This Calendula nursery is an important source of income for the Aboghlou Cooperative: the leaves are dried and then exported to a cosmetics company in France.
The women who shell, dry and package walnuts at the Idraren Cooperative in Asni, near Marrakech, are employed for the first time in their lives and consequently have their own source of income.
Women’s empowerment involves, among other qualities, designing projects for sustainable development.
The High Atlas Foundation brings together experts and volunteers from around the world to concentrate together on how we can innovatively accomplish the development ideas of the Moroccan people.
Remember us at HAF, our steadfast dedication to fulfilling Moroccan visions and doing so with people who need and welcome it.
In this one space, we are people from government, civil society, the private sector, universities, North Africa, Europe, the United States and beyond
HAF’s Operations Manager Kerstin Opfer is also a researcher on environmental conservation issues.
Building relationships is an integral part of workshops and lays the foundation for sustainability of actions that follow.
HAF helps cooperatives to acquire cost-free premises, in order to conduct their various production-related activities. At this cooperative, our next objective is to refurbish the location in order for the group to obtain certification from the food-safety inspectors.
This visual, is a culmination of so many vital actions, persistence and hard work preceding it, such as the consensus and creation of a cooperative, the building of partnerships, the identification of opportunities and the will to achieve.
A gifted fortune of Morocco is its natural growth of dozens of species of wild, medicinal herbs that can be not only a far greater source of income and nutrition for all Moroccans but indeed of the world.
All HAF nurseries are equipped with water efficient, drip-feed irrigation systems. This technology also makes the nurseries training locations for neighbouring communities
On this occasion, the Governor of Al Houz, Younes El Bathaoui, who coined the name of HAF’s interreligious project “House of Life”, signed his commitment to this initiative on behalf of the Moroccan government.
Is it hard to imagine these mountains covered with lush oak and juniper forests, as they once were? We can create this reality with partnerships and resources.
The Tadmamt walnut and almond tree nursery grows on land lent by the Department of Waters and Forests of Marrakech, and has generated more than 600,000 trees since 2012. It was initially funded by UNDP and serves the farming families of the region.
Walnut trees can live up to 500 years: HAF has planted more than 500,000 since 2003.
This reminds us that participatory development is not only about design, but about all the phases of projects, including implementation, management and evaluation.
The beauty of Moroccan multiculturalism is that it is an intrinsic part of the national identity which is understood and appreciated by everyone. We must however, not take it for granted and build lasting connections with youth.
HAF’s Hassan Ait Ouatouch is on most days, the first one to arrive at work and the last to leave, the reason being that he drives us far and wide, and co-ordinates between many partners and places.
Kids having fun, enjoying trees, are those fixed moments that as adults we know are carried with us, becoming the treasured memories of our youth.
Not only do HAF volunteers make our days better, but they also brighten the lives of many loving children by providing them with much-needed school supplies and extra-curricular learning fun.
When we visualise the changes we want for ourselves and our families, and affirm and acknowledge them, there is a heightened sense of determination and a deepened core belief.
Planting for sustainability is in itself an experiential learning process that achieves its pinnacle when young people take full part.
Much has been said about the requirements of sustainability involving relationships, finance and multiple other factors, however, joy and satisfaction are also indelible aspects.
For the cuttings to become saplings, it takes approximately 2 years, at which point there is an enormous sense of accomplishment.
When children plant a tree, just as when adults build their drinking water systems for example, there is a deep inclination to maintain these ultimately transforming actions.
Typically it is the villages at higher elevations, who are often more marginalised, that grow HAF’s walnut trees. However, their agricultural terraces don’t allow vast cultivation for these trees that require large spaces between them.
Mountain snow, come spring, allows us to irrigate our nurseries, however, the quick changes from winter to summer weather can lead to the precipitous loss of this storehouse of water.
We are committed to saving the 14 endemic varieties of fig that are found in the Tetouan region of Morocco, by building a nursery on land lent by the Department of Waters and Forests in Ouazzane province.
HAF university partnerships enable students to participate in and conduct workshops that benefit rural farming communities.
HAF is glad to host visitors to its projects to enable opportunities of learning, for both those who come and those whom they visit.
HAF is focussed on building greenhouses, because their concentrated heat and humidity not only increases the survival rate of seeds to 99%, but also allows for two harvests per year.
Sustainability is about building relationships and sharing moments such as this one.
Moroccan multiculturalism can also arise in the form of neighbourhood community meetings, where local people plan the change they seek, such as this one, being conducted in the 400-year-old Lazama synagogue in the Mellah, Marrakech.
Mouhjoub Himmi gave his land in-kind to launch HAF’s first tree nursery in 2006, in loving memory of former Peace Corps Volunteer Kate Jeans-Gail and her mother, Victoria.
HAF trainers are skilled at conducting workshops that foster personal and group empowerment and that help form plans of action driven by goals of the participants.
On the third Monday of January every year, HAF and its partners in all regions of Morocco plant trees together at noon on this international day of volunteerism.
In addition to students and teachers planning the projects they want for their school community, HAF also engages school directors from entire provinces to create proposals that simultaneously serve the needs of multiple schools.
HAF’s Project Director Amina El Hajjami understands that at times, the best thing we can do at a community meeting is share nourishment and support the people in the facilitation of their own discussions.
Sometimes at HAF our best contribution towards sustainability is our assistance to processes that build hope and belief in ourselves, our ideas, our neighbours and possibilities.
Abdeljalil Ait Ali, field technician (pictured left) assists in monitoring trees to help ensure their survival and for carbon offset credits.
Morocco would greatly gain from a greater presence at international food shows and conventions, featuring its vast organic fruit and herb products, which currently are not developed to the extent needed to overcome rural poverty.
The Aboghlou women’s co-operative makes couscous and other dried food items for sale.
Tahanout is in the foothills of the High Atlas Mountains and is the location of the first school where HAF planted trees in 2011.
HAF works with communities in Moulay Yacoub (Fes Region) to promote agricultural development and women’s empowerment.
Self-discovery leads to productive activities such as the fabrication of clothing, carpets and dried foodstuffs.
HAF’s walnut tree nurseries serve rural communities at high elevations and also lead to organic certification, processing and sales.
Pairwise ranking helps assist participants of workshops in prioritising the initiatives they most want in their communities.
What are the visions of young women and girls, and what are the next steps for their achievement? HAF assists in these women’s personal journey of discovery and community project fulfilment.
Young women and girls’ empowerment is at the forefront of HAF’s efforts and is vital for Morocco and societies’ well-being.
Participatory development focuses on the group but it also relies upon engaging the remote individual and their story.
When nurseries that we helped launch result in Moroccans from all walks of life join with fellow compatriots for sustainability, then we’ve reached an important milestone.
We are grateful for the opportunities we’ve had to implement training programmes outside Morocco, including in Cameroon, Jordan and Egypt.
This walnut and almond tree nursery, managed by HAF, grows on land that is given in-kind by the Department of Waters and Forests in Marrakech.
These cuttings from olive trees are then planted in nurseries. After two years, these become grown saplings that are transplanted into farmers’ fields and schoolyards
HAF has planted in partnership with schools in Morocco’s southern regions: the survival rate of these seedlings is over 90% and the region is highly conducive for endemic and organic fruit tree varieties
Our joy comes from people’s support of HAF’s mission in Morocco.
The interfaith tree nurseries epitomises Moroccan multiculturalism and invites celebration on the days that trees are given to communities. Here, U.S. Ambassador to the Kingdom of Morocco, Dwight Bush, Sr., hands trees to school children.
Empowerment comes in different forms, including the basic freedom to leave one’s village and gather with other women of their region.
It’s these moments that make HAF worthwhile!
Women driving the design of projects to benefit themselves and their communities comes as a result of empowering self-discovery workshops run by HAF.
HAF has presented its walnut and almond oils at food shows in New York and Cairo, promoting the organic products and opportunities it creates in Morocco.
When we return to schools where trees were planted after a year, we find the children with lasting memories of when they participated on that first day.
Hanna Azaoui has been HAF’s project manager in Boujdour since 2013, overseeing HAF’s training workshops, waste management, youth and water initiatives in the region.
HAF’s Sami’s Project was created in memory of the late Sami El Kouhen, a young boy who loved the outdoors, and whose short life has inspired tree planting with children throughout Morocco.
This almond nursery, managed by the women of the Aboghlou Cooperative in the Ourika Valley, produced more than 14,000 trees, which were then planted with schools and farming families across the region.
Community members in Ijoukak plan the future of their organic fruit tree nursery.
In 2008, HAF hired its first project manager, Kate McLetchie, helping us implement the foundation’s initial initiatives and partnerships.
Volunteers create beautiful shared moments with young Moroccans where everyone learns from their interactions and experiences.
This walnut tree nursery is planted on land lent in-kind by the Moroccan Jewish community alongside Shalomo Ben Lahench, a saint who is buried there. Muslim newly-weds visit this sacred place to affirm their marriage vows.
Poems and texts immemorial equate trees, their roots and branches, to human life and form.
Young Moroccans actively maintain the trees that they plant in their schools, as they feel committed to their project’s sustainability.
HAF engages all members of society: young to old, women and men, those who have land and those who do not- everyone.
The involvement of children in planting trees creates unforgettable memories and inspires them to care for the trees as well as their environment.
Volunteers founded HAF in 2000, and volunteers continue to help achieve the organisation’s mission in all its endeavours.
The days when trees are distributed from community nurseries and planted by the people, local civil groups and government representatives participate in the event.
HAF’s Participatory Facilitator, Amina El Hajjami, listens as women prioritise the changes they seek in their communities.
By 2018, HAF planted fruit trees in 353 schools in 23 provinces in Morocco. Rakia Hanine enabled schools in Essaouira to be part of this achievement.
Signing partnership agreements are fulfilling and almost always accompany a sentiment of hope that our dreams will come true.
Children are part of community planning of projects and together make maps of where they live and the ideas they have for the future.
Here, local volunteers from Essaouira are helping to restore the historic Christian cemetery in their city.
Kate Jeans-Gail was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Morocco. She and her mother, Victoria, tragically passed away in a car accident in the United States. In her memory, HAF’s first tree nursery was created, and now its fruit nourishes and supports thousands of Moroccan families.
HAF certified 200 hectares of walnut tree plantations, leading to the processing and sales of 10 tonnes of raw product and 1000 litres of oil.
Artisanal crafts present an enormous opportunity to significantly improve the lives of women and their families, such as the sale of these knitted garments.
12. “Twinkles” of love and support are genuine moments which help us carry on and achieve our goals.
Women unite as they share their trials of the past and present.
HAF’s Errachid Montassir co-ordinates Sami’s Project with schools and assists children in learning about natural resource conservation.
HAF assists in the organic certification of agricultural fields, as well as processing facilities belonging to cooperatives.
Clean drinking water remains the most common priority of rural communities in Morocco.
Women’s Empowerment Facilitator, Ibtissam Niri, leads our self-discovery training workshops.
Morocco is transitioning from barley and corn to fruit-tree agriculture: the more we plant trees and utilise water efficiently, the brighter our future.
HAF implements workshops with university students, building their capacities to be facilitators of local sustainable development.
This fig and pomegranate nursery grows on land lent in-kind by the Moroccan-Jewish community, to provide trees for farming communities and schools throughout the country.
In Boujdour province, women build empowerment through tent-making co-operatives: HAF needs all the support possible to help these women achieve their projects.
HAF advances educational workshops on social unity and diversity leading to human development, as envisioned by Morocco.
HAF conducts monitoring for the certification and sale of carbon credits generated by the millions of trees that we have planted in collaboration with communities.
Moroccan mountain communities growing and selling organic-certified products is an essential part of its transformation towards prosperity.
To date, HAF has installed 32 new drinking water systems in schools and villages across Morocco.
There is special meaning when women and girls perform the agricultural-related tasks that are traditionally undertaken by men. HAF is dedicated to overcoming gender barriers of production.