Planting and growing trees with schoolchildren and farmers in Youssoufia

By Fatima Zahra Laaribi

Office Manager and Women Empowerment Facilitator



The third Monday of January – this year on the 15th- is a day in which the High Atlas Foundation (HAF) held a special day of national tree planting across Morocco.  This has become an annual event since 2014, the year that HAF planted its millionth tree.

 This is the second year that HAF has planted in the mining town of Youssoufia, where we reached new places this year.

HAF’s new director, Larbi Didouqen, Fatima Zahra Laaribi (HAF’s women empowerment trainer), and Darsen Hover (HAF volunteer from New York) traveled together to plant in four schools as well as with some farmers.  Throughout the day we were joined by four volunteers from the OCP Group, as part of their program, “Act 4 Community Service”.

 We started our journey with rain, which is traditionally viewed by many cultures as a positive omen; Mr. Larbi and I considered it good luck for this planting season, especially because Morocco has been experienced a very long period of drought.

 Throughout the day, HAF and its local partners, the Amal Elghade Association for Rural Woman and Children, Binaa Association for Sustainable Development, and of course the directors of the four schools, planted in two rural communes (Gantour and Sbiaat) in the province of Youssoufia.  We planted in Abdelaziz ben Chakroun and Faouariaa primary schools, and Omar Alkhayam and Al Banae middle schools, in addition to two villages called Chhidat and Ait Oulad Taleb.

 HAF hand delivered 400 olive trees, 210 pomegranate, 900 almonds, and 70 carob trees, as well as 8 palm trees for the schoolyards and for the farmers to plant in their own orchards.


As he always does, before beginning the planting process, HAF’s director with the background in Agricultural Engineering, demonstrated the proper techniques for planting trees as part of raising awareness about planting.



Throughout the day, OCP volunteers and presidents of associations showed a great eagerness and energy, and participated actively.  At the moment of planting, OCP Volunteers expressed that this was the first time they had picked up the shovels to plant trees. Then we were invited by the directors of the schools to make a short visit to schoolyards where we had planted last year. We were very impressed that nearly all of the tiny saplings that we planted last year had grown beautifully and gave fruit, especially the fig trees.  This assured us that students, teachers and headmasters gave great care to these trees.

Even though the planting process coincided with the period of exams and just a very few students took part, teachers, and directors showed appreciation, joy and happiness with the hope that we will continue to pursue this great environmental initiative with students.

The day ended with two farmers who received their trees with gratitude and appreciation for the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of rural Moroccan communities. I look forward returning to Youssoufia to see the continued prosperity of the trees.


The Vacation Project and HAF’s Visit to Tassa Ouirgane

 By Erracihd Montassir, HAF Project Manager 


HAF’s partner--the Vacation Project (VP), which is a program created for social, service, and experiential travel--engages in voluntary work with communities around the world.  From the 2nd to the 4th of January 2018, VP and HAF visited our community partners in the Ouirgane municipality of the Azzadene Valley.  Eleven VP travelers and HAF project manager Errachid Montassir spent four days with six host families and committed to voluntary work with the community, especially to implement Sami's Project.

 First day: Tuesday, 2nd Januray 2018:

 We arrived in the Azzadene Valley (Tiziene village) at 11:00h.  Meeting our host families was a great beginning of our visit and objectives.  The local people were extremely excited to host two of us in one home, so there were 6 host families in total; two of them hosted male travelers and the remaining hosted female. .

After they had a lunch meal with host families, at 14:00h we moved to an apple orchard four kilometers from the village with host family member Brahim, who wanted to irrigate his 300 apple trees.  The trees were not in a flat place so it was quite difficult to water them with a tube coming from the spring. Each one of the volunteers contributed in moving earth and irritating.  We returned to the village and met some of the local youth.


Just after that I went to meet the director of the primary school in the village, to further coordinate our visit to the same school on the next day.  In the evening all the female volunteers helped women from the village cook a group dinner.



Second day: Wednesday, 3rd  January 2018


Our next step was our main effort: to implement Sami’s Project.  We went to a school in the morning shared by four with several objectives: Meet the kids and do a workshop with them about the environment, and to deliver school supplies (backpacks, soccer balls, winter hats, pens and others).

 The students and teachers were so happy to have that good relation with people from outside of Morocco and to spend fruitful half day with them.  We did many activities with the kids; for instance, having them draw their future school, which is a participatory method to figure our their needs in the school, and the first priority was the bathrooms.  Some VP volunteers were so excited to help with the school's infrastructure in the future. During the second half of the day the volunteers helped farmers in building agricultural terraces.

Third day: Thursday, 4th January 2018

 All the volunteers met the local association and they helped them build a new small basin around a spring's source three hours from the village, as well as they together discussed new project ideas for the local association.

 At night we had an extremely emotional workshop with farmers and youth people, using the HAF's participatory approach to find out their problems and needs in the village.  There were tears after they broke down the barriers between the community and the international volunteers.

The first three project priorities were:

1- A center for the local association

2- Hospital and sewage system

3- A women’s apple vinegar cooperative and agricultural basin

 Fourth day: 5th January 2018

 On the last day of our visit, we woke up super early, going to the field to help farmers in collecting tree branches.

 We then conducted a workshop with the village women. This was my first time I facilitated a women’s workshop using the participatory approach (with VP volunteers), and it was another emotional moment between the women of the village and us.  The women’s priorities are:


1-     Women apple vinegar cooperative

2-    Sewage system

3-    Hammam

 The women’s workshop ended up with a strong relationship between the women volunteers and the village women, helping to ensure that they will meet again and to contribute in achieving dreams.  It was so sad to say goodbye to the community and the host families, everyone cried.


VP volunteers were so happy to spend a few days with HAF in Tiziene.  It was the first time they participate in a workshop using the participatory approach with communities.  Some of them will come back to Morocco, and some will apply these concepts at home or wherever life takes them.

La Fondation du Grand Atlas célèbre la Journée de l'agriculture à travers le pays

Marrakech, Maroc: Comme à l'accoutumée, chaque année, la Fondation du Grand Atlas (HAF), en partenariat avec les directions régionales des Eaux et  forêts, continue à planter des grenadiers, amandiers, caroubiers, figuiers, caroubier, arganiers et noyers dans tout le territoire du Maroc.


La Fondation du Grand Atlas est une organisation   non gouvernementale à but non lucratif, maroco-américaine vouée à la lutte contre la pauvreté et à la promotion du développement agricole durable à travers des activités axées sur la consultation et l'approche participative.


L'événement de la journée du 15 Janvier comprendra la plantation de plus de 9 000 arbres à travers le Maroc dans les écoles et autres endroits dans les 16 provinces suivantes: Al Haouz, Rahamna, Yousoufiya, Essaouira, Ouarzazate, Taroudant, Skhirat, Oujda, Fès, Boujdour, Tan Tan, Laayoune, Sidi Ifni et Marrakech.


En cette occasion et au nom de la FHA nous vous invitons tous à «Plantez des arbres dans tout le Maroc, en milieux ruraux comme en villes et avec des jeunes, tous les âges, les femmes et toutes les couches de la société, en créant une atmosphère d'amitié, d'entente et de solidarité entre nous et pour la terre et les générations futures.


En tant que Marocains, nous dédions cet événement à tout le monde aux États-Unis pour commémorer la mort du Martin Luther King, qui a consacré sa vie à la défense de la liberté, l'égalité et à la lutte contre la pauvreté.


Depuis 2000, la Fondation a pu promouvoir la croissance économique et social des milliers de familles au Maroc grâce au développement agricole, qui est l'objectif principal de la population rurale et soutenir les femmes et les jeunes dans divers domaines.


La Fondation du Haut Atlas (HAF) continue d'œuvrer dans d'autres domaines du développement des jeunes, de l'autonomisation des femmes, du développement multiculturel, de l'agriculture biologique  de la réduction du carbone, dans tout le Maroc en partenariat avec le Haut Commissariat aux Eaux et Forêts, Agriculture et sociétés civiles


Pour plus d'informations sur la Fondation du Grand Atlas, visitez ou suivez-les sur Twitter @ HafFdt

مؤسسة الأطلس الكبير تحتفل بيوم الزراعة عبر البلاد،

 للنشر الفوري 11/1/2018

مؤسسة الأطلس الكبير تحتفل بيوم الزراعة عبر البلاد،

مجموع ما ستتمّ زراعته في هذا الحدث : 9000 شجرة


مراكش، المغرب: تواصل مؤسسة الأطلس الكبير (HAF)  كما جرت العادة في كل سنة وبشراكة مع المديريات  الجهوية للمياه والغابات، يوم الاثنين الموافق 15 يناير،  زراعة أشجار الرمان واللوز والتين والجوز والخروب في جميع أنحاء المغرب.


فمؤسسة الأطلس الكبير هي مؤسسة مغربية- أمريكية  غير ربحية تكرس أنشطتها لمكافحة الفقر وتعزيز التنمية الزراعية المستدامة من خلال حملات تركز على  الأستشارة و المقاربة التشاركية .


وسيشمل هذا الحدث الذي يستمر يوما كاملا ً زراعة أكثر من 9000 شجرة في جميع أنحاء المغرب في المدارس ومواقع أخرى في الأقاليم الستة عشر التالية: الحوز، الرحامنة، اليوسفية، الصويرة، ورزازات، تارودانت، الصخيرات، وجدة، فاس، بن سليمان، أزيلال، بوجدور، طانطان، العيون، سيدي إفني، ومراكش.


وبالنيابة عن مؤسسة الأطلس الكبير ندعوكم الى : "زراعة الأشجار في جميع أنحاء المغرب، في الأماكن القروية والمدن ، مع الشباب وكل الأعمار والفئات وجميع شرائح المجتمع  والقيام بذلك جنبا إلى جنب في نفس اللحظة  مع خلق جو الود والصداقة بيننا ومن أجل الأرض والأجيال المقبلة.


وكمغاربة نهدي هذا الحدث لكل فرد في الولايات المتحدة الامريكية تخليدا لذكرى مارتن لوثر كينج الذي كرس حياته للدفاع عن الحرية والمساواة ومحاربة الفقر.


ومنذ عام 2000 تمكنت المؤسسة من تعزيز النمو الاقتصادي والاستدامة مع آلاف الأسر في المغرب من خلال التنمية الفلاحية التي تشكل الهدف الرئيسي للساكنة القروية كما تمكنت من دعم النساء والشباب وتكوينهم في مجالات عدة.


وتعرب مؤسسة الأطلس الكبير عن امتنانها العميق لجميع شركائها الحاليين في المغرب: إكوسيا ؛ مبادرة الشراكة في الشرق الأوسط؛ مزارع إلى مزارع ؛ سيمانس ، برنامج الأمم المتحدة الإنمائي؛ المندوبية السامية للمياه والغابات ومكافحة التصحر؛ وزارة الشباب والرياضة، وزارة الفلاحة ، ووزارة التعليم؛ إيف سان لوران ؛ مشروع بور؛ جامعة الاخوين. جامعة سيدي محمد بن عبد الله. الصندوق الوطني للديمقراطية؛ وتعاونيات أبوغلو، وأدرار، وإدارارن، وإمدوكال زناكة، الطائفة اليهودية المغربية؛ معهد التمكين بالولايات المتحدة الامريكية ؛كاهينا للجمال و جميع السلطات المحليةالمغربية.


وتواصل مؤسسة الأطلس الكبير (HAF) - التي أسسها متطوعين من هيئة السلام للأمم المتحدة العمل في مجالات أخرى من مجالات تنمية الشباب، وتمكين المرأة، وأعمال التنمية المتعددة الثقافات والفلاحة البيولوجية المستدامة والتقليص من انبعاتات  الكربون في جميع أنحاء المغرب بشراكة مع المندوبية السامية للمياه والغابات ومكافحة التصحر والفلاحة والمجتمع المدني.

للحصول على المزيد من المعلومات حول مؤسسة الأطلس الكبير أبحث في أو متابعتها على تويتر @ HafFdtn

Press Release: High Atlas Foundations celebrates Cross-Country Planting Day




High Atlas Foundations celebrates Cross-Country Planting Day,

Tree planting event totaling 9,000 trees


Marrakech, Morocco: The High Atlas Foundation (HAF) continues its legacy this Monday, January 15th , through a mass planting of pomegranate, almond, fig, walnut, and carob trees across Morocco. HAF is a Moroccan and United States nonprofit organization dedicated to combating poverty and promoting sustainable agricultural development through targeted empowerment focused campaigns. 


Marking the beginning of the January growing season, this event will engage HAF’s partner nurseries, project coordinators, and site populations.


The day-long event will include planting over 9,000 trees across Morocco at the schools and community sites in the following sixteen provinces: El Haouz, Rhamna, El Youssoufia, Essaouira, Ouarzazate, Taroudant, Skhirate, Oujda, Fes, Ben Sliman, Azilal, Boujdour, Tantan, Laayoune, Sidi Ifni, and Marrakech.


On behalf of the High Atlas Foundation: “Planting trees in all parts of Morocco, in rural places and cities, with people young in years and young at heart, of all backgrounds and with all dreams for a good future – and to do so in tandem, together at the same moment – fulfills life, love, and unity among us and with earth.  And to everyone in the United States: Happy Martin Luther King Day. In Morocco, we are united with you on this day, every year, in Volunteerism.”


Since the year 2000, HAF has been able to promote economic growth and sustainability with thousands of families in Morocco through community lead agricultural development. Campaigns prioritizing participatory models when working with women and youth center around the needs and vision of each community.


The High Atlas Foundation is exceedingly grateful to all our current partners in Morocco: Ecosia; Middle East Partnership Initiative; Farmer-to-Farmer with Land O’ Lakes; Siemens Wind Solar; United Nations Development Program; High Commission of Waters and Forests and the Fight Against Desertification; the ministries of Youth and Sports, Agriculture, and Education; Yves Saint Laurent Beauté; Project PUR; Al Akhawayn University; University Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdellah; National Endowment for Democracy; the cooperatives of Aboghlou, Adrar, and Imdoukal Znaga; Moroccan Jewish Community; Empowerment Institute; FRÉ; Kahina Giving Beauty; and the provincial authorities.      


HAF, founded by former Peace Corps Volunteers, continues work in other areas of youth development, women’s empowerment, multicultural development actions, and carbon offsetting throughout Morocco. Find more information about the High Atlas Foundation at or follow them on Twitter @HafFdtn.



One can join us by giving to community tree nurseries, to growing trees with schoolchildren, and multicultural partnerships for tree planting in Morocco.  Thank you for your consideration.




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HAF in Morocco

High Atlas Foundation
4 Rue Qadi AyaadAl Manar 4A - 3rd floor - Appt. 12 El Harti, Guéliz, MARRAKESH 40.000 - Morocco

Tel: +212 (0)5 24 42 08 21
Fax+212 (0)5 24 43 00 02 

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Directions to HAF Marrakech Office


High Atlas Foundation
High Atlas Foundation 332 Bleecker Street, #K110, NEW YORK, NY 10014

Phone: +1 (646) 688-2946
Fax: +1 (646) 786-4780

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