High Atlas Foundation
Rating: 4.2 stars 15 15 reviews 501
Environment, International, Economic Development, Microfinance
332 Bleecker Street #K110 New York NY 10014 USA
Developing a self-sustaining future for Morocco
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Reviews for High Atlas Foundation
I worked with the High Atlas Foundation for three months as a remote intern based in the United States. My main responsibilities were updating the HAF Blog and editing the website.
I am so happy I decided to take on this volunteer position with HAF. Everyone I worked with was welcoming, helpful, and dedicated to sustainable development. As a remote intern, communication was key, and the staff in Marrakesh was very responsive and helpful whenever I had questions or concerns about my work. The HAF staff and volunteers come from all different countries and disciplines, which makes for a dynamic working environment and aligns well with the organization's mission.
My favorite part about working with HAF was seeing the projects unfold. HAF is doing real, meaningful work in Morocco, and I felt like I could see the positive effects on communities even remotely from the US. Not only are HAF's projects meaningful, their discourse is as well. The blog this summer featured papers and discussions by HAF staff and volunteers, all with the goal of expanding sustainable development and developing an understanding of culture, community, and acceptance. Though I was remote and didn't see the work on the ground, I would not hesitate to recommend HAF for those interested in NGOs and participatory development. My internship was a great learning experience, and thanks to all at HAF for making my time so rewarding.
2 people found this review helpful
As an Intern at the High Atlas Foundation, the months May and June has been very enriching for me. I have participated in various projects, and my main focus has been on working with High Atlas Agriculture and Artisanal (HA3) and the Walnut Factory in the commune of Asni in the High Atlas Mountains.
Together with my colleagues I have created a brochure that was used as an information sheet at the Walnut festival in Asni, 12th June till 14th June. I selected the pictures for the front page and wrote the text that would be used in the brochure. After that I completed the brochure together with HAF Director of Development, Jacqueline Seeley, HAF Intern Miranda LaBrash and the Riad Saba Guest House manager, Brahim. This cooperation is the first step in a new approach planned by the HA3 – Tourism for Development.
It was an especially valuable working experience to cooperate with Ignacio Ruiz, General Manager of the HA3, with various tasks relating to preparing the Walnut Festival. Together with Ignacio I created a film that was shown to the governor of the Tensift-Al Haouz region during the Walnut festival. I also assisted Ignacio in various minor tasks, such as printing the labels for the oil bottles.
I have conducted various social media activities such as writing a Swedish blog post that will be posted on the High Atlas Foundation’s blog in order to spread awareness about the organization in Sweden. I interviewed on film the factory manager Hassan Inflass, filmed by Interns Miranda LaBrash and Hannah Rickard, which will be used for social media purposes.
Currently I am working on a promotion campaign that will be launched in Sweden for the sale of walnut oil and the planning for the new approach launched by the HA3 – Tourism for Development.
As an Intern at the High Atlas Foundation, I am able to apply my previous practical experience of working for sustainable development in Tanzania, and my previous theoretical knowledge from my masters in Development Studies that I did in the Netherlands. In addition, I am learning several new aspects of developmental work in practice, specific to the context of Morocco.
Besides this I have also been given the opportunity to work with development workers from various parts of the globe. The team spirit at HAF is fantastic, and I am learning more and more by the day.
Thank you everybody at the HAF team.
2 people found this review helpful
I have done a 3-week internship at the High Atlas Foundation in Marrakech. Part of my responsibilities has been the creation of a newspaper list, taking pictures, and writing reports about the situation of the women in the walnut factory in Asni. As well, I accompanied different staff members to community projects. I enjoyed the internship a lot. Unfortunately, the time has passed quickly and I would have liked to stay for a longer period here. I would recommend HAF to anybody searching for an internship. It was a pleasant working atmosphere. All of the staff members are very nice, interested, motivated and hard-working. As an intern, I have been well included in the work of the NGO, in discussions and other activities; therby I got a good impression of what it means to work with a participatory approach. The most interesting and unique experience for me has been to work with the women in the walnut factory and to spend the night in Tamgunsi, a village close to Asni together with a woman of the factory and her family. It is great that there is the possibility to intern with the High Atlas Foundation. Thank you very much for it and I wish you all the best for your future work here.
Salam, I'm Ouafa Elbargui from Morocco. I worked with HAF for three years. In this long enough time, I always considered HAF as my second school in which I enjoyed the adventure of knowing my country, its people and even knowing myself. HAF was the only door I knocked and answered me without any hesitation after 8 years of joblessness.There, I was offered a great job, the opportunity of well-being, and best understanding.
In this US-Moroccan organization, I was developped professionally day after day. Year after year, we worked together, Americans and Moroccans,as one unique and very united strong team to realize many dreams and implement many development projects for the sake of rural isolated Moroccan villages;helping people in need not only in the High Atlas area but also in different various geographical areas of Morocco.
During those three years of working, I always felt very respected and well treated as a Moroccan employee. Though I no longer work with HAF, I still have cherished the good beautiful memories with the wonderful team. I feel proud of working once with HAF. I feel so proud of lending a hand once to people who need help.
Special thanks to HAF leaders specifically to Mr. Yossef Ben Meir, and to the hardworking team to whom I would say : " Just keep up the hard work you are doing great!."
If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...
create other branches to decenteralize the development work
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3 people found this review helpful
I found the High Atlas Foundation via another NGO who highly recommended the work, ethical convictions and approach of the Foundation. They initialized the contact and I got in touch with Yossef and one programm manager at that time. I am coming from a technical as well as geographical background (in short: GIS).
In a preliminary VoIP call we managed to form a connection and develop some perspectives which could be beneficial to both parties. As soon as I finished my studies, I grabbed a flight to Marrakech. The people from HAF recommended me a place to stay, offered the office as a place to crash and made sure I felt connected with the quite new and overwhelming life in Morocco.
During my time in Marrakech and Essaouira in early 2014 I learned a lot about Morocco itself, the daily routines and workflows at an international NGO and the struggle involved to better the lifes of people in a country like Morocco. My duties were composed of (no surprise): making maps, crunching numbers and doing research. As I had to cut my stay short (2 instead of 6 months), I was merely settling in and left with the impression of being a sort of letdown since the time was too short to have a meaningful impact. But nevertheless, I felt very appreciated and was taking seriously on a professional level while having enough space to sort things out for myself.
The people at HAF are hardworking, passionate and full of idealism to build a better future for a country on the brink of Europe, having an anticipation of freedom, wealth and cultural exchange. HAF will play a vital part in making this anticipation a reality.
The last little paragraph also explains why I rate only 4 stars despite I can fully recommend HAF for volunteers. The drive and passion of the people working there can be overwhelming for someone like me. If you have a high sense of duty and feel bad leaving when others are poring over loads of work, you may want to agree on working hours/days before your actually start. I do not regret one hour at HAF's office but should have - on the other hand - spent some more time outside learning about the new culture. So, just be careful to not get in overdrive when you are merely adopting to Moroccan life.
That being said, I, again, can fully recommend HAF. And the best part of the story: the volunteering abroad at HAF helped me to score a job contract. In the end, I can only hope to visit Morocco and HAF sometime again - be it as a professional, volunteer or traveller.
I wish all the best for HAF and its great people.
2 people found this review helpful
As a former staff member in High Atlas Foundation i have a very positive appreciation of this non profit organization because i observed during my service, genuine and concrete efforts at all levels towards the achievement of a sustainable development to the benefit of the moroccan communities especially disadvantaged populations. The approach applied at the foundation is participatory, inclusive and respective of all categories of community members, and the commitment of the operational team to the fundamental values of the foundation is remarkable.
Working at High Atlas Foundation can be nothing but a pleasant and enriching experience either for volunteers , interns or staff members because of the mutual respect between all members and management, the delegation of responsibilities, the large space of freedom, the participation of all the team members in the decision making process and the definition of the organization's strategies and processes, and the pleasant ambience of work.
I'm very greatful to this organization that offered me great opportunity for learning and whose role was crucial in the determination of the personal and professional path i have chosen for myself.
3 people found this review helpful
I started volunteering with HAF last June, when I lived in Marrakech and wanted to expand my experience in sustainable development and international organizations. HAF's dedication and true commitment to the participatory method and community development has impressed me countless times. I started volunteering with mostly administrative tasks, and after a few months the Director of Development and President both invited me to expand my experience by assisting with social media and outreach. I am so grateful for the Foundation and its incredible staff, which has afforded me amazing experiences.
5 people found this review helpful
Thus far I've had a very short experience with HAF, but the conditions appear to be excellent for future collaborations. During my visit to the High Atlas, I have witnessed HAF playing a facilitating role in the creation of projects that assist agricultural development in rural communities while also supporting the Moroccan government in its efforts to offset soil erosion and deforestation. The key to their success appears to be a proper understanding and implementation of community based participation where all stakeholders take part in the process contributing with their individual strenghts as well as demands. I am looking forward to take this relationship to the next level.
5 people found this review helpful
I spent 4 months interning with HAF in their Marrakech office. My time with the organization was rewarding on so many levels. Every staff member I interacted with was kind, passionate, and excited to share their knowledge and experience.
As an intern I helped with communication and outreach efforts through their website and email campaigns. I was invited to join discussions about the work and projects HAF was creating which was an incredible experience for me to learn about the participatory sustainable development approach HAF uses. The staff’s desire to include me in these conversation was invaluable learning opportunity and I feel it reflects the transparency and honesty within the organization.
HAF has been working in Morocco for more than a decade and I can see that it is continuing to strengthen the relationships and friendships they made when starting. I saw this when the organization consistently invited community members into the office for discussions and workshops and when I joined a project manager in the field. They focus on learning what communities are in need of to improve living conditions and work with them to make those conditions a reality.
I am grateful for my time with HAF and the relationships I made within the organization. The small staff works incredibly hard to support successful projects around the country. Everyone I met there has a genuine determination to better the organization and thus lives of people in rural communities in Morocco.
4 people found this review helpful
Founded in 2000 by former Peace Corps volunteers, High Atlas Foundation severs the Moroccan communities through promoting sustainable development. During my time with HAF as a project manager in High Atlas region, I gained a wonderful experience that I will always treasure. My experience with HAF raises my aspiration as a Moroccan young woman who always believes that I can be very significant for my beloved country. HAF’s engagement and commitment with the Moroccan rural and marginalized communities especially, encourages and boosts people to be included in the process of their communities’ development and to empower them and build their skills to be the decision makers. Working with women, youth and men have changed my perspective about community development because adopting the participatory development approach teaches the community people how to change on their own their challenges and turn them into opportunities. During the community meetings, the community people are given the chance to identify and prioritize their needs through drawing the maps of their communities.
It is an amazing thing when people can see their houses and farms, rivers and schools …etc. And build up a discussion upon and exchange their ideas through the participatory methods on how they can plan to bring those needs into an actual work plan. HAF always believes that the priorities identified by the community people have to be resulted into community projects. In collaboration and cooperation with the community people, HAF works to overcome the challenges in implementing the people’s needs. I recognize that HAF never stops to think about collective solutions.
For those who are interested to join HAF, I encourage you to go for it. I worked with an amazing team that I really enjoyed working with. Very friendly, encouraging and supportive staffs that will motivate you to perform, develop you managerial skills, serve the Moroccan communities and learn about the Moroccan wonderful and diverse culture.
I am very delightful to work with HAF that creates a great environment for starting up innovations like High Atlas Agriculture and Artisanal (HA3). My work experience with HAF boosts me to bring new solutions, to be very active, determined, modest woman leader not only that but it teaches me how to be a good human being to support and serve my community.