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March 20, 2015

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March 20, 2015

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.
March 4, 2015

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March 4, 2015

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!."

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

create other branches to decenteralize the development work

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How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

Life-changing

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

February 7, 2015
2 people found this review helpful

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February 7, 2015
2 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.
January 29, 2015
1 person found this review helpful

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January 29, 2015
1 person 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.
January 27, 2015
2 people found this review helpful

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January 27, 2015
2 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.
January 20, 2015
4 people found this review helpful

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January 20, 2015
4 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.
January 18, 2015
4 people found this review helpful

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January 18, 2015
4 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.
January 14, 2015
3 people found this review helpful

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January 14, 2015
3 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.

January 12, 2015
4 people found this review helpful

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January 12, 2015
4 people found this review helpful

I volunteered with the High Atlas Foundation and offered my services to rebrand the organisation where I saw a huge potential in the activities that it undertake​s​ in Morocco. I worked closely with the management team who are great people full of compassion, dedicated and committed to their mission which consists ​i​n creating a better future for the rural communities in Morocco, through programs such as training, women activities, youth, organic agriculture and clean drinking water.
My experience working with the team was very positive and I would recommend anyone to volunteer with the High Atlas Foundation.
The HAF team and its​ ​P​resident care about developing a self sustaining future for morocco and I believe it’s already showing it​s​ fruits.
January 12, 2015
5 people found this review helpful

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January 12, 2015
5 people found this review helpful

The High Atlas Foundation’s (HAF) reliance on the participatory approach has made me more familiar with this method. Particularly, I found that the approach is the same as the goals of my work and through HAF, I gained a lot of experience with this method. I was taught to give more than just purely social development. In fact, I learned to be selfless and patient, in order to help others.
The High Atlas Foundation gave me an opportunity to draw closer and feel for others. It also increased the publicity and legitimacy of my work. It gave me an incredible opportunity to help and reach others. HAF introduced me to the geography of the region. By communicating with different groups throughout the region, HAF taught me important ways to communicate and listen to others. In this sense it gave these individuals an opportunity to speak without interruption or indifference to their words.
Through my work with HAF I learned of teamwork, based on the actions of the individuals at the Foundation. Beginning with Dr. Yossef Ben-Meir, I consider him to be a role model in teamwork and in what God has given him in terms of humanitarianism and self-sacrifice. He helps others and gives opportunities to all who want to give goodwill. He is credited with the excellent conduct of the Foundation and its widespread reach. There is also Dr.Abderahim Ouarghidi, from whom I learned the harmony of teamwork. I will not forget my sister Fatima Zahra, who deals with all of the most pressing issues at HAF. MouhssineTadlaoui-Cherki demonstrates teamwork in the projects he manages. There is Jacqueline Seeley, with whom I’ve had wonderful conversations. Finally, I cannot exclude Larbi Didouqen and the strength of his work. Each of these representatives of HAF, in different languages, dialects, and religions, all share the same goal: working hard to further human and social development.
Whenever I speak about the virtue of the High Atlas Foundation, I will not forget the right it has given by allowing me to speak on behalf of it in order to help others. To the President of the High Atlas Foundation, Yossef Ben-Meir, I have nothing but thanks and respect for all of his hard work. Thank you to all of the other individuals at HAF for all of their good will. May God bring you success.
اعتماد مؤسسة الاطلس الكبير على المقاربة التشاركية ، جعلني اكثر تقربا منها سيما وانها ذات اهداف تنموية اجتماعية محضة ... فعملي بمؤسسة الاطلس اضاف لي الكثير حيث تعلمت ان اعطي اكثر مما اخذ ، تعلمت نكران الذات ، بل تعلمت الصبر والصبر من اجل مساعدة الاخرين ...
مؤسسة الاطلس الكبير اعطتني فرصة التقرب اكثر والاحساس بالاخر ، زادتني شعبية وقننت عملي الجمعوي ، اعطتني فرصة كبيرة في مساعدة الاخر والتقرب منه ، كونتني وزادتني طاقة ، بل اؤكد انها عرفتني بجغرافية المنطقة انطلاقا من التواصل مع ساكنة الجماعات ، مؤسسة الاطلس علمتني طرق مهمة في التواصل وحسن الاصغاء للاخر ، والاحساس به بل واعطائه فرصة الكلام دون مقاطعته ...
انطلاقا من عملي بمؤسسة الاطلس تعلمت العمل الجماعي ذلك انطلاقا من كيفية التعامل بين الاطر المسيرة للمؤسسة بدءا من الدكتور السيد يوسف بن مير هذا الاستاذ الذي اعتبره قدوة في العمل الجماعي لما حباه الله به من انسانية ونكران للذات ، بل مساعدته واعطائه فرص لكل من اراد العمل شريطة النوايا الحسنة ، له الفضل في حسن تسيير المؤسسة وتوسع رقعتها ، وهناك الدكتور عبدالرحيم الذي تعلمت منه الانسجام في العمل الجماعي ولن انس الاخت فاطمة الزهراء التي كان لها الفضل في حسن التعامل مع مشاكل مهما كانت....والسيد محسن واللباقة في الحديث ولن استثن جاكلين وحديثها وتواصلها الرائع دون اهمال السيد العربي وتكتيكه في العمل ...وكل الطاقم الممثل للمؤسسة في كل العمالات فلكل واحد بصمته ومهما اختلفت اللغات ، واللهجات ، والاديان فالهدف المشترك بيننا هو العمل الجاد والانسانية و التنمية الاجتماعية ..
مهما تكلمت عن فضل المؤسسة فلن اوافيها حقها فقد اعطتني فرصة في ان اكون الناطقة باسمها وباسم من لجا اليها من اجل المساعدة ، لن اقول لمؤسسة الاطلس في شخص مسيريها برئاسة الدكتور يوسف بن مير سوى شكرا واقف احتراما لكل من عمل عملا واتقنه ، وكل ذوي النوايا الحسنة فشكرا جزيلا و الله ولي التوفيق ..
Hana Boujdour Project Manager
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