The High Atlas Foundation has been conducting participatory planning meetings with local communities in Boujdour province for most of the past year, where people’s voices are heard and action plans are created for priority projects. As part of the participatory process, public-private partnerships are forged toward providing support for the community initiatives.
HAF is pleased to announce new local partners in the Boujdour. The provincial partners are: the Delegations of Youth and Sports and Education, the Ministry of Agriculture, and the High Commission of Waters and Forests. HAF has signed direct partnerships with four schools. These partnerships will support community projects in drinking water, green business development with youth and single-unwed mothers and in school tree planting and environmental stewardship.
HAF facilitators held participatory meetings in the fishing communities of Assifat and Elkaa, with nomadic communities within the Jrifia commune, and in Boujdour City, which has a population of over 61,000 people. Rural and urban priorities showed some overlap. Communities identified three top priorities:
1.Clean drinking water and irrigation
Participatory community planning revealed that both the local people of the rural fishing and nomadic villages in the Jrifia commune stressed water as the priority for them. This project will help many people avoid illnesses, increasing longevity and quality of life and creating conditions that help to lift them out of poverty The plan is to dig and equip six wells in six nomadic villages, and deepen, repair and equip two additional wells in two fishing villages. This community project will benefit 3,500 fishermen in the two fishing villages, and a seasonally fluctuating population (depending on water availability) of between 1,000 to 6,000 Khaima “households” (from several thousand to approximately 20,000 people) in Albadia nomadic villages of Jrifia. Nomadic households between Laayoune in the north and Dakhla in the south will also seasonally benefit from this drinking water project. Project beneficiaries describe how about one-third of their income is spent on water (its shipment). As their main economic activities are animal husbandry and fishing, they do not have the financial means to build the necessary clean water infrastructure. New local associations will be created to manage this and future projects. This drinking water project, at a cost of $380,000, would profoundly benefit Boujdour citizens.
2.School Infrastructure and activities, paved roads (also in rural areas), mosques, and public bathrooms in Boujdour City
Community meetings in Boujdour City income generation to alleviate the challenges of underemployment among youth. Infrastructure needs came from rural and urban meetings. On 16 January 2014, HAF celebrated the planting of its one millionth tree in Morocco. On that day, HAF planted more than 10,000 trees at 43 projects sites in 8 Moroccan provinces. Communities in Boujdour participated in tree planting at four elementary schools and one educational center – 240 trees were planted (olive, citrus, apple, and pomegranate). The new provincial partnerships enhance HAF’s relationships with communities to enable local people to address opportunities through sustainable development and viable solutions.
3.Income-generation opportunities for women
On 23 February 2014, HAF held a planning meeting with divorced and widowed women to identify issues of concern and to begin developing plans for a women’s cooperative. With HAF staff, the women identified and discussed potential cooperative projects, including sewing, carpet making, baking, and ranching before voting unanimously that a fish packaging plant holds the most promise for the community. The women, who have for so long struggled to provide for their most basic needs, are devoted to working long hours to making this factory a success.
HAF is committed to communities creating a future that is transformative. This is because what HAF does is people-driven with highly productive private-public partnerships at different levels. We therefore believe, based on our experience and results, that HAF and its partners are building in Boujdour and in nine other provinces of Morocco a global model for investment in human development.