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HAF Hires Director to Lead Operations in Morocco

By Yossef Ben-Meir, Ph.D.

HAF Founder and President

 

It is a particular joy for me to announce that my colleague for many years, Larbi Didouqen, is now the High Atlas Foundation’s Director in Morocco.

 

I first met Si Larbi in 1993 when I was a Peace Corps Volunteer and he was the Director of the Toubkal National Park.  I recall most from our initial encounter that I made a remark that someone referred to as “philosophical”.  Larbi, in all his thoughtfulness, responded: “We need philosophers to carry out our mission.”  We have been close collaborators ever since.

 

At this moment, HAF in Morocco is: 

 -   transplanting more than 250,000 tree saplings from our eleven nurseries by March, and planting a million more seeds in 2018, benefiting communities and schools in 30 provinces 

- implementing a major clean drinking water project in the south, with nomadic people;

-conducting women’s empowerment workshops that is a rights-based and human development approach;

-building upon its seven university partnerships;

 - monitoring for carbon credits;

 - building capacities of members of cooperatives;

 -fielding Farmer-to-Farmer volunteers from the U.S., and interns from around the world; and  

- advocating people’s participation in development at all levels and with all sectors of society.

 

Our team that Larbi is now leading is so hard working, and break new grounds.  Larbi leads through his wonderful example, and steadfast dedication.  He was a volunteer for HAF its first ten years, before joining its staff full time in 2011.  The starting point of his commitment to HAF’s mission of participatory development is love of people.  From there, best decisions are made. 

 

As for me, I will be part of HAF as much as ever.  I will write more, and build special partnerships more, and do so more from the United States.

 

This is my last HAF message of 2017 reminds of that most beautiful intangible quality about Morocco: that beautiful and unpredictable things happen, that uplift others and somehow me along – higher and higher, with greater serenity.

 

Wishing much of only good for 2018, and always,

 

Yours faithfully,

 

Yossef Ben-Meir, Ph.D.

 

HAF Founder and President

 

Grow Trees and Dreams with People of Morocco

 
Rains have come to Morocco, and farming families are now planting fruit trees for themselves and for generations to come.  They are forming cooperatives, and deeply hoping to add processing of their product and reach new markets.  The High Atlas Foundation assists with this entire process, including monitoring tree growth to gain carbon credits for added revenue.
 
But we must plant and grow to achieve all subsequent goals, and the time is now.  Plant with mountain communities walnut trees that live for centuries, and Moroccan endemic figs that are threatened.  Plant with women’s cooperatives medicinal plants.  Plant with schoolchildren and university communities.  Plant in multicultural settings.  Plant with us north and south, in 22 Moroccan provinces.  The people’s need is vast and their opportunities and will are endless.  Time though is short. 
 
We have until mid-March to meet far more requests totaling hundreds of thousands of trees more than we currently have.  Generate organic food with us.   Help secure the Moroccan environment.  Let’s achieve what is immediately possible, here and always.
 
Wishing you joy and the best this New Year,
 
The High Atlas Foundation
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Little hopes, big dreams

About 70 km away from Marrakech, in one of the villages of Setti Fatma commune, several young girls are looking for ways to fulfill their dreams. "I can visualize my future, but I do not know the way I should take to reach there." Indeed it seems as some of them have a clear vision of what they want to do when they grow up, or who they want to be in the future, however, as they say, they need someone to show them the way. They grew up together, they know each other the best, and they are willing to help one another in achieving their goals. They are highly motivated, and believe in themselves; their dreams my seem modest, and so may be their hopes and demands. All they ask for is to gain the right tools to break the walls that are keeping them away from being who they wish to be.       

The chosen baker

She is 16 years old, and an excellent baker. The minute we entered her family's house, they poured us sweet tea, and offered her wonderful pastries. She dropped out of the education system after completing primary school. She says she does not regret it, because she wants to be a famous baker, and wishes to invest all her time in that. "I want everyone to know me, I want to sell my pastries all over, and become very famous. I enjoy baking for my family, and people in my village, but I would like to succeed outside as well." She wants to become independent, and fulfill her dream; all she needs is the right plan and the right tools. Her reality is now changing. She was recently set up for engagement to a person she never met. Her father and uncle met his father, and suggested her. All she has is one picture of him, she does not know his age, she never met him in person, and yet one could tell she is extremely excited about him, and about the whole idea of changing her status. She was the one to be chosen, from many other girls in her village. She knows that if she rejects the offer, some other girl would quickly take it. You can tell she is happy, she is full with dreams and hopes, which might explode in her face in any minute, since her future is very vague. She knows she has to adapt to the situation, as she understands she is not completely free to make her own choices in this realm. Yet she is super optimistic, and very much happy. It is her time; she is the one they chose.  Continue
 

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Little hopes, big dreams

By Gal Kramarski

HAF Intern

 

About 70 km away from Marrakech, in one of the villages of Setti Fatma commune, several young girls are looking for ways to fulfill their dreams. "I can visualize my future, but I do not know the way I should take to reach there." Indeed it seems as some of them have a clear vision of what they want to do when they grow up, or who they want to be in the future, however, as they say, they need someone to show them the way. They grew up together, they know each other the best, and they are willing to help one another in achieving their goals. They are highly motivated, and believe in themselves; their dreams my seem modest, and so may be their hopes and demands. All they ask for is to gain the right tools to break the walls that are keeping them away from being who they wish to be.       

The chosen baker

She is 16 years old, and an excellent baker. The minute we entered her family's house, they poured us sweet tea, and offered her wonderful pastries. She dropped out of the education system after completing primary school. She says she does not regret it, because she wants to be a famous baker, and wishes to invest all her time in that. "I want everyone to know me, I want to sell my pastries all over, and become very famous. I enjoy baking for my family, and people in my village, but I would like to succeed outside as well." She wants to become independent, and fulfill her dream; all she needs is the right plan and the right tools. Her reality is now changing. She was recently set up for engagement to a person she never met. Her father and uncle met his father, and suggested her. All she has is one picture of him, she does not know his age, she never met him in person, and yet one could tell she is extremely excited about him, and about the whole idea of changing her status. She was the one to be chosen, from many other girls in her village. She knows that if she rejects the offer, some other girl would quickly take it. You can tell she is happy, she is full with dreams and hopes, which might explode in her face in any minute, since her future is very vague. She knows she has to adapt to the situation, as she understands she is not completely free to make her own choices in this realm. Yet she is super optimistic, and very much happy. It is her time; she is the one they chose. 

 

The ambitious doctor 

From all the girls in her village, she is the only one to attend secondary school. When we asked her what is her vision, she said she would like to learn different languages, starting with English, as she wishes to complete university studies. She wants to study medicine, and to become a doctor. We asked the older women why is she the only girl to attend secondary school, and they said she is an exceptional in their village. Most girl are not allowed to attend secondary schools due to several reasons. First, secondary schools are usually regional, and are located far away from the village. Most families are afraid that their girls will be raped on their way to school. Second, if a family can afford higher education for a child, they would prefer sending their sons, and not daughters. Hence, there are no classes only for girls (there are not enough girls to open a separate class), and most families would not like their daughters to attend a co-ed classroom. Families fear for their daughters, and this holds them back from becoming more educated and independent. One could tell this girl and her family are indeed unique in that sense, she gets the full support of her family to fulfill her dream. She is willing to invest time and efforts in learning English, mathematics, and more, in order to be able to attend university. They help her every day to get to school, and she takes it in both hands. She knows she is exceptional, and appreciates the opportunity.

 

The talented teacher

The student's younger cousin is ten years old. You can notice she is a very clever girl. She is extremely curious about our workshop and asks to join and listen. Her dream is to become a teacher one day. Arabic is her second language, she learned it at school, and can now speak it fluently. She is only ten years old, but takes very seriously her studies. She knows she wants to attend secondary school, and hopes her family will let her. On the second day of the workshop, I told her she could join us, but she said she had to finish her tasks for school before. For now, she practices being the "teacher" of the younger kids in her village, teaching them Arabic, helping them to read and write. You can see how they follow her; they listen and learn.  

The brave artist

Another girl shared with the group that she knows she is really good at sewing and that she would like to establish a cooperative for sewing and other artisanal products. For the first time she stood in front of the women of her village, and asked for their help. You could see she is shaking, this is the first time she stands and asks for help. She knows that only with the support of the older generation, their knowledge, and assets, she can succeed. You could tell she is excited and nervous to speak in front of them, but she did it, and with pride. As mentioned before, this young woman also has a clear vision of her wanted future. However, she has no clue of how she could make it come true.

 

There are many other examples, telling the stories of other girls in this village, which show that these girls know they can live their lives differently. Nevertheless, not all stories were as optimistic as the ones mentioned above. These young girls understand perfectly their role in their homes, and their community. They "play by the rules", and respect them. However, they ask for a better future for themselves, and their mothers are there to support them. With the right tools, and that one push they need, they could make a real change not only in their own lives, but also in lives of others who watch and learn from them. They are young, talented, and for now, their main concern in life is helping their mothers within the household. They cannot wait to exit these borders (let them be physical or conceptual), become more independent and follow their humble dreams.     

 

 

L’entrepreneuriat, entre discours et pratiques

A l’occasion de la semaine mondiale de l’entrepreneuriat, l’Ecole des Hautes Etudes Economiques, Commerciales et d’Ingénierie (HEEC) Marrakech a organisé le 20 décembre 2017 une journée de débat sous le thème : « l’entrepreneuriat, entre discours et pratiques » avec la participation de nombreux invités et représentants des organismes de formations, instances et d’encadrement, organismes de financement, organisations professionnelles et jeunes promoteurs afin de clarifier les mesures d’accompagnement à mettre en place pour booster un des principaux leviers du développement économique du Maroc.

Le premier panel du débat  a rassemblé le directeur de l’HEEC My Ahmed Lamrani, le professeur universitaire M.Driss Belkhyat, la directrice du centre des affaires du Crédit du Maroc Mme. Sophia Dmrah , la directrice du Réseau Maroc Entreprendre Mme .Aouatif Oubella, le président de la Chambre de Commerce, d’Industrie et des Services Marrakech-Safi M.Abderrahim Ridazaki, le conseiller en création d’entreprise à l’ANAPEC M.Souhail Hicham, le directeur du centre régional d’investissement M.Brahim Kheireddine ainsi que Mohamed Adel Bouhaja président de l’Union Locale de la CGEM Marrakech-Safi.


Cette première partie du débat a été très riche en matière d’échanges et les invités ont débattu sur le theme de la création et du financement des entreprises tout en soulevant les différents problèmes rencontrés par les jeunes entrepreneurs. Les intervenants ont tous été d’accord sur l’accompagnement pré-création et post-création, la création des programmes de formation et la sensibilisation des jeunes sur l’entrepreneuriat.

Le second panel s’était orienté vers l’appui et l’accompagnement et  le débat a rassemblé la responsable de la promotion de l’entrepreneuriat d’Attijari Wafabank Mme.Moudrik Khaddouj, le président du Centre de Jeunes Dirigeants Marrakech M.Redouane Amine , la coordinatrice de Career Center Marrakech Mme.Marie, l’ambassadrice de l’association Ta3mal Maroc Mme . Doha Magguilej et le représentant local de la confédération marocaine des TPE-PME.       

L’idée principale débattue est de savoir comment accompagner les jeunes entrepreneurs après la création de l’entreprise durant toutes les phases de cycle de vie  et d’assurer leur pérennité,  aider les jeunes porteurs de projets à acquérir les soft skills nécessaires et de proposer les types de financement dont peuvent bénéficier les jeunes entrepreneurs. 

Le débat de la matinée a été clôturé par les témoignages de jeunes entrepreneurs : Mme.Laich Sarah, fondatrice de SL Business (lauréate HEEC) et de M.Bourqaiba Mouhsine, co-fondateur de M3KOD.

Moroccan ( and HAF) Reflections at the End of the Year

 

Morocco is a place of infinite possibility.  That is so because of Morocco, its multicultural people, and its identity.  People’s participation in their development can occur in all its places, because it is encouraged - even obligatory - by multiple laws and programs of the land.

 

The High Atlas Foundation (HAF) creates project and partnership models that make national impact absolutely real.  We create the public, private, and multi-tiered relationships and project examples that engine national transformation.  Incredibly, Morocco’s full success of its participatory, decentralized development vision carries profound meaning for itself, the Continent, and the Middle East.  We are dedicated to Morocco fulfilling its global potential from its own national sustainable development.

 

HAF empowers women through their self-discovery, community-driven livelihoods, and knowledge of human rights.  HAF builds the power of youth through sharpening their abilities to create sustainable community and personal growth.  HAF brightens schools with new classrooms, gardens, and interactive environmental education.  HAF brings clean drinking water to marginalized communities.  HAF vastly expands the organic agricultural economy, and helps direct the new revenue to advance the people’s development. 

 

HAF’s partnerships with cooperatives and associations, government, and religious communities is seeing millions of fruit trees being grown and hundreds of millions more possible.  The planting season is now and we plant trees such as walnut, carob, and others that live for centuries.  We also monitor tree growth for carbon credit offsets.  We would be honored and grateful to provide you these credits.

 

Giving to HAF is giving to personal and national transformation, and to the international consequences of Morocco a truly fulfilled participatory nation.

 

It is a New Year celebrated by much of our planet.  Here is to all our resolutions of the heart.  Here is to Morocco and to all who strive for its complete potential.

 

Yours faithfully,

 

Yossef Ben-Meir

President

High Atlas Foundation

 

 

    

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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

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Fax+212 (0)5 24 43 00 02 

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

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