who wanted to build on their experience and relationships in Morocco to continue to help the rural and often disadvantaged communities. The late United States Ambassador to Libya, Mr. Christopher Stevens, served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Ouaouizerth, in the High Atlas Mountains, before becoming a diplomat. A great development project has resulted from that connection.
A hectare of land will be lent for 26 years by the Adrar Cooperative to the women and youth of Ouaouizerth to enable them to build a nursery of organic fruit trees and wild medicinal plants. The HAF seeks to facilitate a doubling of local household income, in particular for the women and youth, who play a vital role in the development of their community. The local people of Ouaouizerth consider this project as a starting point for the economic and social development – not only of their commune, but of the whole region. You can watch the participatory community discussions that led to this local project here.
Dr. Yossef Ben-Meir, HAF President and Founder, and a former Peace Corps volunteer, was very happy to be with the local people in Ouaouizerth especially when he links the dream of the local people today with the time served there by Mr. Stevens, who many local residents recall fondly. “Ambassador Stevens was here 30 years ago. And thirty years later something positive is happening in his memory,” Dr. Ben-Meir said. The local people have learned a lesson from their story of Ouaouizerth; they understand that for the sake of local development they have to set long term dreams and work hard as a community to turn them into successful development projects. These projects, Mr. Abderrahim Farhat, the President of the Adrar Cooperative stated, “Will benefit many generations from now…and this is the real meaning of sustainable development.”
Ambassador Christopher Stevens was a well-known person in Ouaouizerth, who built good relationships with the local people. Many people there still evoke their memories of Mr. Stevens. HAF is very pleased to be there for the people of Ouaouizerth, with this project which binds the past, present and future. For the good memories of Mr. Stevens and for the valuable time he shared with the local people of Ouaouizerth, for the better change of future generations, for the honor of his soul, the HAF dedicates the Ouaouizerth project. The HAF asks for your partnership.
Note for Editors:
The High Atlas Foundation (HAF) is a Moroccan association and U.S. 501(c)(3) non-profit organization committed to sustainable grassroots development in Morocco, in predominantly rural disadvantaged communities, working in partnership with government and non-government agencies. The HAF philosophy is to create an inclusive process for community development that relies on the participation of all local stakeholders. The HAF integrates participatory methods for community planning to identify, design and implement sustainable human development projects, in agriculture, health, education, small businesses, and women and youth empowerment. The essence of HAF’s work is that the projects are identified and realized wholly by the communities who solely benefit from them. The HAF was founded in 2000 by former Peace Corps volunteers who had served in Morocco, like U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and more than 4,000 others.
To watch the video of Ouaouizerth community leaders remembering Ambassador Chris Stevens and coming to an agreement to lend the land to women and youth groups for the tree and plant nursery: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y2qxk0tl7_s&feature=em-upload_owner
For more information about the HAF: www.highatlasfoundation.org
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High Atlas Foundation | 332 Bleecker Street , #K110, New York, NY 10014 USA
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