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High Atlas Foundation

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Economic Development, Environment, International, International Agricultural Development, International Economic Development, Microfinance

Mission: Developing a self-sustaining future for Morocco

Programs: Establish and development projects in different parts of Morocco that local communities design and manage, and that are in partnership with government and non-government agencies

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242 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Fight Against Human Trafficking
By Yassine Ismaili Alaoui, Legal Aid Clinician & Masters student of International Business Law

The Legal Clinic of the Faculty of Law in Fes, the National Commission in charge of the coordination of measures aimed at fighting and preventing human trafficking in the Kingdom of Morocco, and the European Council jointly organized a study and training in February 2022.

Human trafficking is a serious crime and a violation of human rights. It violates the human dignity of the victims and inflicts great suffering on them, in particular by using their vulnerable conditions to exploit them.

Trafficking is often associated with debates on migration, but in reality it is not only a transnational phenomenon; it is also a crime with a strong internal dimension.

The exploitation of women, men, and children in several economic sectors, both legal and illegal, makes human trafficking a complex phenomenon that is often difficult to detect; its elements merge with other phenomena and the practices of traffickers evolve and adapt to different contexts flexibly and dynamically. Moreover, the victims of the crime rarely define themselves as such and are in many cases not willing to file a complaint.

Paradoxically, it is often the victims of trafficking who are the focus of the authorities' attention, particularly when they are foreigners in an irregular situation or people exploited in prostitution or in illegal activities.

The February two-day training gave us a solid educational base on the different elements that can lead us to detect the crime of human trafficking.

The different speakers presented to us the institutional and legal framework, specifically the law 27-14 that allows institutions and Moroccan civil society to engage in the fight against trafficking in Morocco in a coherent and collaborative global response effort. In addition, the legislative framework also includes principles of the UN Palermo Protocol to prevent, suppress, and punish trafficking in persons, especially women and children, which defines this crime through the framework of three elements:

● An action: recruitment, transportation, transfer, reception, and accommodation.
● A means or a way: threat, coercion or use of force, abduction, abuse of authority or weakness, fraud or deception.
● A goal: exploitation; this can take on different forms, including pimping or sexual exploitation, forced labor (domestic, agricultural, or industrial), slavery or similar practices, servitude, obligation to commit crimes, organ removal, and trafficking.

The training also focused on the detection of a victim of human trafficking, which was facilitated by Mrs. Aicha Sakmassi, Executive Director of the association Voix des femmes. This section aimed at reinforcing the operational capacities of identification and legal assistance to victims of human trafficking, guided by someone with expertise and knowledge of working in this field.

The last part of the training was a simulation exercise of a human trafficking trial that put us participants on the ground of the practice and enlightened us on the course of the trial proceedings before a judge.

In conclusion, it is essential to address the root causes of human trafficking in the prevention of the phenomenon, those being poverty, exclusion, social inequality, and gender discrimination. It is vital to strengthen strategies to combat the factors that promote and allow for this phenomenon to occur. This is very important because without solving the economic and social problems and without strong prevention, repression and fight will never be enough.


Training workshop with clinicians to identify victims of trafficking and their protection mechanisms.
Photo credit: Abdellah Laaboudi, Legal Aid Assistant, CJFD.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

« Cet article met en lumière la loi n° 27-14 relative à la lutte contre la traite des êtres humains au Maroc. Un simple résumé de cette loi et ses percussions. Cet article n'est pas encore publié. »
La traite des êtres humains au Maroc

Par Ayoub LAHMIL, Clinicien d’aide juridique 2021-2022 et étudiant en deuxième année master droit privé et sciences criminelles



Atelier de formation visant à doter les cliniciens d'un ensemble d'outils et de compétences pratiques dans le contexte du débat et du plaidoyer
Crédit Photo: Safae Bouhlala, Responsable de Programme, CJFD

Avec le trafic de stupéfiants et le trafic d’armes, la traite des êtres humains est l’une des activités les plus lucratives du crime organisé. Ce fléau constitue une violation des droits de l’Homme et une forme de criminalité qui affecte des personnes dans le monde entier et qui porte atteinte à la dignité humaine des victimes et leur inflige un traumatisme psychologique et de lourdes séquelles en exploitant leurs vulnérabilités.

Signataire de nombreuses conventions internationales visant à prévenir et à réprimer la traite des êtres humains, le travail forcé ainsi que le travail des mineurs, le Royaume du Maroc a fait un pas décisif qui marque davantage sa volonté de lutter contre l’ensemble de ces phénomènes en adoptant la loi n° 27-14 du 25 août 2016 « relative à la lutte contre la traite des êtres humains » qui incrimine explicitement la traite des êtres humains aux fins d’exploitation par le travail, infraction désormais passible d’une peine de 5 ans d’emprisonnement allant jusqu’à la réclusion à perpétuité (articles 448-1 et suivants du code pénal marocain).

Cette loi marocaine n° 27.14 souligne également la responsabilité de l'État à identifier et à aider les victimes. Les principales dispositions visant à prévenir la traite et à protéger les droits des femmes et des filles comprennent : préciser les infractions, les peines et les sanctions pénales applicables aux auteurs ; prioriser l'identification des victimes ; fournir aux victimes des services publics de protection, de soins psycho-sociaux, d'assistance médicale et d'aide juridique gratuite ; et créer une commission nationale pour combattre et prévenir la traite des êtres humains.

Dans ce courant, le nombre de victimes de la traite des êtres humains au Maroc a connu une augmentation significative au cours des trois dernières années avec un total de 719 victimes. L’exploitation sexuelle est la forme la plus courante de la traite des êtres humains au Maroc, avec 283 cas. Il convient de mentionner l’affaire la plus récente au Maroc qui a fait la une des médias marocains à savoir le « scandale du sexe contre les bonnes notes dans les universités marocaines » (Faculté de droit Hassan 1er à Settat ; ENCG de Oujda ; EST Casablanca ; l’école du Roi FAHD de traduction à Tanger) qui a révélé un flagrant abus de fonction de la part d'enseignants universitaires du fait de leur implication dans des crimes de traite d’êtres humains.

D'après une copie du procès-verbal de l'affaire, relayée par des médias locaux, les enseignants cités dans ce scandale ayant secoué l'opinion publique marocaine sont impliqués dans des crimes de traite des êtres humains et d'abus de fonction. Ce scandale a cloué les responsables de ces établissements au pilori.

Cette affaire parmi d’autres révèle au grand jour les lacunes et les manquements que connaît le Maroc dans la lutte contre ce phénomène planétaire. Il doit redoubler d’efforts pour renforcer ses capacités institutionnelles en vue d’instaurer un arsenal juridique complet qui permettra d’éradiquer ce fléau.

Review from Guidestar

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Rating: 5

Le présent article tente de cerner le cadre juridique qui régit la traite des êtres humains. Un résumé des conventions internationales et la loi marocaine sur le sujet. Cet article n'est pas encore publié.
Traite des êtres humains : quel cadre juridique

(Atelier de formation avec des cliniciens pour identifier les victimes de la traite et leurs mécanismes de protection
Photo credit: Abdellah Laaboudi, Assistant d’aide juridique, CJFD.)

Hassan Ouabid – Clinicien de la troisième promotion de la Clinique 2021-2022 – Deuxième année en Master de Droit Privé et Sciences Criminelles
« Le crime contre l'humanité est la borne commune à toutes les cultures. La mission des droits de l'homme est aussi de préserver cette humanité à venir, ces générations futures, pour que cette humanité reste promesse. » Mireille Delmas-Marty.
Au sens du principe d’humanité qui signifie qu’une solution doit être trouvée aux souffrances humaines partout dans le monde, la loi tente depuis l’Antiquité de mettre fin à toutes les pratiques qui portent atteinte à ce principe, et on peut dire qu’elle y parvient dans une certaine mesure – notamment des pratiques comme l’esclavage.
Or, depuis des décennies, un crime d’un nouveau genre qui prend une forme modernisée de l’esclavage et qui porte atteinte à la dignité humaine a fait surface : la traite des êtres humains.
Ce fléau consiste en l’exploitation d’individus à des fins lucratives et regroupe plusieurs formes d’exploitation, les plus courantes étant l’exploitation sexuelle, le travail forcée, le trafic d’organes ou encore la mendicité.
Les efforts internationaux pour lutter contre ce type de traite remontent au XIX siècle. Toutefois, ce n’est qu’au cours des deux dernières décennies qu’un cadre juridique et légal complet a été instauré à ce sujet.
L’adoption en 2000 du protocole additionnel à la Convention des nations unies contre la criminalité transnationale organisée visant à prévenir, réprimer et punir la traite des personnes, en particulier des femmes et des enfants, a constitué un véritable tournant en la matière. Cette résolution a fourni la première définition internationalement acceptée de la traite des êtres humains : « Le recrutement, le transport, le transfert, l’hébergement ou l’accueil de personnes, par la menace de recours ou le recours à la force ou à d’autres formes de contrainte, par enlèvement, fraude, tromperie, abus d’autorité ou d’une situation de vulnérabilité, ou par l’offre ou l’acceptation de paiements ou d’avantages pour obtenir le consentement d’une personne ayant autorité sur une autre aux fins d’exploitation ». L’exploitation comprend, au minimum, l’exploitation de la prostitution d’autrui ou d’autres formes d’exploitation sexuelle, le travail ou les services forcés, l’esclavage ou les pratiques analogues à l’esclavage, la servitude ou le prélèvement d’organes.
Au sens du cadre juridique international de la lutte contre la traite des êtres humains, une Convention a été adoptée en 2005 par le Conseil de l’Europe. Cette Convention a établi comme premier principe de base, que la protection et la consolidation des droits des victimes soient garanties sans discrimination.
Au niveau national, le cadre juridique de la lutte contre la traite des êtres humains n’a vu la lumière qu’en 2016 par le Dahir n° 1-16-127 portant promulgation de la loi n° 27-14, ladite loi complète les dispositions du Code pénal, notamment les articles de 448-1 à 448-14 qui établissent les règles d'incrimination et de sanction pour ce crime.
Le législateur marocain énumère aussi dans cette loi les crimes qui relèvent du crime de la traite des êtres humains.
Pour qu’elle soit établie, la traite des êtres humains nécessite la réunion de trois éléments :
1. Un acte (ce qui est fait)
Le fait d'employer une personne, de la transporter, la transférer, l'héberger ou de l'accueillir pour la mettre à sa disposition ou à la disposition d'un tiers.
2. Les moyens (comment cela est fait ?)
Ce crime peut être réalisé par la fraude, les violences, les menaces, l’abus d’autorité ou tout autre moyen de contrainte.
3. Un objectif d’exploitation (pourquoi cela est fait ?)
L’objectif peut être sexuel ou l’exploitation par le travail, la servitude, l’esclavage…
Cependant, il ne devrait pas être nécessaire que l’exploitation soit effective pour qu’une infraction aux dispositions sur la traite des personnes soit retenue. Le Protocole relatif à la traite des personnes stipule clairement qu’il n’est pas nécessaire que l’exploitation soit effective s’il y a manifestation de l’intention d’exploiter la personne. Il suffit que l’accusé ait commis l’un des actes constitutifs, en faisant usage de l’un des moyens énumérés avec l’objectif ou, en d’autres termes, avec l’intention que la personne concernée soit exploitée.
Dans le cadre de la sensibilisation à la lutte contre la traite des êtres humains, un atelier a été organisé conjointement par la Commission Nationale chargée de la coordination des mesures ayant pour but la lutte et la prévention de la traite des êtres humains du Royaume du Maroc, la Clinique Juridique de la Faculté de Droit de Fès et le Conseil de l’Europe.
Atelier sur les techniques de détection d’une victime de la traite des êtres humains
(Crédit Photo : CJD/Fès)

Organisé les 18 et 19 février 2022, cet atelier était destiné aussi bien aux anciens qu’aux nouveaux cliniciens de la Clinique juridique de la faculté de droit de Fès qui ont discuté du cadre juridique national et international régissant la traite des êtres humains, et effectué des exercices pratiques pour identifier les victimes de traite des êtres humains et des simulations d’un procès de traite des êtres humains.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5



By: Salma Derkaoui, HAF Volunteer

“Thousands have lived without love, not one without water.” —W. H. Auden

World Water Day has been an internationally celebrated day on March 22 of every year since 1992. This day is a global occasion to demonstrate the importance of water in our lives and showcase the vital role of this natural element in the survival of humankind.

Globally, it is well known that water covers approximately 70 percent of our planet. However, only three percent of it is considered freshwater. Almost 2.2 billion individuals worldwide do not have access to clean and safe water, according to the United Nations. Also, inadequate access to safe water causes disease in vulnerable communities. By 2025, it is expected that two-thirds of the world’s population may face a water shortage. The worst part is that the most affected groups who experience this problem are women and children who are often tasked with collecting drinkable water some distance from their villages.

Pollution is one of the main reasons our planet Earth suffers from water scarcity, according to the World Wildlife Fund. In addition, the field of agriculture is one of the most draining of the global water supply where it consumes almost 70 percent of the world’s accessible freshwater. On the other hand, population growth remains one of the most obvious reasons for water shortage. Within the last 50 years, the world population has doubled, which has led to a larger need for water. Climate change is the most affecting element in this phenomenon and will be as long as humans continue pumping carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

Nowadays, the effects of water shortages are more crucial than we first thought. Rivers, lakes, and aquifers are either drying up or are too polluted to use. As a result, almost half of the world’s wetlands have disappeared, alongside the damage that has been done to the ecosystems of our planet Earth.

In this regard, the High Atlas Foundation works with local communities across Morocco to provide water solutions, including clean water to villages in the high mountains and wherever the need is identified. HAF is grateful to its supporters of all levels who prioritize water projects, just as Moroccan communities continue to do.

Today, HAF celebrates World Water Day, a day which brings people from all over the world together to contribute to the betterment and development of societies. We are honored to have had the opportunity to distribute environmentally friendly water bottles from the Dailybottle Maroc to 180 school-aged children in the Tisfane commune in Taroudant province. As part of the activity, the students learned and discussed more the importance of preserving the environment and managing vital natural resources, particularly local water sources.

World Water Day is an important reminder for us to mobilize for the protection of our natural resources–particularly water.

Ikbale B.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Moroccan Culture and The Radiance of Pluralistic Values
by: Ikbale Bouziane
Moroccan Jewish people’s material and moral conditions and cultural identity are important as a subject of study at this time given the significant role that Moroccan Jewish heritage plays in the tributaries that form the Moroccan identity.

According to today’s successful cultural development options, the Jewish dimension in Morocco’s history and heritage is at the heart of some cities’ territorial strategies in improving their attractiveness, including the city of Tiznit.

In fact, throughout the Kingdom’s history, the Moroccan Jewish people have been able to cultivate a collective identity, culture, and heritage in intimacy with Muslims within the framework of a shared destiny and future.

Morocco’s geographical location, position, political dynamism, and economic attractiveness have made it the home of the convergence of civilizations. Its evolutionary path imprints the features of synergy, coexistence and acculturation between a myriad of religious groups and cultures.

The tolerant spirit that characterized some periods of Morocco’s history, made Moroccan Jews even more involved in the politics and economy of the country. Not only that, they also had a distinguished presence in public life. They promoted notable cultural and intellectual Moroccan traditions, making the Kingdom a model to follow by nation-states in the region. Thanks to this harmony, the Moroccan Jewish model is cherished in the system of Jewish thought in general. And, this denies the claim of the absence of the Jewish groups from Morocco’s world of thought.

Efforts to dust off this multi-disciplined Jewish contribution have been relatively modest considering the richness of material available in collective memories and popular culture. The sustainability of Moroccan Jewish people’s experiences and skills in business, crafts, and trade is being valued and studied, causing a revival of culturally significant crafts and sites.

Based on the foregoing, a group of local researchers and experts conducted a scientific symposium in Tiznit due to its history as a stronghold of lively Jewish community since the end of the 19th century, investigating the topic as follows:

Highlighting selections from the history of the Jewish people in Souss by presenting cases and models of jurisprudential calamities between Jewish people and Muslims in order to study and document the historical structure that created the conditions for the involvement of Moroccan Jewish people in the world of thought and culture.
Looking at aspects of the social history of Jewish people in Oued Noun—Guelmim and Yefren—to demonstrate manifestations of cultural continuity and renewal as seen through similarities in traditional women’s outfits, jewelry making, and cultural celebrations (i.e., weddings, circumcisions) between Jewish people and Muslims
Examining the manifestations and idiosyncrasies of Moroccan Jewish cultural heritage and its approximation to current generations through local Jewish literacy (A Boy from Ifrane by Judeo-Moroccan novelist Asher Knafou and excerpts from a paper on Jewish funeral rites).
Reuniting researchers in the field of Moroccan Jewish studies, and putting together updated documents on the developments related to this field of specialization by making recommendations and sharing upcoming publication titles.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

EAST AFRICA WORKSHOP ON STAKEHOLDER ENGAGEMENT


By Aya Ladgham
HAF Volunteer

On the 25fth of February 2022, there was a meeting about how to build a platform for Research and Innovation Partnership on Food and Nutrition Security and Sustainable Agriculture.

Dr. Loannis Dimitriou started by talking about the challenges for this collaboration, such as no one knowing who is doing what or when, the fact that there are limited tools, that best practices are not shared,or not systematically managed, and that there are not a lot of resources.

She also talked about the objectives of this work like how to improve quality, how to map the project, and how to make new instruments for data analysis.

“We should make countries work together and promote more maintenance. Joining forces is important for the future. Finding the right information is very difficult. We hope in the future we will have advanced tools.”

The LEAP4FNSSA project was mandated to establish a sustainable structure or platform for the efficient and coherent implementation of the EU-AU research and innovation partnership as described in the FNSSA roadmap

Dr. Irene went on about the criteria of the platform, that it should be bi-continental, uniting Africa and Europe for the benefit of both continents, and dealing with common priorities. It also should be operational and open to all institutions, public and private.

Dr. Irene also talked about the international research consortium (IRC): a group of committed institutions that agree to work for the mid- to long-term toward a commonly defined goal. So who can join the IRC? Every institution that is willing to contribute to the FNSSA,

What are the benefits of joining the IRC? Becoming a member of the IRC may help to increase the impact of your initiative, optimize the utilization of your work and results, and gain greater recognition and visibility for your contribution to the success of the EU-AU platform supported by the highest authorities.

Lastly, eight months from now, in September 2022, there’s going to be the final write-shop and the launch of the AU-EU platform IRC.




Volunteer

Rating: 5

Une approche participative au village Achbarou:

Souad El Khadiri,
Field Coordinator

En vue de collecter les données relatives à l’approche participative dans le village Achbarou qui fait partie de la commune rurale Tameslouht, province Al Haouz, une réunion communautaire a été réalisée le 04 Février 2022, avec les femmes de coopérative “Zrbiat Achbarou”, par l’équipe de la Fondation du Haut Atlas, dans le cadre du programme d'alphabétisation familiale à Marrakech-Safi, financé par l'Union européenne.
Notre premier objectif de cette mission est d’expliquer aux participantes le but et les grands axes de ce projet qui concerne essentiellement de l’alphabétisation et les aider à renforcer leur capacité à gérer la coopérative d'artisanat.
Nous avons travaillé avec deux groupes, le premier ce sont les femmes qui font partie de la coopérative “Zrbiat Achbarou”, le deuxième ce sont les nouvelles femmes qui ne savent pas exactement ce qu'elles veulent faire. Pour la première, nous avons travaillé sur les priorités et les besoins de la coopérative et comment l'aider à devenir une source de revenus pour ces femmes avec l'aide de l’analyse de SWOT et le diagnostic participatif.
Après nous avons travaillé avec les femmes restantes d'une autre manière, notre objectif principal était de guider ces participantes pour qu'elles trouvent ce qu'elles veulent faire dans la nouvelle coopérative qu'elles vont créer, de quel type elle s'agit et si leur choix est approprié à leur situation et conditions.
Notre mission est terminée à Achbarou, et nous espérons avoir réussi à mettre en œuvre au mieux cette approche participative.

Review from Guidestar

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Rating: 5

Atelier IMAGINE au Douar Al Makhzan
Majda Stitou, Assistante de programme de Union Européenne dans la région de Marrakech-Safi

L’atelier d’autonomisation IMAGINE effectué par la Fondation du Haut Atlas dans le cadre du projet ”Alphabétisation Familiale à Marrakech-Safi” financé par Union Européenne, a fait participer des femmes et de jeunes filles à une formation de 4 jours sur la découverte de soi, en renforçant leur capacité à surmonter les obstacles internes et externes et à réussir leur vie personnelle. L’atelier a été réalisé à douar Al Makhzan, qui fait partie de la commune Ijoukak, province Al Haouz, avec les femmes de la coopérative Douar Al Makhzan pour la valorisation des produits locaux.

Au moment de l’animation de cet atelier, les femmes participantes ont été motivées, enthousiasmées et souhaitent en savoir plus. En effet, Il y avait une véritable participation lors de l’atelier, nous étions proches d’elles, un point qui a facilité la communication. Le premier jour de l’atelier, c’était le jour de connaissance, de présentation du programme et la présentation des principaux axes de l’atelier. Les femmes ont été ouvertes pour recevoir, curieuses de savoir et de s’instruire encore plus.
“ les femmes sont très intéressés par l’alphabétisation’’ K.A
Lors de la deuxième journée de l’atelier, les femmes ont pu identifier les sources de force personnelle, dont les plus importantes sont la discipline et l’engagement. Elles ont pu aussi raconter, s’exprimer ouvertement de leurs sentiments tels que le bonheur et l’amour. Selon elles, l’amour est très intéressant, elles ont mentionné que « le vrais amour c’est l’amour des parents, l’amour de soi et l’amour de Dieu ». Un exercice de libération des restrictions a été effectué par les femmes pour dégager les sentiments négatifs qui bloquent leurs développements et cela grâce à la communication et l’expression.
“La coopérative doit être considérée comme une école” A.H
Le troisième jour, nous avons remarqué un changement de comportement des femmes en matière d’engagement et de discipline et aussi un changement de psychique et de mentalité. Les femmes ont été satisfaites de ce qu’elles ont appris et motivées pour acquérir des nouvelles connaissances et compétences. Cette troisième journée a été commencée par un Feed-back sur les points forts traités. Puis les femmes ont commencé à lister les points essentiels pour le renforcement de leurs personnalités. D’après ce qu’elles ont acquis durant les deux jours précédents, une participante a pu confronter son mari, alors que une autre a ressenti un grand confort psychique après le retour à la maison. Ce jour-là, les femmes avaient une énergie positive exceptionnelle qui leur donnait de l’optimisme, l’amour, le courage et une pousse vers l’avant pour réaliser leurs rêves.
‘’ je suis capable de confronter et capable de me défendre” Fatima.
Le dernier jour de l’atelier, le thème des relations a été abordé, les femmes avaient souligné que les relations sont basées sur la compréhension, la patience, le dialogue, le respect et la confiance. Elles ont aussi effectué un exercice d’amour de soi, elles ont discuté le sujet des relations conjugales, définissant les concepts de base et corrigeant les croyances erronées liées à ce sujet. Durant cette discussion, toutes les femmes ont convenu que le mariage est une institution sacrée et un projet lié à la religion, basé sur le respect et la communication et renforcé par l’amour éternel. Elles ont discuté aussi le sujet de religion, qui a un impact important sur leur vie, leurs l’attachement et leurs discipline en tant que pilier de base et source de confort et de force.

On a passé des moments inoubliables avec elles, des moments chaleureux pleins de joie et de bonheur et on a créé avec elles une relation solide.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Imagine Workshop in Tinfidin village

Bouchra Zine,
HAF Program Coordinator
« If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart. » Nelson Mandela
In regard to Nelson Mandela’s sentiment, the EU Family Literacy team in Beni Mellal-Khenifra didn't hesitate to ask Lalla Rachida to conduct an IMAGINE workshop in Tinfidin village, Azilal province, for a group of local women whose mother tongue is Tamazight.
The bad weather, the difficult road, and the harsh conditions made the EU team afraid that women would not attend. But, despite all the obstacles, 15 women benefited from the workshop's activities. They showed their higher motivation to change their situations. They are sure that the “journey of one hundred miles starts with a step,” and their journey starts with literacy classes.
IMAGINE in Tinfidin was full of tears and joy. Women found the activities funny and motivating. In particular, the meditation and the painting phases were well received because they had never seen or heard about that. But, when it came to expressing problems and fears, some women answered with tears.
People in Tinfidin village are really suffering. There is a huge lack of access to clean drinking water; it is more than 20 kilometers from the village by donkey for the women to retrieve it, and it is eventually going to end, too. For the water they use in their daily housework, they get it once every three or four months. Because of that problem, no one in the village has a toilet or a bathroom. Women were clearly begging the team for help.
The women of Tinfidin village were so happy because of our visit because no one had come before and asked them about their problems or tried to help them to change their situation. That's why they attended all the workshop's sessions, and they are ready to start the literacy classes.

This publication was produced with the financial support of the European Union. Its contents are the sole responsibility of the High Atlas Foundation and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.



Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Among friends in Tameslouht

By Hiba Oulaasri
HAF Volunteer

It was a pleasure meeting new people from different cultures and religions during Friday's event.

Firstly, I did not have an idea what I would learn until I discovered that the event's larger purpose was to encourage cooperation between two countries, Morocco and Israel, and two religious peoples, Jewish and Muslims. I was very appreciative of this goal.

Our trip started traveling from the High Atlas office in Marrakech to Tameslouht. We arrived there and then started by meeting with a mixed group of Moroccans and Israelis.


As usual, we did our introductory presentation, "names, ages, what we all do for a living...", and then we conducted a workshop where each group would write about their idea of the other's religion, both before and after.

For my group's idea, we decided to draw a tree expressing the purity of a human being when they are born and then we wrote words that explains what social media and illiterate people said when we were younger. We then drew a leaf inside the tree and wrote words that describe our relationship now and expressed our feelings.

During this workshop, we discussed and clarified many of the wrong ideas and stereotypes about Jewish and Muslim people, which made us feel that we are more than friends but mostly like sisters and brothers and that at the end, all religion is humanity.

I want to thank Batel, Ronit, Ester, and Youssef for being my team partners and helpers, and a big thanks to the High Atlas Foundation, especially Dr. Yossef Ben-Meir, for these unforgettable efforts to cooperate with our friends".

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

How to Achieve the 2030 SDG Agenda through Effective Partnership and Collaboration

Hanna Tuoriniemi, HAF Volunteer and University of Michigan Student

On February 2, I attended the 2022 ECOSOC Partnership Forum on behalf of the High Atlas Foundation, along with HAF President Yossef Ben-Meir. The theme was “Building Back Better from the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) While Advancing the Full Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” and it covered a variety of strategies for achieving this goal. These strategies include an emphasis on collaboration through partnerships, an increase in multilateralism, a better understanding of the importance of multi-stakeholders, and a priority in ensuring that everyone’s voice can be heard.

The COVID-19 pandemic has made the aggressive goals in the 2030 Agenda even more difficult to achieve. However, the common theme throughout the forum was that if there is effective collaboration between all stakeholders, whether it be through the United Nations, businesses, non-profit foundations, or academia, sustainable change is possible. It is important to understand that every stakeholder is part of the journey to reach the goals of the 2030 Agenda.

One goal that the ECOSOC Partnership Forum highlighted is the importance of bridging the digitalization gap. During the event “Bridging the Gap: Addressing the Vacuum in Multilateral Governance of Digital Technology to Close the Digital Divide and Support Efforts to Leave No One Behind,” experts discussed what is causing the digitalization gap and potential solutions for it. The issue with digitalization is that the technological wave hits developing countries in bits. Because this industry develops so rapidly, it is hard for developing countries to catch up. This part of the forum highlighted potential solutions for this divide. The experts suggested that the world should strive to make technological changes more inclusive and increase the responsiveness of multilateralism in the technological sphere. Multilateralism has the potential to increase digital equality and ensure that everyone has proper access to the digital world.

More ideas were discussed during a second event, “Building Back Better from the Bottom Up: Collaboration with Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises for SDG Implementation.” Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) were hit hard by the pandemic, specifically those that are women-operated. In order to help SMEs increase their resilience, the government must be supportive. There must be a place for SMEs to be able to voice their struggles and have solutions readily available for them. One way in which governments can help SMEs is to lower the taxes imposed on them and to offer developmental services.

“Partnerships, UN Reform and a New Multilateralism to Build Forward Better” discussed the importance of creating new solutions for increasing sustainable development. In order for these solutions to work, every entity must be involved and engaged. It is also important that everybody has a seat at the table in order to offer a diverse set of ideas and support better informed decision-making. This way, many solutions can be formulated from multiple perspectives.

During the event “Financing for the SDGs in the Era of COVID-19,” experts discussed the importance of developing a framework to meet the 2030 Agenda after COVID-19 proved to be a major setback. This is especially the case in smaller countries where there is greater dependence on imports. The speakers noted that in order to overcome this obstacle, debt relief will be a critical factor and structural reforms must also be made.

The High Atlas Foundation has been and will continue to be a driving force that will help the United Nations achieve the SDGs for the 2030 Agenda, as they are increasing sustainable development in the non-profit sector. For each tree that the foundation plants, they will help create a cleaner environment, craft more opportunities for women in Morocco, develop stronger inter-religious partnerships, and establish a bright future for the youth. The High Atlas Foundation will help to ensure that COVID-19 does not stop sustainable development.

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Hamid H.

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حميد حنتوم، متدرب بمؤسسة الأطلس الكبير
حاصل على شهادة الإجازة في القانون الخاص
نساء طموحات ومستقبل مشرق
صباح السادس عشر من شهر فبراير انطلقت رفقة أعضاء مؤسسة الأطلس الكبير: السيدة حورية شوهب (منسقة ميدانية) والسيد حسن آيت واتوش (مسؤول لوجيستيكي) وسط دروب جبال الأطلس الكبير قصد القيام بزيارة ميدانية لمنطقة اجوكاك،
تلخصت الجولة في زيارة لمجموعة نسائية بدوار البور، والتي تتكون من 15 امرأة من نساء الدوار، اللاتي يعبرن عن الجد و التفاؤل، وهو ما تأكد لي بالفعل عندما فتحت السيدة سليمة متطوعة ب (Corps Africa) باب الحديث برغبتها الشديدة ونيابة عنهن في إنشاء تعاونية فلاحية تلم شملهن وتضمن لهن دخلا متواضعا، لتعطي الكلمة بعد ذلك للسيدة حورية حيث قامت بتعريف مؤسسة الأطلس الكبير وأهدافها وبرامجها، بعدها بادرت بطرح مجموعة من الأسئلة على الحاضرات لمعرفة احتياجاتهن، إذ تأكد لنا مباشرة أن جل ما يتحدثن عنه هو إيجاد يد عون تسهل عليهن انشاء تعاونية نسائية لإنتاج وتسويق الكسكس وصنع الحلويات المغربية.
بعد قطع أشواط من المناقشة بيننا وبين الحاضرات استنتجنا في الأخير أنه لابد من إنشاء مقاربة تشاركية ودورة من دورات التمكين الذاتي للمرأة حتى تتمكن كل واحدة منهن من التعبير عن رأيها والانخراط في النقاش من أجل اتخاذ قرار يرضي كافة أفراد المجموعة.
في الأخير، لا بد أن أتقدم بالشكر لمؤسسة الأطلس الكبير التي منحتني فرصة زيارة هذه المنطقة الرائعة والتعرف على أولئك النساء اللاتي يستحقن كل التقدير والاحترام على معاملتهن وتفاؤلهن بغد جميل متمنيا بدوري أن أزورهن في قادم الأيام بعد أن يكن قد حققن ما اجتمعن عليه.

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مراكش في 2/3/2020
حميد حنتوم
مستفيد من الورشة التكوينية التي قامت بها مؤسسة الاطلس الكبير تحت عنوان "التمكين النفسي"
___________________________________

نعلم جميعا أن الانسان غالبا ما تنخفظ معنوياته فيساوره شعور بالقلق والحزن فيحس أنه غير مسيطر على مجريات حياته وغير راض عنها، هذه المشاعر هي في الاصل جزء طبيعى من كتلة المشاعر التي تكوِّن الانسان، فعندما تتعاظم هذه المشاعر وتتراكم تحدث مشكلة تسمى مرحلة المرض النفسي.
فأنا بطبعي كانسان غلبا ما أحس بمثل هذا الشعور، ولتداركه
والحد منه الجأ عادة الى قراءة بعض كتب التنمية الذاتية أو مشاهدة مقاطع الفيديو قصد تطوير النفس وتحسين المؤهلات والامكانيات الشخصية العقلية منها والفكرية، والتي في نظري لا تجدي نفعا، بل لا همّ لأصحابها سوى الربح المادي فقط.
فلك أن تتخيل صديقي القارئ مدى سعادتي عندما حضيت بفرصة الحضور الى إحدى الورشات التدريبية التي قامت بها مؤسسة الاطلس الكبير تحت عنون "التمكين النفسي". لم تكن مجرد ورشة تدريبة عادية سواء بالنسبة لي أو لكافة المدعوين، بل كانت لنا بمثابة الدواء الشافي لما نحمله من مشاعر وأحاسيس سلبية تجاه أنفسنا وتجاه الغير، بل واكثر من ذلك فرصة كبيرة لمعرفة دواتنا وانتقالنا من حب الغير الى حب الذات.
نعم لم تكل مجرد ورشة تدريبية عادية، فعندما تترك قيادتها لعظيمي دولة الاردن الشقيقة الدكتور رياض محمد رمضان أبو شرف، والدكتور عبد الكريم الشافعي فستصل الى المبتغى لا محالة، فكلاهما حرصا طيلة أيام الورشة على جعل المتشائم متفائلا متيمِّناً، والمكتئب فرحا مسرورًا، والمنهزم منتصرا فائزًا، والفاشل ناجحا فلحاً، والضعيف قويا رزيناَ، وغيرها من الاحاسيس السلبية التي ترجمت لاحاسيس ايجابية ظهرت اثارها بشكل واضح على وجوه المستفيدسن.
الدكتورين القديرين لم يصفا الدواء فحسب، بل تعدا ذلك ليقدمو لنا ما يشبه الترويض الطبي لانفوسنا وأروحنا بشكل خاص، ولعقولنا واجسامنا بشكل عام، حيث قامو في بادئ الامر بتقريب المشاركين ببعضهم البعض، لتليها التعريف بالورشة وأهدافها ونتائجها تم السفر بنا الى معالم التمكين، والوقوف عند اسواره والدخول من مختلف ابوابه ومعرفة خباباه.
كانت نتيجة الورشة وبشكل جليّ أن كل منا تقرب الى نفسه وتصالح معها، فاصبح واثقا منها مؤتمنا بها، الشيء الذي جعله يشاركنا أفكاره ويقدم لنا أرائه ومداخلاته دون اي خوف وارتعاب، كما أصبح كل منا زميلا للاخر رغم فارق الاعمار والمستوى التعليمي والفكري حيت امتزجت تجارب وخبرة رجل في سن الثمانين بثقافة شاب في عمر العشرين، لتعطي لنا فكرة مفادها أن السن مجرد رقم لا غير، وأن الشباب شباب الروح والقلوب ابدا لا تشيخ، وأن في الحياة متسع لكل شيء، وان الانسان هو من يلون حياتة بطريقة نظره اليها، أحب ذاتك وسمو بها، فلا يمكن أن تحب غيرك مادمت لم تحب نفسك.
هذه خلاصة اليوم الاخير وسط جو يسوده فرح ما كتسبناه ممزوج بطعم ألم الفراق. وكل منا يمرر لهيب شمعة تحملها أنامله قاطعا الوعد على أنه كما أوقد شمعته سيوقد شمعة غيره، وكل ما لقِّن له سيلقنه لمن هو في حاجة إليه.
فشكري الجزيل لمؤسسة الاطلس الكبير في شخص رئيسها السيد يوسف بنمير على هذه المبادة القيمة
وشكرا كذلك صديقي واخي الرشيد منتصر على منحك لي فرصة الحضور.
الشكر موصول أيضا للدكاترة الكرام السيد رياض محمد رمضان، والسيد عبد الكريم الشافعي. قائدي واساتدة التكوين
شكرا لكافة الزملاء المدعوين اللذين لبو النداء وحضرو بشكل متكرر طيلة مدة التدريب.




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by Youssef Mazdou ,

" تعميم دور العيادة القانونية "

" بناء على فلسفة مرحة ، وبعيدا عن كل الالتواءات في التعبير؛ إن ما يحتاج إليه الإنسان في الوقت الراهن هو الخروج من حالة الانغلاق حول الذات إلى إقامة التواصل مع الآخرين". خانتني الذاكرة في استحضار قائل المقولة ، لكن مضمونها راسخ في الذهن أي أن الإنسان بحاجة ماسة في فتح علاقات جديدة بهدف كسب تجارب جديدة لإحياء الذات وخروجها من كنف الإنغلاق.

خطوة تلوى خطوة أخرى ، والإحساس يصور لحظات نابضة بالجمال ؛ حتى أصبحت أمام باب فوقه طبلت أنامل ناعمة ولافتة بيضاء تحمل شعار " المركز الثقافي نجوم المغرب "، انفتح الباب وفاحت منه سحر الثقافة والمعرفة بالكاد لا ينفصلان. وبدأ الإحساس مرهف ومتذوق لما يحوم وسط جدران البناية ؛ حينها أبلج حضور مكثف من كل الفئات ، يبدأ كل واحد منهما بمكاشفة الآخر في إطار ثنائيات تتسق بتواصل حتى النهاية المفتوحة.
كل الزوايا ممتلئة بشعارات " حركة المواطنون لعيش مشترك أفضل - مقهى المواطن Café Citoyen -" ، في برنامج أسبوع المواطن الذي سلط الضوء في إثراء التدريب على تبادل النقاش وتقريب تقنيات التواصل بين مختلف المتناظرين .

لَبَّيْتُ دعوة الحضور بأمر من السيدة أمينة الحجامي مديرة مشروع العيادة القانونية في مؤسسة الأطلس الكبير ونيابة عنها في تعميم دور العيادة القانونية. دُشِّنَ البرنامج من طرف أعضاء حركة المواطنون في أجواء تفاؤلية وخلق نوع من التفاعل من أجل تبادل التجارب وتعميم روح المبادرة ، بعدها أًدْلَ المتناظرين دَلْوَهُم في إحلال تجاربهم وأَبْدَوا أن مثل هذه النقاشات تشكل مجالا هاما للتواصل، وفرصة للإنصات والتحاور، وتقريب وجهات النظر، وإبراز الصعوبات ، وبلورة المقاربات والحلول .

حينها بدت الأشياء مغلفة بوشاح ، وكانت معالم الأنظار تتجه نحوي لتعميم دور العيادة القانونية نيابة عن السيدة أمينة الحجامي مديرة مشروع العيادة القانونية في مؤسسة الأطلس الكبير التي يرأسها السيد يوسف بن مئير وأردَفْتُ القول بأن العيادة القانونية مبادرة تم إطلاقها بشراكة بين مؤسسة الأطلس الكبير، وجامعة القاضي عياض كلية العلوم القانونية والإقتصادية والإجتماعية بمراكش، وجمعية العيادة القانونية للدراسات والأبحاث، وبدعم من الصندوق الوطني للديمقراطية (NED).

وأن هذه الشراكة تزداد قوة وصلابة بكيفية دائمة ومستمرة بها تخدم المصلحة العامة وتستجيب لمصلحة الفئات الضعيفة للمجتمع، و ستكرس من تطوير العيادة القانونية من أجل تلميع الصورة النمطية للجامعة بأنها مركز للعلم والبحث العلمي؛ وانفتاحها على النطاق المجتمعي المدني. وقد وضع الأساس القانوني للعيادة القانونية في تقريب المعلومة القانونية وإعطاء المساعدة القانونية للفئات الضعيفة والهشة من المجتمع. وأنها تهدف إلى تأطير 67 طالب باحث بسلك الماستر والدكتوراه تخصص العلوم القانونية، من أجل تدريبهم على مشكلات حقيقية مع موكليهم الحقيقيين؛ وتقديم الدعم القانوني للفئات الضعيفة والمهمشة داخل المجتمع من خلال المشورة القانونية والمساعدة القانونية وتكريس مبادئ العمل التطوعي. وأن هذه التجربة أتيحت لطلبة الماستر والدكتوراه في جامعة القاضي عياض -كلية العلوم القانونية والاقتصادية والاجتماعية بمراكش-.

وأنا أجول بناظري بين جنبات الحاضرين وبدأ شكلي يسترجع ملامحه المعتادة ؛ وللخطوط استقامتها
أتممت الحديث في أن العيادة القانونية بجامعة القاضي عياض - كلية العلوم القانونية والإقتصادية والإجتماعية بمراكش- أصبحت محور مشروع تنموي؛ حيث تظهر أهميتها في تقريب المعلومة القانونية لفئات من المجتمع في إطار بناء جسور الحوار، وقد تبنتها مؤسسة الأطلس الكبير لثاني مرة بعد تجربة العيادة القانونية بجامعة سيدي محمد بن عبد الله بفاس. وعليه فإن الدينامية المرجوة من العيادة القانونية لن تتحقق إلا بتنمية الوعي الإجتماعي ، وتغيير العديد من المفاهيم والعادات للفئات المجتمعية وبتوفير الوسائل المادية والبشرية للنهوض بالمقتضيات القانونية ؛ والعمل على المقاربة التشاركية بطريقة شمولية أكثر واقعية.

ختاما أوجه شكري للساهرين على هذا البرنامج النير، كما أعتبره فرصة لأشيد بالدور العام الذي ستلعبه العيادة القانونية بجامعة القاضي عياض - كلية العلوم القانونية والإقتصادية والإجتماعية بمراكش- في سبيل الإنخراط في أوراش الإصلاح والتنمية التي يشهدها المجتمع المغربي، لذلك فأصبح من الأكيد أن الجميع ملزما بالمشاركة والتعاطي الإيجابي مع التحديات المستقبلية والمساهمة في التنمية البشرية المستدامة وتعزيز العدالة الإجتماعية.

وهكذا أسدل البرنامج ستاره في أجواء صار فيه الكل يتموج ويتراقص على أنغام التواصل والحوار في نطاق التلاحم الإيجابي.


يوسف مزدو - مساعد مديرة مشروع العيادة القانونية في مؤسسة الأطلس الكبير.

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Volunteer

Rating: 5

First Time Volunteering
By Soufiane Amarirh, HAF volunteer

On Monday, January 17th, I had the honor to come and participate in an exceptional work with the High Atlas Foundation. It was actually my first time doing tree-planting activities and giving students awareness of the benefits of tree planting. We started with a primary school in Marrakech, called al Mokef, an old school with four decades of history. We were very well received by the principal and teachers like students, who were very happy to be part of the program. We planted as many trees as we could and what caught my attention the most was how members of HAF took notes on problems that students and teachers face every day in school. The next stop was a secondary school, a boarding school called al-Mansour al-Dehbi, and we were greeted by its students who are members of the school's environmental club. We started the activities as we did before in the first school, and today's task was 100% successful. This is just one of the thousands of programs that HAF organizes every year across Morocco,
I really enjoyed my volunteering with the High Atlas Foundation, and I can't wait to do it again.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Great experience doing an intern as a Fundraiser and handling social media for the foundation. I learned the skill of writing good fundraising proposals, and became good in blogging as well. I also participated in selling organic oil for the social enterprise High Atlas Agriculture and Artisanal, directly contributing to gathering funds to various development projects. Got several new friends amongst my co-workers and other interns as well. Highly recommendable place to conduct an internship.

Review from Guidestar

Ilham

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Women Who Defy Stereotypes

Safi Ilham, HAF Volunteer

"A woman is a superheroine. Besides raising children, she can help build houses, manage offices and plant trees. She just needs to be trusted," said Souad.

On 17 January 2022, my colleague Bouchra and I went to Errouichia village where one of High Atlas Foundation’s planting day activities took place. The village is 14 kilometers away from Beni Mellal city. It is rich with orange, olive and pomegranate trees.

When we had just arrived there, women were so pleased to welcome us, their smiles showing their higher motivation for the activity. We shared with them some information on how the almond trees should be treated, but we were surprised that they had already been aware of the trees' type, age and watering process.
After planting ten almond trees, we took 15 minutes to discuss the cultural tree planting activity. Women shared some proverbs, stories and Islam's opinion on preserving trees and the priceless value of a tree planting.

At the end of our meeting with the women, and after listening to their opinions, ideas and plans, I understood well the cause behind their excitement. They are such powerful women who want to prove to the world that not only men can plant a tree today and preserve it for their children's future.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

تقریر حول الدورة التكوینیة
فیما یخص إدارة مشاتل الأشجار المثمرة
في إطار برنامج " ایكوزیا " قامت مؤسسة الأطلس الكبیر یوم الاثنین 13دجنبر 2021بدعوة السید عبد الرحمان
فتني مدیر المكتب الوطني للسلامة الغذائیة بمدینة الحاجب، إلى فضاء "مشتل أقریش" بجماعة تمصلوحت، وذلك للقیام
بدورة تكوینیة في إدارة مشاتل الأشجار المثمرة، بحضور فریق من المؤسسة والمتطوعین والمشرفین على مشاتل تسا
ویرغان، إیمكدال، تدممات، الیوسفیة، تارودانت، وكذلك المشرفین على التوزیع والتتبع
ھذا وقد تمیزت ھذه الدورة بتقدیم مجموعة من المعلومات التقنیة لمعرفة دور المراقبة والشواھد المقدمة من طرف
المكتب الوطني للسلامة الغذائیة، سواء من جانب الجودة أو حمایة النباتات والبذور
وكذلك كیفیة مراقبة التقني للفسائل داخل المشاتل والتعرف على أنوع الأمراض والطفیلیات ومسبباتھا وكیفیة الوقایة
منھا، سواء تلك التي تصیب الجزء العلوي أو السفلي للنبات
بھدف إنتاج جیل جدید من الأشجار بمعاییر معتمدة من طرف الدولة وتشجیع الفلاحین على التشجیر والحفاظ على
البیئة.
واختتمت ھذه الدورة التكوینیة بتسلیم شواھد المشاركة
في الأخیر أقدم كل الشكر والتقدیر لكل أعضاء مؤسسة الأطلس الكبیر وعلى رأسھم ذ. یوسف بن میر. على الدعوة
وكذلك على فرصة العمل مع فریق المؤسسة والحضور إلى مثل ھذه التجمعات التي أتمنى أن تستمر مستقبلا.
عبد الالھ بوكماز: متطوع بمؤسسة الأطلس الكبیر

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Visiting the Jewish Past of Morocco

by Noah C. Kohlmayer - HAF Volunteer

On Tuesday, December 7, my two fellow Austrian volunteers and I had the opportunity to join Dr. Yossef Ben-Meir for the last class he taught for the University of Virginia at the Jewish cemetery in the Mellah of Marrakech. Now, what is a Mellah? In Marrakech, the Mellah is the very old part of the Medina in Marrakech’s center and used to be the Jewish quarter. The Jewish cemetery holds the name Miâara, after the street name of the cemetery’s entrance. The Hebrew name of this cemetery is Beit Mo’ed LeKol Chai or בית מועד לכל חי . It was founded in the 15th century, even though it is believed that Jewish people have been buried in this area since as early as the 12th century.

During the visit, I came across quite a few small, white gravestones. Later, I learned that these were children’s graves of the thousands of children that had died during the typhoid fever epidemic. Further into the graveyard, blue tombs caught my eye. These colorful tombs are dedicated to the kohanim, also called Jewish priests. Another interesting fact that I learned was the fact that the Miâara Cemetery is the largest of its kind in Morocco. As the largest Jewish cemetery in a country of very rich Jewish history, it is a very popular attraction, especially for Jewish Moroccans - most of whom now reside in the state of Israel.

I enjoy visiting such cemeteries, even though, like so many of us, I link these visits with a grieving, melancholic and heavy-hearted feeling. During this last COVID-ridden year, I have lost a handful of family members and nowadays I try to overcome these sorrowful emotions that come up during cemetery visits of mine and remind myself that all of them are in a better, happier place now. Considering the past so many Jewish people have had to overcome, I think the cemetery we visited is a very positive, peaceful, and precious piece of land. Not only that, a Jewish cemetery can stay without any vandalism for all its centuries, in a nation that does not consider itself Jewish. But also, looking back at the peace talks between Morocco and Israel in late 2020, it all seems like it is headed towards a very beautiful future. Before exiting the cemetery, Dr. Yossef Ben-Meir reminded us three that traditionally, one washes one's hands before leaving a Jewish cemetery. For me, this feels like a wonderful anecdote to tradition and the past.

Ultimately, after taking in the special energy of this historic and cultural cemetery, Dr. Yossef Ben-Meir led us to the Synagogue of the Mellah quarter. This is not only a synagogue but also a museum of the Jewish past in Morocco. Slat al-Azama synagogue is built in a Moroccan style with an open atrium and the walls are covered in beautiful mosaic-style tiles. The visit to this Jewish holy place right after the cemetery was a very exciting and special experience for me.

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Noah C. Kohlmayer is a full-time HAF volunteer through the Austrian Service Abroad program.

This article was completed with the support of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Religious and Ethnic Minorities Activity (REMA), and the High Atlas Foundation is solely responsible for its content, which does not necessarily reflect the views of the USAID or the Government of the United States.

Read more REMA updates and stories on the HAF website, and browse REMA program photos on Flickr.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Moroccan New Development Model – Promises Fall Short
By: Abby Lohmeyer, Fall 2021 HAF Volunteer

The High Atlas Foundation is committed to furthering sustainable development. As an intern, I have experienced first-hand their dedication to this mission. Community beneficiaries determine and manage sustainable agriculture, education, women’s and youth empowerment, health, and capacity building. I spent the past three months analyzing the new development model for Morocco, in hopes that I would find a connection to further the HAF’s impact and hope for a better Morocco supported by its government.

The purpose of this document is to “release energies and regain trust to accelerate the march of progress and prosperity for all.” At first, I truly believed that the new model would do these things. It is very positive and encouraging that the new model recognizes the magnificent environmental richness and social symbol that Morocco bears. There is a wealth of opportunity in Morocco for food production with all of the distinct biozones. Socially, Morocco includes people of different ethnicities, languages, and differences. This gives opportunity for a harmonious, diverse, and solidarity life in Morocco is possible.

The beginning of the NDM starts off strong, powerful, and hopeful. It clearly acknowledges that it wants to give voice to honest public expression. It is surprising and reassuring to read the reality of Moroccan lives in a government document. Voices of the people who endure so much daily are now written, published, and available for every policy maker and person of power in the country.

With this being said, there is an innate difference between the intent of the document and the reality for sustainable change. There are words that speak of these great ideas of the future for the Moroccan people, but no actionable items. Nowhere in the NDM does it speak of how people from all sectors will be trained on how to catalyze and facilitate these processes. There is no way to require people’s participation in development while at the same time not giving experiential training.

A question one might ask is what is the importance of sustainable agriculture in Morocco? It is incredibly important, and tree planting in Morocco has the ability to do more than just give environmental and health benefits, but there is also the opportunity to bring communities together. Nurseries managed for the benefit of its people are generally nonexistent.

The further that I read through the NDM, the more I recognized its flaws and methodical wording. There is no direct recognition of the severity of inequality and the structural burden this holds, or to the extent that the urban rural divide impacts essential life conditions. The new model looks at sustainable issues from a macro level, rather than integrating community involvement from the start. Without a direct partnership with the Moroccan ministry of environment to local communities and civil organizations, sustainable change cannot move forward.

The model has a grand idea to bring together smaller organizations to enact sustainable development, but it leaves out a key element: most smaller organizations lack the initial financial investment to grow and succeed in the first place. It is sad to see that there is so much potential, yet so little aid given to Moroccan communities. The special report states that Morocco is lacking in technological innovation, but is this really the issue at hand? New innovation is not essential to solving systemic poverty. What rural areas need is basic water infrastructure and financial support to local members who are smart and willing to be the forefront of change in the area of sustainable development.

The High Atlas Foundation has a special interest in the new model. Not only does every employee want what’s best for the Moroccan citizens, but the nation’s determination to development could assist the HAF in grants and more. If regional councils were to partner with civil societies as the NDM suggests, it could make for broader partnerships across Morocco. There is currently no institution of the state with a responsibility to assist partnership building between agencies of the state and civil society business across all societal sectors. If there is one thing that I have learned from the HAF, it is that teamwork is the key to greatness. Yossef Ben-Meir, the president and co-founder of the High Atlas Foundation, stressed that there can be no tree planting without every person of their team involved. There are those who find the land, the financial advisors, those who plant the tree, the monitors and evaluators. If it takes such a grand team to make the HAF into the incredibly impactful organization that it is, then why not extend this team to the Moroccan government? If the New Development Model aims to not fall short on its promise to “accelerate the march of progress and prosperity for all” and really partner with local communities for sustainable development issues, then I foresee great things for the future of Morocco and the High Atlas Foundation.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Renewable Energy in Youssoufia Province
By Mustapha Tarhbaloute, HAF Field Monitor



Renewable energy in Morocco is like a newborn, in the relatively early stages of development. It has become more popular in the last two decades as a step to overcome the huge expense of electricity as well as a way to decrease greenhouse gas emissions.

Thanks to the High Atlas Foundation and Germanwatch, the renewable energy project has made a difference in the El Youssoufia Province (in Douar Lkdirate in the Chamaia community). This province is known as the richest part of the Marrakech-Safi region, but unfortunately some areas still have limited earnings coupled with a shortage of underground water from which the community can profit. They depend on the limited agriculture there, so these types of projects are well received by the people of the village with open hearts and hands; they know that this is a new beginning to enhance the agricultural prospects and improve economic opportunities and livelihoods.

The project includes plenty of benefits for the community by supporting tree planting. The community needed this opportunity to be realized, and so they have contributed their lands to it, created a nursery with various types of plants, and connected the village with drinking water. A first well has been dug in the village, but seeing as the water is insufficient for the project and that the area suffers from ongoing water shortages, the team is considering digging a second well to cover the shortage and help the project succeed.

At the same time, the HAF team used the participatory approach with the women in the Douar, by creating a cooperative and scheduling technical training by experts. Through these actions, they will contribute to the project’s progress and improve living conditions, improving income generation.

The village will have solar panels installed to pump water from both wells for irrigating the nursery plants and also for clean drinking water, with 15-20 tons of storage. Every house will have a counter installed for regular management and to save water as much as possible. At the same time, water will be treated for bacteria and salt. Laboratories specializing in water treatment have been consulted and specialists will make periodic visits to monitor the quality of the water to be used for drinking and irrigation.

Using renewable energy will provide a well-organized irrigation system for the planting season and also play a big role in the community, especially with women who will take care of the nursery, and serve as an example of what could be done in the future.


Review from Guidestar

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Land & Carbon Lab

With our world's population constantly growing and the scarcity of land rising, this is and will come at the cost of our world's forests. Moreover, regarding the current alarming prognosis of climatologists, predicting a minimum of a 1.5°C rise in temperature by 2030, we are in desperate need of more reforestation through tree-planting programs. The milestones that are being archived in new forms of technology, especially in AI, are game-changers that are crucial for tackling the various associated problems of climate change.

In the webinar “Land & Carbon Lab: Addressing the Global Land Squeeze for Climate, Biodiversity and People” the director of the Global Forest Watch, Crystal Davis, emphasized the importance of monitoring forests; “Land & Carbon Lab is partnering with leading scientists and technologists to build a comprehensive monitoring system for the world’s land and its nature-based carbon. Our high-resolution geospatial data will help decision-makers everywhere, address the global land-squeeze and accelerate nature-based solutions to climate change.” The collected data is freely accessible to everyone and gives us precise information on our situation for the first time.

Andrew Steer, the CEO of the World Resources Institute, stated, “Due to the beautiful progress in technology, sponsors can now verify if their money is well spent, scientists can comprehend dynamics, and authorities can conclude what approaches are working.” This will amplify reforestation and fundamentally change our perspective .

“Current monitoring doesn’t catch single or small trees. These trees are crucial, and thus more precise information is needed,” claimed John Brandt. With the work he’s doing for resource watch, these trees are now added to the equation. However, the Land & Carbon Lab is looking beyond trees. Matt Hanson, founder of the Global Land Analysis & Discovery (GLAD) uses Earth observation imagery - for example NASA’s data - to investigate methods, causes and impacts of global land surface change. Hanson specified these trends as he pointed out that South America has tripled their cropland, whereas China is losing cropland due to their growth in industrial land. Therefore China needs to import a lot more.

The next speaker, Nancy Harris, Research Manager for Global Forest Watch (GFW), explained that even though trees remove more carbon dioxide as they grow, they also store more CO2 than fossil fuels. These are set free following forest fires. The carbon stock maps by GFW include those emissions and draw a clear overview for the user, to be able to fight global warming at its roots.

Rebecca Moore presented Google's approach on working with AI in order to classify landscapes in real time, which aims to be able to identify seasonal changes and natural disasters, like wildfires or the spread of ash after the eruption of a volcano. This data is now available to everyone.

But all of this knowledge is for nothing if scientists and decision-makers do not work together. The NDC (Nationally Determined Contributions) try to meet the Paris Agreement and develop better framework conditions for effective climate change governance. It deals with the main issues of tracking the progress and strengthening coordination across national and international stakeholders to fast-track decisions and interagency collaboration.

In addition, indigenous people and local communities hold half of our world's land. The decision-maker's data is useless if people don’t know how to avail themselves of its use. Only 2-3% of global funds are put towards nature-based solutions. Jorge Pérez Rubio, an indigenous American in the Peruvian Amazon, witnessed a 50% reduction of deforestation on their land since they have the data of which parts are being deforested. They are now able to organise themselves and fight for their rights.

“Africa can demonstrate that preserving the environment and helping our people prosper actually go hand-in-hand,“ expressed Wanjira Mathai, former Minister of Environment in Kenya. “Africa has great restoration potential. Initiating in 2015 and spanning for six years, the African Union restored 128 million acres of degraded land.” Although two thirds of Kenya’s land is semi-arid or desert, it’s one of the most biodiverse landscapes in the world. Monitoring, transparency and accountability are the key elements for the transformative journey of Kenya's land.

Morocco is home to diverse landscapes and multiple climate zones, some of which could undergo a transformative journey as well. The argan tree for example, which only grows naturally in Morocco and can be found in the remote area of the Chtouka Ait Baha’s empty desert mountainscapes, is crucial to its region’s communities. The High Atlas Foundation (HAF) supports communities in planting the argan tree among other domestic trees to sustainably influence Moroccan communities. In addition, HAF uses a precise system of monitoring with the help of local people to enhance the survival rate of these trees. The work of HAF is proof that communication and cooperation between local communities, donors, authorities, and scientists is essential for sustainable development.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Bolstering Women’s Development in Rural Morocco

by Noah C. Kohlmayer, HAF intern

In September 2020, the project of bolstering women’s development in rural Morocco was initiated. Since then, the project has shown great progress and results. It has been implemented within the AEIF 2020, which is coordinated by the US Embassy in Morocco.

This project aimed to provide two groups of rural women with new skills and tools in order to achieve self-empowerment and greater participation in their communities, whether that be politically, economically, or in the civic spaces of their individual community. Twenty participants in total had the opportunity to participate in language literacy, technical capacity-building, and empowering programs during this twelve-month period. After all this preparation, the goal was for each group to start their own cooperative in order to make a profit, support, and inspire others—especially within their rural communities.

From March throughout June, the women’s groups were busy with several workshops on topics such as catering an event, keeping track of documents and receipts, improving product quality, preserving natural resources, and last, but not least, exchanging ideas with other women in other cooperatives. Simultaneously, the US delegation of the Embassy visited and met with the newly-empowered women. Both parties were exceptionally pleased to become acquainted and learn about the progress these women have made in the past few months.

Furthermore, boosting their confidence and sense of self-empowerment were two goals of these field trips for each of the women’s groups. Some of them were leaving their village for the first time in their lives. One group focused on perfecting their artisanal carpet production and embroidery skills while paying a visit to the Achbarou Women’s group, whose focus of production is on handcrafted carpets. The other got the chance to visit Amal Women’s Training Center, where they learned about a catering and restoration business.

The AEIF project has a big beneficial impact on the lives of the women and their communities. They no longer have to count on their husbands for financial stability; instead, they have started generating their own income and can support the well-being of their families. Additionally, married women get more recognition from their now more open-minded partners. Moreover, the women are now able to read, write, and for the first time can help their children with homework, as well as encourage them to finish school.

A beautiful example that implements the great influence of this project is the youngest woman of the Sidi Ali Ofare village, who was forced to drop out of middle school seven years ago and left her dreams of becoming a lawyer behind. Fortunately, only two months after the beginning of the women’s empowerment project, she chose to go back to school with the goal of passing the baccalaureate and pursuing her dreams of becoming an advocate.

In conclusion, these 20 amazing, rural women are prepared for a sustainable future within their community. This incredible example also motivated other women to join the new cooperatives and has inspired neighbouring villages to establish their own.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Written by Sarah Whiteside, UVA-HAF Intern, Fall 2021
The 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, more popularly known as COP26, began on November 3rd and was a collaborative conference among 197 nations to address progress made in the first five years of the 2015 Paris Agreement. In this agreement, participating countries committed to efforts in attempts to prevent global temperatures from rising more than 1.5℃ above pre-industrial levels.

Many climate change experts cite COP26 as the last chance to influence the future of our planet and to enact significant changes with the potential to mitigate climate change. Although some religious leaders believe faith groups have no influence in climate change discussions, many share the idea that religious leaders can contribute a powerful voice to the future of our environment through their participation in climate change discussions and policies.

Prior to COP26, Pope Francis invited 40 religious leaders to the Vatican to engage in discussions regarding the urgency of climate change and the role of faith traditions in this environmental and humanitarian emergency; faith groups represented in these discussions included those of Judaism, Buddhism, Taoism, Hinduism, Jainism, Sikhism, and both Sunni and Shia Islam, according to Al Jazeera News. At this meeting, Pope Francis gave the stage to these various religious leaders, opening the floor for discussion to Sheikh Ahmed, a young Muslim leader who encouraged Muslims to answer the call of faith in response to climate change.

Additionally, Patriarch Hilarion, leader of the Russian Orthodox Church, proposed that “the current ecological situation has been caused, among other factors, by the desire of some to profit at the expense of others” (Al Jazeera News, 2021). As a result, it is the responsibility of everyone that has contributed to this crisis to work towards mitigating its effects.

Moreover, at COP26, individuals from all faith groups assembled online and at George Square, Glasgow - where the conference was being held - to pray for the success of the conference and cooperation among the nations in efforts to slow climate change. Additionally, the Glasgow Multifaith Declaration for COP26 was presented at the conference, followed by prayers from various religious leaders. The declaration pledge commitment to the following endeavors regarding faith and climate change:
“Reflection through prayer, mediation, and worship to discern how to care for the earth and each other.
Making transformational change in our own lives and the lives of our communities through individual and collective action.
Being advocates for justice by calling on governments, businesses, and to others who exercise power and influence to put into effect the Paris Agreement to make the transition to a green economy and to commute to science-based target that are aligned with healthy, resilient, zero-emissions future” (Glasgow Multi-Faith Declaration for COP26, 2021).

This declaration was signed by dozens of religious leaders in the UK and Scotland of a myriad of different faiths. The hope from this declaration is to inspire people to band together in efforts to safeguard life and the planet in which we live on. Religious leaders hope that through effort taken towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions, they will be able to catch the attention of religious leaders who often term the involvement of faith groups in environmental advocacy as “faith-washing.”

According to Martin Palmer, leader of FaithInvest, “faith washing” is where faith groups engaging in moral issues are ignored by politicians who accuse the religious group of being rooted in fantasy rather than the reality of business. Palmer calls for people of faith across the world to continue to motivate politicians to act, (Religion Media Centre, 2021). The investment of religious groups in climate change is not simple about influencing the global political agenda, but rather protecting and caring for the poor and vulnerable who are most impacted by the negative effects of climate change, yet they produce the least in emissions.

All-in-all, the role of religious leaders in the fight against climate change is monumental in pressuring governments across the globe to remain committed to zero-emissions. Not only is religion central to the lives of millions across the world, but cooperation among various branches of faith displays a united front across groups that are so often portrayed in conflict with each other. As the global climate crisis only worsens, it is essential for religious leaders and groups to share their voice and influence in the decisions being made. As evident from the discussion as COP26, interfaith cooperation is essential to uniting people across the world in the fight against climate change.

If you want to join religious leaders in supporting the Multi-Faith Declaration for COP26, follow the link below to sign the petition fighting against climate change.
https://www.change.org/p/world-leaders-and-politicians-at-cop26-save-the-planet-sign-the-glasgow-multi-faith-declaration-for-cop26

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Role of Multi-Stakeholder Platforms in Creating an Enabling Environment for the Sustainable Transformation of FNSSA Sector

by Haf-Volunteer, Julian Stoiber

On November 24th, 2021, the Coordination and Support Action (CSA) LEAP4FNSSA held a webinar about “The Role of Multi-Stakeholder Platforms in Creating an Enabling Environment for the Sustainable Transformation of the FNSSA Sector.” The main objective of LEAP4FNSSA is to provide a tool for European and African institutions to engage in a Sustainable Partnership Platform for research and innovation on Food and Nutrition Security, and Sustainable Agriculture (FNSSA).

This webinar was all about “establishing a sustainable structure, or platform, for the efficient and coherent implementation of the EU-AU Research and Innovation Partnership as described in the FNSSA Roadmap”(Norhan El Dallal). This platform should support the bureau of AU-EU High Level Policy Dialogue (HLPD), strengthen the knowledge base and increase the efficiency of the AU-EU Research and Innovation Partnership, as well as facilitate the relevant FNSSA research and innovation networks.

First, a Multi-Stakeholder Platform was presented. This platform is about participatory decision-making and information sharing. Key stakeholders should be represented and decide what issues to focus on and what actions to take. Multi-stakeholder platforms bring together representatives from different interest groups to discuss shared challenges, opportunities, policy actions and advocacy strategies. They have the potential to tackle complex development challenges, to assist in the scaling up of necessary innovations, and to possibly enhance the sense of ownership, support developing knowledge, create linkages between different governance levels and a wide variety of actors, and, most importantly, improve policy making.

Further, Philippe Petithuguenin, Deputy Director general in charge of Research and Strategy in the French Agriculture Research Centre for International Development (CIRAD), shared the International Research Consortium (IRC) approach. IRC is a group of research and innovation institutions that work under a shared governance mechanism towards a commonly defined goal. The IRC has a Partnership in FNSSA to establish a sustainable structure, or platform, for the efficient and coherent implementation of the EU-AU Research and Innovation Partnership. Through the IRC, multiple benefits are provided, such as increasing the impact of initiatives by facilitation synergies with other institutional alliances, optimizing the utilization of work and results,gaining access to funding programmes and opportunities, and, last but not least, gaining greater recognition and visibility for one’s contribution to the EU-AU partnership supported by authorities.

Lastly, Simon Winter, Executive Director of Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture, demonstrated Multi-Stakeholder Initiatives. As an example, he stated that the Agri-Entrepreneurs Foundation (AEG), which creates tangible transformation for rural households and farmers in India, adopts a decentralized approach towards empowering rural youth, brings services including market linkages, provides access to high-quality inputs, and gives agronomic advisory and finance. The AEG also helps in accelerating innovations and addressing climate changes.

The High Atlas Foundation (HAF), which is committed to furthering sustainable development & supporting Moroccan communities to take action in implementing human development initiatives, is an NGO that uses a participatory approach to involve all stakeholders. The communities HAF works with are asked for their skills and needs to be able to respond to them individually.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Reveling in the Riches of Er-rich

By Amal Mansouri, HAF Field Coordinator, REMA

11/8/2021

Being and feeling rich in my beautiful small city, Er-rich, is not a challenge. In fact, it’s incredibly easy. You just have to live there and you’ll understand. With that being said, a lot of people would be wondering how this is even possible. Is it easy to make a lot of money there? Was it called Er-rich because people there are actually known for their wealthiness? The answer to both of these questions is: No. This is because we’re not talking about money. There is no magical spell in the city that could make you millions of dirhams by the snap of a finger. That is not the type of richness that I am talking about. Richness in Er-rich manifests in its nature, history, diversity, multiculturalism, interfaith, inclusiveness and heritage.

Given where Er-rich is situated, in the crossroads that lead to Meknes, Tafilalet, Tinghir, and Imilchil, it is a place where people from different cultural backgrounds, races, and ethnic and religious groups immigrated and lived together in peace and synergy. This diversity of lifestyles, languages, and practices is what historically formed the identity of Er-rich's society and made it inclusive and welcoming rather than exclusive. Living and growing up in such an environment made me realize that people are born different, and with that difference came acceptance and open-mindedness there. Coming from different tribes and cultures, having different religions or speaking different languages doesn’t have to be a barrier leading to an end. It should be more of a start. A start to learn from each other. A start to understand and value each other’s input. A start to find common ground, live in harmony, and help each other to protect and maintain our heritage.

I am from an Amazighi family that speaks both Moroccan Darija and Tamazight. I was raised in a neighborhood where we had not only Amazighi and Arab neighbors that came from different origins in Morocco but also foreign neighbors that had different nationalities. At the intersection of these various cultural, ethnic, and religious backgrounds, there was respect and appreciation. As an example, my mom used to tell me stories about teaching her American friend Susanne how to make bread and traditional Moroccan dishes, and how Susanne was trying to help my mom with housework, and following her instructions when she was sick. They shared countless moments full of laughter and humor. And even more, Susanne kept in touch with my mom after she left Morocco, sending my family cards, especially on birthdays and Eids, although she was Christian, not Muslim. Stories like that made me appreciate the beauty and the warmth that comes along with concepts like interculturalism. Looking at it now, my mom and Susanne didn’t have much in common on paper: my mom is Moroccan, and Susanne is American. My mom is illiterate, and Susanne is educated. My mom speaks Tamazight and Moroccan Darija, and Susanne speaks English. But none of this prevented them from developing a very real and deep friendship. It is extraordinary how differences can bring people closer and not divide them. This was my introduction to a diverse, interfaith world of coexistence.

Accordingly, as I grew up, I became more passionate about learning new languages and being exposed to different cultures. This passion made me understand that just because someone is different from me or seemingly shares no similarities in identity, it doesn’t mean that one of us is right and the other is wrong. Hence, when I read about the High Atlas Foundation (HAF), and the USAID Religious and Ethnic Minorities Activity (REMA), I immediately wanted to learn more. I thought of my mom and her friend Susanne, and how important and worth documenting and preserving their story is. Such stories are how we can remind ourselves and future generations that diversity is a privilege, not an obstacle.

The REMA program and team are working hard to achieve that goal in immortalizing and sharing stories that need to be remembered. As someone who recently joined the REMA team as a Field Coordinator, I am eager to unveil, record, and preserve the hidden stories of previous generations and take action to make them a permanent memory that could help us evolve and take advantage of our diversity to achieve unity.

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Amal Mansouri has recently joined the High Atlas Foundation as a Field Coordinator for the USAID Religious and Ethnic Minorities Activity (REMA). To her, this is a precious opportunity to contribute in restoring and revitalizing the cultural heritage left behind by our ancestors. Amal is ready and willing to make the most out of this experience to have a positive impact on communities and help them reconnect with their history.

Review from Guidestar

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Reconnecting with My Roots through Storytelling

By Soukaina Kherdioui, HAF Field Coordinator, REMA Program
11/8/2021


Tilouine is my mother’s hometown. It’s a small village located on the outskirts of Errachidia. I still recall the time I used to travel along with my mother and siblings to spend our one-month summer vacation at my grandparents’ house. I have to admit that it was not the place where I would have preferred to spend my long-awaited holiday. Six-year-old Soukaina would describe Tilouine as a plain, boring piece of land that teems with palm trees and olive groves. My time there was made even more unpleasant with the scorching heat. For years, I had felt no connection with “that” place. The only silver lining to my yearly trip to my mother's hometown was the time I got to spend with my grandparents. Yet, I eagerly awaited our return to Rabat, the place where I was born and raised, the place I called home.

But the older I get, the closer I feel to my origins. Storytelling has played an essential role in strengthening the bond with my roots. Listening attentively to stories as I lay my head in my mother’s lap has become a pastime I cherish the most. As her fingers run gently through my dark, wavy hair, she recalls some of her childhood memories, and I unconsciously travel back in time, reliving every single moment she recounts.

The Jewish Craftsman

“You know bnti (my daughter), all faiths coexisted in the past and lived in harmony in our times. Although my hometown was solely inhabited by Muslim people, I still remember the story of a Jewish man that your grandmother used to tell me about.” I lay flat on my back, closed my eyes and listened attentively. “There was a time when a Jewish silversmith used to travel from Erfoud to our village on a weekly basis. He roamed Tilouine’s narrow lanes and alleys on his mule, shouting to let everyone know of his arrival. He was known for his exquisite jewelry-making skills. Most women, including your grandmother, relied on his service to custom design authentic pieces of silver earrings, necklaces, hinged bracelets and rings, which they kept for generations. He would spend the entire day working at the entrance of the village, and, after Ṣalāt al-ʿishā ̓ (evening prayer), men leaving the mosque would invite him for dinner and accommodate him for the night. As such, many households would take turns each week hosting him.”

Celebrating Eid Al-Mawlid al-Nabawī (the Birth of Prophet Mohammed PBUH)

“The celebration of Eid Al-Mawlid used to be my favorite time of the year, mainly because it brought together the whole community,” continues my mother. “On the day of the event, the entire community gathered around freshly prepared couscous. But trust me, Soukaina, it tasted nothing like the typical couscous we ate every Friday. You know what was the secret ingredient, bnti?”

I quickly grabbed my phone and waited for her to unravel the secret ingredient so that I could add it to my collection of food recipes. She answered with a big smile on her face. “What makes this couscous so special is the fact that each household brought an ingredient and contributed to the celebration. I remember your grandmother picking homegrown carrots, filling up a jar with smen (fermented butter) and bringing it to the house where the celebration was to be held. Added to this were the moments of laughter and joy we shared while cooking up the meal. It was the sharing of such simple details that made such moments memorable, not the meal itself, bnti.”

Listening to my mother’s stories was indeed enjoyable, but also thought-provoking. Had it not been for the collections of stories my mother and my grandmother kept from their childhoods only to later share them with me over hours of storytelling throughout my own childhood, an essential part of our family’s identity would have been lost. These stories from the past managed to create the sense of belonging I had so longed for. Nowadays, whenever I get the chance to visit my mother’s hometown, I get hit with a wave of nostalgia as I make my way through the narrow alleyways and as I pass by the spot where the Jewish silversmith used to produce marvelous pieces of art. Tilouine is no longer a plain, boring piece of land to me. Now, it is a place full of history, of interfaith and intergenerational dialogue.

Placing storytelling at the heart of its interest, the USAID Religious and Ethnic Minorities Activity (REMA) implemented by the High Atlas Foundation (HAF) aims to celebrate Morocco’s multiculturalism and religious diversity through identifying, collecting, and recording the stories of the past that lay the groundwork for a prosperous future marked by acceptance. The stories of the Jewish craftsman and the celebration of Eid Al-Mawlid al-Nabawī are living proof that Morocco has always been an outstanding model of coexistence. It is then my aim through the REMA program to highlight our country's cultural and religious diversity, an essential aspect of our national identity, by documenting local communities’ past and present stories of peaceful coexistence and interreligious harmony.
____

Soukaina Kherdioui has recently joined the High Atlas Foundation team as a Field Coordinator for the USAID Religious and Ethnic Minorities Activity (REMA). She is heavily committed to understanding Morocco’s great human mosaic and strives to understand the life experiences of previous generations whose stories formulate history and shape current identities.

Join HAF on this learning journey as we unravel stories of Morocco’s cultural diversity and interfaith dialogue via the REMA program.


Review from Guidestar

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Honoring Akrich: A Day of Multicultural Love

By Julian Stoiber, HAF Volunteer

The Akrich tree nursery, about half an hour outside of Marrakech, was the first among many nurseries that the High Atlas Foundation (HAF) brought into being. In 2012, HAF launched this project, calling it “House of Life,” a name based on the nursery’s location within a 700-year-old Jewish cemetery. The nursery’s creation denoted the special relationship between Jewish and Muslim communities in Akrich and represented both the historic and longstanding unity of the Jewish and Muslim Moroccans living together.

On October 2, 2021, HAF hosted a community event as its first activity in implementing the USAID Religious and Ethnic Minorities Activity (REMA). The event took place at the Akrich fruit tree nursery. Among the many attendees were various representatives, including U.S. Consul General Lawrence M. Randolph, the President of the Jewish Community in the Marrakech-Safi region, Jacky Kadoch, and various members of Morocco’s Muslim and Jewish communities.

For me, it was fascinating to see the importance of this U.S. official’s visit. At first, it seemed that his attendance alone was what had attracted a dozen journalists taking pictures with their huge cameras. Right after his arrival and the official welcome by HAF President and REMA Chief of Party Yossef Ben-Meir, the first activity was to light candles in the tomb of revered Rabbi Raphael HaCohen. It was a breathtaking sight to see this interfaith gesture, almost like lighting a beacon of multicultural respect. Watching various members of the Muslim, Jewish, and Christian faiths each light candles in such a sacred Jewish site made me realize that the cameras were here for all of us, capturing the silent statement of unity we created just by coming together.

We next gathered in a community center on the nursery’s grounds where tea and a light meal had been prepared. Motivated by Dr. Ben-Meir, members of the various communities in attendance took the floor and shared brief histories of themselves and their relationship with Akrich. Community members of the region, first time visitors, members of Muslim, Jewish, Amazigh, and international communities alike shared their stories.

Although I have no background in the Arabic language, the sentiments and messages being shared exceeded the necessity of language. I could see inspiration and encouragement in people's eyes. The meaning of the day only continued to grow, as knit carpets made by the women of the nearby cooperative of Achbarou were gifted to some of the guests. These gifts did even more than convey a kind gesture: the women of Achbarou distributed their cooperative’s business cards to attendees in a testament of economic empowerment and independence.

The final activity of the day was planting a fig tree together in unity. Everyone gathered around a meter-and-a-half deep hole, and, starting with Mr. Randolph and Mr. Kadoch, various attendees shoveled a few layers of soil and fertilizer over the tree. Regarding the utilized land, which is adjacent to Jewish burial sites, the act of planting the tree once again was an interfaith symbol, which goes hand-in-hand with the sustainable human development that HAF is aiming to achieve.

As a HAF volunteer, I found this event personally moving, and it gave me a stronger sense of HAF’s real impact and how important the connection within various religious communities truly is. It was an absolutely new experience for me to be at an event with this much press and officiality, and I will probably remember this day for the rest of my life.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Enlightenment between Religions and Nationalities: In Memory of the Past
(2 November trip to Akrich; HAF event)

By: Noah C. Kohlmayer, HAF Volunteer

Akrich, an Amazigh village in the foothills of the High Atlas Mountains, is where the first of HAF’s interfaith tree nurseries was founded. This small village packed with culture is exactly where the “Seeds of Memory'' event was held.

The event started with the arrival of the U.S. General Consul, Mr. Lawrence M. Randolph. As soon as he exited the vehicle, he was surrounded by press and participants. Mr. Randolph was shown around the premises of the nursery and was eventually led to meet a representative of the Marrakech Jewish community.

Eventually, the crowd was ushered into a building near the edge of the premises. Inside, all of the guests, including some of the HAF staff and a few Amazigh women, lit symbolic candles that were collected on a tray. It was a moment of peace, with everyone coming together in a small, dimly lit space with people of different religions, ethnicities, mother tongues, and nationalities lighting candles that symbolized hope.

Nonetheless, this was not the only special moment of the event in Akrich. Dr. Yossef Ben-Meir led the way into the main space. Groups formed around the tables, including guests, Jewish representatives, the Muslim community, a group of Amazigh women, and HAF staff. The circular tables and the snacks and drinks they held assisted intermingling among the people present.

First, Dr. Ben-Meir made a speech in Darija. Following his lead, Muslim and the Jewish representatives individually made their speeches. Towards the end of a speech by Mr. Jacky Kadoch, he said a Jewish prayer, for which everyone stood up, truly showing respect and appreciation.

The U.S. Consul General made a speech in Arabic, which attendees listened to welcomingly, as it had an aura of connectivity between the different parties, similar to the Jewish prayer. Various people with different backgrounds came forward after his speech and shared their own stories and experiences, all of which felt close to heart and personal to each and every individual.

Closing the indoor experience was a local Amazigh woman who gave each of the guests a hand-knotted carpet with a new and enhanced business card from their carpet-making cooperative. Seeing this woman sharing the cooperative’s work, it was clear that this unique opportunity to do so was of great personal importance for her and her fellow cooperative members.

Following this heartfelt moment, the crowd once again headed outside, where the tree planting experience took place. The U.S. Consul General and other guests together planted a young fig tree, a symbolic act for a brighter, sustainable, and intertwined future amongst nature and various ethnic and religious groups in Morocco.

Review from Guidestar

3 EL-Fatima

Volunteer

Rating: 5

By EL_mrini fatima
Trees monitor officer,casa settat Rabat Kenitra salé.
High Atlas Foundation.

Low cost toilets

The greatest invention of mankind during the last two hundred years is the toilet or the so-called toilet. How is it possible that there are still more than 6000 schools in Morocco that suffer from the absence of the most basic rights? These are reports of studies carried out by UNICEF in Morocco. It is very sad to have to be subjected to harassment to be destroyed. Your dignity It is bad for your innocent and naked body to be attacked just because you had to be born in a remote village, you had to grow up in a place that claims to preserve human rights and cannot provide a toilet that protects you from harsh looks, looks that almost destroy your innocence. This is what these children live in Morocco Due to the absence of toilets in the schools of remote villages, let alone the teachers who work there, how do they do under these harsh conditions that degrade their destiny as a human being. Imagine with me having to restrain yourself from urinating for more than six hours, or having to be a painting for every passerby watching on the outskirts Your naked body, even robots, need to charge their battery, let alone the human being. It is a shame that you are forced to live such an experience and the consequences and severe psychological and physical diseases that it entails. And you were the one who gave lectures on hygiene and rights and hardly enjoyed the lowest cost.
How is it possible to find a school or, say, homes? This is a word that is closer to the truth without walls surrounding it, without water first, without toilets. How will these children feel while they live this harsh experience, every day these girls and these children are forced to jog between departments to relieve their needs as quickly as they have the strength to even The glances of passers-by do not catch them, or they are forced to sit in the middle of pits among the thorns of the cactus to take shelter. How is it possible that the walls of the departments are transformed into margins of waste in the open air? It is one of the main causes of school wastage in villages, and this is what makes some parents prevent their children from going to school for fear of harassment, Such situations must be reconsidered. Are all of us really doing our duty to the fullest? Are these children obliged to live this bitter experience every day? Do we really preserve human rights as we claim? These are questions that each of us should ask ourselves and answer them honestly.


مراحيض باقل تكلفة
بقلم فاطمة المريني
ان اعظم اختراع للبشرية خلال المائتي سنة الاخيرة هو المرحاض او مايسمى بدورة المياه، فكيف يعقل انه لا زالت هناك ازيد من ٦٠٠٠مدرسة في المغرب تعاني من غياب ابسط الحقوق ,هذه تقارير دراسات قامت بها اليونسيف بالمغرب، انه لمن المحزن جدا ان تضطر للتعرض للتحرش ان تتدمر كرامتك انه لمن السوء ان يتعرض جسمك البريء العاري للاعتداء فقط لانك تحتم عليك ان تولد في قرية نائية، تحتم عليك ان تنشأ في مكان يدعي المحافظة على حقوق الانسان ولا يستطيع توفير مرحاض يحميك من نظرات قاسية نظرات تكاد تحطم    برائتك .هذا مايعيشه هؤلاء الاطفال في المغرب جراء غياب دورات المياه في مدارس القرى النائية ، فما بالك بالاساتذة اللذين يعملون هناك كيف يبلون في ظل هذه الظروف القاسية اللتي تحط من قدرهم كإنسان ، تخيل معي ان تضطر لكبت ذاتك من التبول لما يفوق الست ساعات او تضطر لتكون لوحة فنية لكل مار يتفرج على اطراف جسدك العاري ، حتى الانسان الآلي يحتاج الى شحن بطاريته فما بالك بالانسان، انه لمن العار لمن المخزي ان تضطر لعيش تجربة كهذه وما يترتب عليها من تابعات وامراض نفسية وجسدية وخيمة . وانت من كنت تعطي محاضرات في النظافة والحقوق ولا تكاد تتمتع باقلها تكلفة.
كيف يعقل ان تجد مدرسة او لنقل بيوتا هذه كلمة اقرب الى الحقيقة بدون جدارن تحيط بها بدون ماء اولا بدون مراحيض كيف سيكون شعور هؤلاء الاطفال وهم يعيشون هذه التجربة القاسية،  كل يوم تضطر هاته الفتيات وهؤلاء الاطفال للهرولة بين الاقسام لقضاء حاجتهم باسرع مايملكون من قوة حتى لا تلمحهم نظرات المارة ،او يضطرون للجلوس وسط حفر بين اشواك الصبار للاحتماء ، كيف يعقل ان تتحول جدران الاقسام لحواشي من الفضلات في الهواء الطلق ، انه لمن الاسباب الرئيسية للهدر المدرسي في القرى وهذا مايجعل بعض الاباء يمنعنون اطفالهم من الذهاب للمدرسة خوفا عليهم من التحرش ، يجب اعادة النظر في مثل هاته المواقف وهل فعلا كل منا يقوم بواجبه على اكمل وجه ؟وهل هؤلاء الاطفال مضطرون لعيش هذه التجربة المريرة كل يوم؟هل فعلا نحافظ على حقوق الإنسان كما ندعي؟ انها اسئلة على كل منا ان يطرحها على نفسه ويجيب عليها بصدق.

Review from Guidestar

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Food Cooperatives: Fighting Imbalance in the Food Value Chain

Bobby McDonough
HAF-UVA Intern

As the COVID-19 pandemic maintains its position as the international community’s chief issue to battle , its far-reaching effects can be felt particularly in poorer, marginalized communities. One obstacle that continues to grow in relevance is the subject of food security—the state of having reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food. The market for healthy and nutritious food has greatly expanded in countries such as the Philippines—where there exists an extreme imbalance between massive, corporate agribusinesses and smaller, local farmers in access to these lucrative crops. This injustice works to the long-term detriment of the islands, as such an imbalance hinders the ability to create positive, systemic change. One method being adopted to fight for change is the organization and implementation of food cooperatives throughout the country.

On October 12th, I had the opportunity to attend a webinar jointly hosted by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network and several Filipino Universities. The title of the webinar was “Revitalizing Food Systems: Generating Value with Producers, Markets and Consumers—Cooperative Experiences,” and was hosted by a panel of people who wished to lead a discussion that provided insight on the value chain of food systems when it comes to food cooperatives and small businesses, as well as the efficiency of food production and consumption. Dr. Philip Tuano moderated as Dr. Anselmo Mercado of First Community Cooperative, Mr. Cresente Paez of Agricoop, Ms. Sylvia Okinlay-Paraguaya of the National Confederation of Cooperatives, and Dr. Ernesto Ordonez of Alyansa Agrikultura were all offered fifteen minutes to present and discuss their own thoughts and efforts in acting as agents of change.

Dr. Anselmo Mercado, former chairman of FICCO, wished to explain the context behind the work all of the speakers were accomplishing through their efforts with cooperatives. Mercado explained the importance that concepts such as the PPE cycle—in which poverty increases population growth, which leads to environmental deterioration that further impoverishes a people —have had in contributing to the circumstances that those people now find themselves in. He noted that, in the past, efforts were misplaced in implementing trickle-down economics when they should have been directed toward fostering bottom-up economic growth. He proceeded to recount how this mentality of “brotherhood economics” acts as a pillar of FICCO, and has allowed them to achieve immense success in linking farmers together through projects such as the COOP Plant Culture Lab and Plant Seedlings Production Facility. Dr. Mercado ended his presentation with a poignant message: you have to start small to create big change.

Ms. Sylvia Okinlay-Paraguaya, CEO of NATCCO, began her presentation by overviewing her organization’s profile. NATCCO boasts a membership of more than 6 million Filipinos and possesses billions of dollars in assets. With such immense size and resources, the organization has accomplished much in the way of organizing and leading cooperatives that support local farmers. Their commitment to progress has been an important component in their success, as promoting digitization and embracing progressive agricultural cooperative practices from Korea and Japan has allowed NATCCO to provide financial support to an immense network of people.

Mr. Cris Paez, CEO of Agricoop—a newer organization—spoke next. Paez first spoke on why Agricoop was founded, highlighting how cooperative governance is often unorganized to the point of failing to meaningfully involve small farmers in the food value chain. Agricoop is working to redefine these supply chains to address this imbalance in the market by implementing supportive “commodity clusters.” Their work in strengthening cooperative governance is giving local farmers the tools to better negotiate within the value chain and empower their own communities.

The final panelist to speak was Dr. Ernesto Ordonez, who was speaking as a member of Alyansa Agrikultura. He first provided the specific contexts behind the work that he was accomplishing, in that long-term corporate investment in agriculture is both a failure and a key factor in retarding the growth of small communities. Following this, Ordonez set forth his recommendations on what would be most impactful in addressing this unjust status quo. Some of these suggestions include emphasizing additional income from other crops for small farmers, increasing the Department of Agriculture’s budget, and actively working to improve agricultural participation within the private sector. Dr. Ordonez concluded his presentation by emphasizing the importance of implementing well-managed cooperatives as well as the need for the Philippines to take the time to assess their food system and find places they can systematically improve.

Great change is not achieved overnight, especially within the context of a subject as complicated as food security and local participation in value chains. For the Philippines and many others, this is an issue that is continuing to be navigated. However, it is clear from the knowledge and strategies presented at this webinar that the nation’s future is in good hands, and with their continued effort, we will see community-evolving change.


Review from Guidestar

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

By Julian Stoiber/HAF Volunteer

On October 25th, Programs and Office Manager Sanae Benaadim, Field Technician Mustapha Itihya, and Volunteers Timo Reinitzer and Julian Stoiber joined Siahmed Hazil from the Office du Développement de la Coopération (ODCO) in Douar Lkdirat near Youssoufia in a workshop for 19 women on how to create a cooperative. This training was a follow-up workshop from the previously held “IMAGINE Workshop” and “Participatory Approach Workshop”.

“IMAGINE” is a self-discovery workshop. Throughout the personal growth process, HAF assists women in finding their voices and achieving their goals. Integrated with IMAGINE is the ‘Moudawana’ Family Code, adding a rights-based approach to the sessions, bringing together women to learn about legal protections and determine ways to advance social justice. Cooperative-building grows from empowerment gained during the “IMAGINE-Moudawana” experience and supports women’s cooperatives and their development to create greater financial independence, expand networks, and promote change in women’s roles in their communities.

Mr. Hazil started the training by brainstorming what a cooperative actually is to gather further information about the current knowledge of the women. The group knows of a women’s cooperative in a nearby village called Takharkhot, which is a big inspiration and motivates them to have one themselves. Furthermore, he explained how to create a cooperative step-by-step, guiding them through the legal process and how a cooperative would benefit them in many ways and would open new doors.

Following, the actual objective on what the community wants to work on got discussed. Dependent on local resources and unique skills they have, the group discussed different options. Producing traditional plates or carpets was certainly of interest, but in the end the women agreed on doing an agriculture cooperative because it involves the whole group, as not all of them have knowledge about knitting carpets or designing plates. Upon agreeing on agriculture (tree nursery), laws regarding this area have to be checked and taken into consideration for their potential cooperative.

To start the establishment of a cooperative, all the members have to come to terms with a name for their group, fill in a form with their personal details, and bring the document with all their IDs to ODCO in Safi. Then, their elected cooperative president needs to collect 100 MAD ($11) from every member to open a bank account. Fortunately, Hazil's approach was to support them not solely by stating how to build a cooperative but also by showing kindness and sensitivity. He even gave the members his phone number in case they needed any help with the legal process, as only two of the 19 women can read and write. Additionally, Mr. Hazil would like to follow up with more training sessions with the women after the creation of their cooperative.

This community once again revealed a powerful and capable group of women who are making positive changes in their village and are on the perfect route to have their own cooperative soon.

Review from Guidestar

2 Lahssan-Ben-Moula

Volunteer

Rating: 5


By Lahcen Ben Moula
Tree Monitor Officer, Oujda Region
High Atlas Foundation


Dr. Yossef Ben-Meir, President of the High Atlas Foundation, organized an applied workshop on the participatory approach and its role in achieving sustainable development with the local population, during the second day of the training week organized by the High Atlas Foundation in Marrakesh with the support of the United States Forestry Service and the US Agency for International Development.
At the beginning of the training workshop, Dr. Ben-Meir presented a comprehensive definition of the participatory approach as one of the methodological mechanisms that can be applied in any development program or project aimed at improving the living conditions of the local population. This is a strategic approach that involves everyone, without discrimination, in identifying their needs and priorities to combat poverty and marginalization and achieve local development through collective decision-making.
Dr. Ben-Meir also touched on a set of important and basic points that must be respected in order to implement the participatory approach methodology, set priorities, and include everyone in that decision-making for sustainable development.
The participatory approach is one of the mechanisms that qualifies citizens to participate in the management of their local public affairs. It is designed to bring about a comprehensive social change in the environment, sensitize the population, raising their awareness, and create a collective framework in adopting development programs and projects. It aims to achieve consistency between the initial local needs of the population and the final results of development projects. It contributes significantly to raising the level of "self-development" with citizens but also for future generations, and engender the culture of listening and giving constructive criticism.
In summary, the work adopted by this methodology is based on the phrase “working with” instead of the phrase “working for,” because development projects require the participation of the population, men and women, younger and older, without excluding or restricting freedom of expression. In other words, the participatory approach is of a horizontal nature, not a vertical one. It seeks to make the population directly involved in development projects and to bear the responsibility for achieving their sustainable development goals.




المقاربة التشاركية
نظم الدكتور يوسف بنمير رئيس مؤسسة الاطلس الكبير ورشة تطبيقية حول المقاربة التشاركية: أهمياتها ودورها في تحقيق التنمية المستدامة مع الساكنة المحلية وذلك خلال اليوم الثاني من الاسبوع التدريبي الذي نظمته مؤسسة الاطلس الكبير بمدينة مراكش بدعم من منظمة خدمة الغابات بالولايات المتحدة الأمريكية والوكالة الامريكية للتنمية الدولية.
في بداية الورشة التدريبية قدم الدكتور يوسف بنمير تعريف شامل للمقاربة التشاركية باعتبارها احدى اللأليات المنهجية التي يمكن تطبيقها في أي برنامج أو مشروع تنموي يهدف إلى تحسين شروط حياة الساكنة المحلية. وذلك عن طريق نهج استراتجية اشارك الجميع بدون تمييز أو وصاية في تحديد الإحتياجات والاولويات المهمة التي تساعد المواطنين لمحاربة أشكال الفقر والتهميش وتحقيق التنمية المحلية من خلال الانخراط في اتخاذ القرارات الصائبة بشأن المشاريع التنموية التي تحقق المصلحة العامة للساكنة.
كما تطرق الدكتور يوسف بنمير الى مجموعة من النقاط المهمة والاساسية التي يجب احترامها من أجل تطبيق منهجية المقاربة التشاركية مع الساكنة المحلية في شأن تحديد الأولويات بحيث من اللازم العمل على اشارك الجميع في اتخاذ القرارات لتحقيق المشاريع التنموية التي تحتاجها الساكنة وتحقق التنمية المستدامة.
وأضاف الدكتور يوسف أن المقاربة التشاركية هي إحدى الآليات التي تقوم بتأهل المواطن من أجل المشاركة في تسيير شأنه العام المحلي، و إحداث تغيير اجتماعي شامل للمحيط، بهدف تحسيس الساكنة وتوعيتها وتوجيهها إلى التعاون في إطار جماعي في تبني البرامج والمشاريع التنموية.
كما أن دور المقاربة التشاركية يهدف الى تحقيق التناسق بين الاحتياجات الأولية المحلية للساكنة، والنتائج النهائية للمشاريع التنموية. وتساهم بشكل كبير في الرفع من مستوى " التنمية الذاتية" للمواطن وللأجيال القادمة. ونشر ثقافة الانصات والنقد البناء لتحقيق التنمية والمصلحة العامة.
وخلاصة لهذه الورشة فإن العمل الذي تعتمده هذه المنهجية، يتأسس على عبارة " العمل مع" بدل عبارة " العمل من أجل"، لأن المشاريع التنموية يستوجب أن تنخرط فيها الساكنة رجلا ونساء شبابا دون اقصاء او تقييد حرية التعبير . وبمعنى أخر فإن المقاربة التشاركية ذات طبيعة أفقية وليس عمودية. تسعى الى جعل الساكنة تنخرط بشكل مباشر في المشاريع التنموية وتتحمل مسؤولية تحقيق أهداف التنمية المستدامة للساكنة.

Review from Guidestar

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Challenging Yet Beneficial Relationship between Human Rights and Development

Abigail Hall
HAF-UVA Intern

Although the intersection between human rights and development is clear, the two are often approached separately and have therefore evolved into two separate categories. It can be easy to focus on their distinctions and differences from one another rather than seeing the way that they actually mutually boost and aid each other. This article is going to look at the challenges that are faced when trying to converge human rights and development efforts as well as how these two categories can and should aid each other in providing and improving safe and sanitized water around the world.

The Journal of Human Rights Practice published an article on the challenges and opportunities that arise when trying to converge human rights and development efforts. In this article, it says, “Human rights could be integrated more systemically into development policy and practice, for three reasons. (1) They are intrinsically valuable in aiming to protect human dignity and may be (negatively) affected by development so that development policy should identify ways to at a minimum meet the ‘do no harm’ threshold. (2) They are also instrumentally useful to enhance development processes, address certain types of social risk, ensure accountability, and ultimately secure more equitable and sustainable development outcomes. (3) As a matter of public international law, human rights treaty obligations legally bind States' parties, and under custom bind all states other than persistent objectors: as such they should be respected in all contexts, including development.”

Here, the explicit ways in which human rights and development can advance forwards and aid each other is listed. However, more often than not, the two are not explicitly incorporated, but rather implicitly incorporated— meaning, when human rights policies are written, the development aspect is often left excluded (and vice versa) and for the organization or nation to incorporate if they wish to do so. The Journal of Human Rights Practice argues that this should not be the case and that both human rights and development have the same underlying goals that should be explicitly stated and used to boost the legitimacy of the policy.

For example, the concept of equality lies at the center of the international human rights framework and is written into many international treaties (such as the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women [CEDAW], the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities [CRPD], and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination [CERD]. Similarly, developmental policies often also incorporate equality principles, such as inclusion, cohesion, or empowerment. While this example of equality illustrates the compatibility of the two agendas, it highlights the lack of integration between the two sectors. A stronger convergence of human rights’ equality into development could strengthen development’s specificity and technical parameters, enrich the discourse, and improve development processes by securing greater participation.

The convergence of human rights and development efforts can aid the effort of providing safe and sanitized water to those all around the globe. According to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, “Water is a basic human right and is fundamental to human dignity… Today, three in ten of the world’s people have no access to safe drinking water.” Similarly, access to water is one of the main items of United Nations Millennium Development Goals (UN-MDGs) and is also one of the main precepts of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The question that lies ahead of us is as follows: if providing sanitized drinking water is one of the main goals of both of the largest human rights organizations in the world and one of the main goals in one of the largest development initiatives in the world, how might the two efforts be converged to aid and support one another? Just as in the example with equality previously discussed, converging efforts will allow human rights activists and development efforts to strengthen specificity and hone in on important tasks that must be completed in order to advance, enrich the discourse as combining efforts will bring in more resources and attention from both sides, and improve the development process as both sides have different skills, resources, perspectives, insights, and connections to offer.

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On October 11, 2021, the United Nations will be joined by other UN agencies, NGOs, and CSOs to celebrate the International Day of the Girl Child to promote the advancement of female rights across the world. The origins of this global celebration began in 1995 at the World Conference on Women in Beijing where the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action outlined an ambitious and progressive plan to advance female rights; this declaration was the first of its kind globally, specifically emphasizing the need for gender equality across the world. On December 19, 2011, the UN General Assembly ratified and adopted Resolution 66/170, committing to the continual recognition of girls’ rights and the distinct challenges they face across the world.
This year’s theme for the International Day of the Girl Child is entitled, “Digital Generation, Our Generation,”(according to the UN website) and centers discussions around gender inequality regarding access to technology and digital literacy. According to the UN, almost 50% of the world’s population does not have access to the internet, with women and girls being less likely to have this access than men. In fact, in some parts of the world, up to 70% of women and girls do not have access to the internet nor do they know how to use digital technologies( according to the UM website). Moreover, COVID-19 has only exacerbated the issues of technology access and gender inequality, especially in low- and middle-income countries. In response to the ever-increasing challenges faced by girls globally, the Gender Equality Forum (GEF) took in June 2021, launching a 5-year initiative with international governments, corporations, NGOs, and CSOs to fight for equal access to technological innovations.
One CSO that aims to support gender equality and social change, aligning with GEF’s coalitions, is the High Atlas Foundation (HAF) based in Marrakech, Morocco. Specifically, HAF supports female university students and rural women by hosting empowerment workshops. Each workshop is 4 days with focuses on personal growth, sexuality and the body, emotions, relationships, money, and spirituality. In their “imagine” workshop, HAF encourages women to find their voice and helps them build steps to achieving their personal goals. Additionally, “imagine” workshops teach women about legal protections and social justice in Morocco. Through these workshops, HAF aims to build cooperation among women, support financial dependence, and promote change in the local communities of these women. In addition to empowering women and university students, HAF supports the advancement of girl’s education by working with communities to build schools in rural areas through Sami’s project.
With a global population predicted to reach 8 billion people by 2023, gender equality for both women and girl’s is more important than ever. Not only do governments, organizations, and corporations need to incorporate female empowerment into their communities, but individuals at all levels of society must work to bridge the gender gap, ensuring equal rights for women and girls in present and future generations.

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Women’s Empowerment and Yoga in Rural Morocco and in Your Life


Before you read this, I challenge you to pause and ask your body the question: how do you like the thoughts I think about you?

When we make an active choice to listen to ourselves, we access the power of introspection. But as you likely realized within the first sentence of this article, that often isn’t comfortable. It is almost taboo to honestly ask yourself how you are, and even rarer to have the skills needed to be able to listen to the response.

These skills are exactly what the High Atlas Foundation (HAF) seeks to develop within their IMAGINE empowerment workshops. The scene ranges from rural villages to bustling cities, yet the content and goal remain constant. HAF leaders guide groups of 25 Moroccan women through a 32-hour transformative experience. Ecstatic joy saturates a room where these women connect with their true selves, maybe for the first time. Turning about freely through guided dance helps the women create “turnarounds,” the term for the newly expanded beliefs that replace often deeply ingrained and harmful ones. To work through the discomfort of releasing old patterns of thought and behavior endows the women with the confidence to recognize their true potential.

HAF guides participants in goal-setting and affirmative visualizations surrounding seven core areas, including work, relationships, and sexuality. These powerful techniques are paired with practical education regarding Moroccan family law and placed in a spiritual context with passages from the Qur’an, permitting the women to understand their legal protections, pursue justice, and see themselves empowered through their spirituality.

This act of slowing down and listening is the core driving force of yoga, as well as HAF’s

mission of empowerment. It forces us to switch from the mode of thinking into feeling. The conscious effort required to turn off our critical thinking brain and enter a more profoundly present state is not small and requires practice. However, there is incredible potential in the ramifications of this decision; in a following 24 young women who identified themselves as chronically stressed, a three-month intervention of biweekly yoga classes resulted in statistically significant reductions in stress and anxiety, as well as overall improvement of physical health. Saliva samples from before versus after a 90-minute yoga class displayed a concrete and significant decrease in levels of cortisol, our bodies’ main stress hormone.

How does yoga achieve this? For one, yoga is not simply a sequence of strengthening acrobatic movements. The Sanskrit word “yoga” literally translates to “yoke” or “join.” It is an ancient Vedic philosophy that both recognizes and encourages a connection with the inherent interconnectedness of ourselves with everything in the universe. We are not separated from nature, but rather, embedded in it. This idea is not as far-fetched or spiritually lofty as one might assume, either: the widely accepted Big Bang Theory postulates that all that is, from here to the farthest edges of the universe, originated from a single point. You were once quite literally one with everything around you. Furthermore, the techniques of stretching, strengthening, breathing, and meditation are joined together in one complete practice to join your mind, body, and spirit. Yoga philosophy and teachings emerge from this idea, with scriptures emphasizing the importance of ahimsa, or non-violence.

Here enters the original question: how do you like the thoughts you think about yourself? Chances are that you haven’t been conditioned to hold yourself in very high regard, like many of the women in the IMAGINE workshops. According to ahimsa, this harm to ourselves through negative thoughts contributes to the prevalence of harm everywhere. In order to strive for better, you must first believe that you deserve it. Movement in yoga is a constant push and pull driven by the breath, steadily encouraging us to expand beyond our limits and find contentment in where we land at the moment.

The niyama or personal principle of svadhyaya encourages the importance of self-study.

Yoga styles such as Yin encourage practitioners to find their edge of discomfort by holding deep tissue stretches for longer periods of time. This increases circulation and joint flexibility while opening channels of energy. Through directed breathwork, students are able to release tension and practice mental fortitude. When a negative thought or sensation interrupts the flow, yoga enables us to recognize it as a disconnection from our true presence and choose to let it go.

By enabling women to free themselves from self-constricting thought patterns, HAF promotes both personal and community growth. IMAGINE equips participants with tangible tools and support to lead lasting and meaningful development from a place of personal integrity. To date, nine groups of women have gone on to create income-generating cooperatives thoughtfully designed to further their specific community’s development. HAF continually supports these women by providing requested training related to these goals, and the groups formed through IMAGINE meet monthly thereafter to discuss current goals and progress.

As we reach the end of the article, I encourage you to take a moment for yourself to notice the ebb and flow of your breath. Return to the original question, even close your eyes if you feel comfortable, and listen. The principles of yoga and of HAF’s IMAGINE workshops are centered in this truth that acknowledging where you are is the first step to creating the life you most want.




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Fatine.BLK

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.هذا المقال غير منشور حاليا، وهو يحلل تطور جريمة الاتجار بالبشر مع مرور الوقت، ووجود سبل الإنصاف القانونية لفائدة ضحاياه في المغرب
جريمة الاتجار بالبشر بين الماضي والحاضر
بقلم: فاتن بلكبير
:نبذة عن صاحب المقال
فاتن بلكبير طالبة باحثة بسلك الماستر في القانون الخاص، تخصص العدالة الجنائية والعلوم الجنائية بكلية العلوم القانونية والاقتصادية والاجتماعية بجامعة .سيدي محمد بن عبد الله بفاس وعضوة بالعيادة القانونية لكلية الحقوق التابعة لجامعة سيدي محمد بن عبد الله بفاس


يعتبر الاتجار بالبشر من أقدم أنواع التجارة التي عرفتها المجتمعات الانسانية القديمة تحت اسم الرق، وهو من أخطر الجرائم التي عرفتها الإنسانية جمعاء .منذ القدم وإلى حدود يومنا هذا
فقد كانت تنتشر على وجه الخصوص في زمن الحروب التي كانت تدور رحاها بين القبائل المتناحرة، حين كانوا يستعملون طرق الخطف المنظم، ثم بعد أن تضع الحرب أوزارها كانت تتم عمليات البيع والشراء فيما كان يسمى آنذاك "بسوق الرقيق"، وبعد أن تطورت الجريمة المنظمة وانتشرت لتصبح عابرة للحدود الوطنية في ظل العولمة وحرية التجارة وسهولة تنقل الأفراد والسلع بين البلدان، أصبحت جريمة الاتجار بالبشر أكثر انتشارا إلى أن أضحت ثالث أكبر تجارة غير مشروعة على المستوى العالمي، وذلك بعد جريمة الاتجار غير المشروع بالأسلحة والمواد المخدرة، وفقا لبعض التقارير الرسمية الصادرة .عن بعض البلدان
وأمام هذا الوضع الخطير، لم يقف المجتمع المغربي صامتا ومكتوف الأيدي، وإنما بذل جهدا ملحوظا من أجل محاولة مواجهة هذه الجريمة ومكافحتها في سياق قانوني، إذ صدر في 25 غشت 2016 القانون رقم 27.14 المتعلق بمكافحة الاتجار بالبشر والذي جاء لتتميم أحكام الباب السابع من الجزء الأول .من الكتاب الثالث من مجموعة القانون الجنائي
إذ بموجب هذا القانون، يعاقب المشرع المغربي على جريمة الاتجار بالبشر بمجرد ما أن يقوم أحد الأشخاص بإرادته وإدراكه التام بالتحايل على الضحية أو خداعها من أجل استغلالها للقيام بعدة أفعال غير مشروعة، عن طريق الاغراء والحيلة أو نقلها من محل اقامتها إلى مكان آخر، أو تحويلها من موضع لآخر باعتبارها مجرد بضاعة، ثم التحكم فيها أو استقبالها (دون اشتراط ابقاء المجني عليه في مكان معين) أو إخفاءها عن أنظار الناس والسلطات وذلك بتدبير مكان وملاذ آمن لإقامتها بهدف استغلالها، وذلك باستعمال مختلف وسائل التهديد لإلقاء الرعب والخوف في نفس المجني عليه، أو الاختطاف أو خداع الضحية بواسطة استعمال ادعاء ات كاذبة مدعمة بمظاهر خارجية لتضليله أو باستغلال حالة الضعف أو الحاجة أو استغلال السلطة والنفوذ وغيرها من الوسائل المحددة في الفصل 448ـ1 من القانون رقم 27ـ14
وفي إطار الجهود المبذولة لتعزيز سيادة القانون وحماية حقوق الأفراد وتكريس الثقة بالنظام القانوني المغربي يساهم برنامج العيادة القانونية بكلية الحقوق التابعة لجامعة سيدي محمد بن عبد الله بفاس على تقديم المساعدة القانونية في مجموعة من التخصصات والتي من أبرزها الاتجار بالبشر، إذ تعمل هذه الأخيرة على توعية أفراد المجتمع وتكريس ثقافة مكافحة مثل هذه الظواهر بينهم بالتنسيق والتعاون مع الجهات المعنية.
لذلك يأمل فريق العيادة القانونية الرفع من نسبة الخدمة لصالح الأشخاص الموجودين في وضعية هشة، لأنه كلما زاد عدد المساعدين القانونيين والمستفيدين .من الخدمات المقدمة والحالات التي تدعمها العيادة القانونية، زادت قدرتهم على تحسين وضعهم لاختيار ومناصرة الإصلاحات السياسية اللازمة

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Healthy Farms Can Save The World

Henry Prillaman

All around the world, we have seen deforestation and overuse of fertilizers and pesticides that have led to degradation of the environment. Contrary to expectation, from the “Healthy Farms, Wealthy Farmers: Repurposing Agricultural Subsidies to Restore Land” discussion from the World Resources Institute, we see that subsidies have actually led to some of this destruction of the environment.

Helen Ding, a senior economist at the World Resources Institute, began this discussion on how these subsidies are not living up to their primary objectives. Subsidies can lead farmers to deforestation to spread their land claims, as well as overuse of fertilizers that detract from natural arable land. Twenty-three percent of land productivity has been eliminated due to deforestation and greenhouse gas emissions and twenty-four billion metric tons of fertile soil is lost every year. This is more devastating when we consider that the subsidies being given to help farmers are in turn hurting our environment and, in the future, will hurt farmers.

In addition, Helen Ding states that subsidies around the world aren’t helping decrease poverty. We have seen countries lose their soil health, fail to increase productivity, and incentivize deforestation all from misallocation and unideal subsidies.

The solution is to change how the subsidies are given and to whom they are given. Subsidies should be reallocated to restoring soil health and increasing sustainable farming practices. In the World Resources Institute discussion, Helen Ding outlined that $400 billion of current subsidies across the world could be repurposed to have a better use that would facilitate farm health and in turn help the environment. Subsidies have been shown to not only hurt the farmland and environment, but also not significantly help farmers.

In a recent repurposing of funds in Costa Rica, $500 million from gas tax revenues were transferred to protect the forest, boosting the tourism economy by 6% from 2017-2021. Placing subsidies in the right places can have far reaching and profitable results. The benefits listed in “Healthy Farms, Wealthy Farmers” for switching subsidies to protect and restore farmland and ecosystems are fewer incentives for deforestation, increased biodiversity, greater ecosystem resilience, better soil quality, higher crop yields, extra income for farmers, increased food security, lower carbon emissions, and more jobs.

There is a need to assist the smallholder farmer to help restore the land and save the environment. In addition, monitoring systems are needed to track these subsidies and their goals, such as the lowering carbon emissions, to better show the sub.

The High Atlas Foundation is working to satisfy these goals in Morocco. HAF works to restore farmland and biodiversity through planting trees utilizing local seeds, assists farming families with their focus on women’s and youth agricultural development initiatives, as well as continual monitoring of their trees planted to gain best practices and support carbon offsets. Subsidies allocated as Helen Ding prescribes would allow for HAF’s mission to be administered all around the world with all kinds of governments, foundations, and groups, working to help restore the land we live on by empowering farming families.

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By Sami Kissai, HAF Volunteer


“If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency, and vibration.” ― Nikola Tesla


The kingdom of Morocco has a reputation for its diverse climate and natural resources, among which is solar energy. In fact, Morocco hosts the world’s largest concentrated solar power plant, the Noor Complex Solar Power Plant, which is located in the Sahara Desert. These factors make the Kingdom a hub for research and development.
The students at the School of Mines of Rabat (ENSMR) have begun a new innovative project, the objective of which is to develop an efficient car that uses energy from solar panels. Created in 2014, Mines Rabat Solar Team designing the car is formed by engineers from various fields, such as industrial engineering, electromechanics, energy, and IT. Since then, prototypes have been created. After conducting trials on the first prototype “Fennec”, the team realized that it did not meet its expectations. Consequently, they have produced a second prototype called “Eleadora 1”. Then, the last prototype, “Eleadora 2,” was developed. This car is made from carbon fiber, which makes it rigid and light. It can reach a speed of 120 km/hour. The solar panels used for the car are monocrystalline solar panels. They are characterized by their efficiency, which can range from 17% to 22%. The silicon-made solar cells are long-lasting, with a 25-year warranty.
Mines Rabat Solar Team has participated in the Moroccan solar challenge in 2016 and 2019. The Moroccan solar challenge is an annual car race between the city of Ben Guerir and the city of Marrakech. The team took second place in the race. And will be in attendance at the first edition of the solar challenge Morocco, held in Agadir this year.
The team is also expected to participate in one of the most renowned competitions, the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge. This Australian race, created in 1987, is for experimental vehicles powered by solar energy.
The High Atlas Foundation shares the same vision as these brilliant students, as we encourage the use of renewable energies and encourage Morocco’s young minds to actively apply their knowledge and skills to the Kingdom’s progress toward green energy and sustainable development.



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Je suis Mohammed Amine ZINE EL ABIDINE, étudiant en deuxième Master Juriste d’Affaires, clinicien de la deuxième promotion, venez découvrir avec moi mon expérience au sein de la clinique juridique.


Tout d’abord, je tiens à remercier le Doyen de la Faculté des Sciences Juridiques, Economiques et Sociales de Fès, et l’ensemble du corps administratif de la Clinique Juridique pour cette initiative humaine, ambitieuse et créative.


Pour moi, la Clinique Juridique est un atelier de renforcement des capacités des juristes, notamment dans la pratique. Dans ce contexte, la Clinique Juridique a assuré des formations multiples et diverses, tant théoriques que pratiques, au profit des cliniciens afin qu’ils puissent traiter les différents cas dont la Clinique Juridique est en charge.


En outre, il existe d’autres formations essentielles pour affiner les capacités des cliniciens, telles que le développement personnel, la rédaction de CV, l’organisation d’une recherche d’emploi, la recherche d’un marché adéquat pour le profil du candidat, la gestion du traumatisme et l’esprit entrepreneurial.


Il convient de souligner que les principaux domaines auxquels s’intéresse la Clinique juridique sont la conciliation et la médiation familiale, la migration, le droit d’asile et, enfin, la traite des êtres humains. Ces axes ont fait l’objet de plusieurs exercices pratiques et de cas de simulation par les cliniciens sous la supervision d’experts spécialisés.


Une fois les formations terminées, les cliniciens passent directement au traitement des dossiers, ce qui nécessite un travail minutieux et de bons réflexes de la part des cliniciens. L’étude des dossiers se fait au siège de la Clinique juridique qui se trouve à l’intérieur de la Faculté de droit de Fès.


L’objectif de la clinique est d’offrir une assistance juridique gratuite à toute personne, notamment aux personnes vulnérables et fragiles n’ayant pas la possibilité de recourir à la justice.


La clinique vise également à inculquer le bénévolat, le travail associatif et le travail collectif dans l’esprit des juristes.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Je suis Mohammed Amine ZINE EL ABIDINE, étudiant en deuxième Master Juriste d’Affaires, clinicien de la deuxième promotion, venez découvrir avec moi mon expérience au sein de la clinique juridique.


Tout d’abord, je tiens à remercier le Doyen de la Faculté des Sciences Juridiques, Economiques et Sociales de Fès, et l’ensemble du corps administratif de la Clinique Juridique pour cette initiative humaine, ambitieuse et créative.


Pour moi, la Clinique Juridique est un atelier de renforcement des capacités des juristes, notamment dans la pratique. Dans ce contexte, la Clinique Juridique a assuré des formations multiples et diverses, tant théoriques que pratiques, au profit des cliniciens afin qu’ils puissent traiter les différents cas dont la Clinique Juridique est en charge.


En outre, il existe d’autres formations essentielles pour affiner les capacités des cliniciens, telles que le développement personnel, la rédaction de CV, l’organisation d’une recherche d’emploi, la recherche d’un marché adéquat pour le profil du candidat, la gestion du traumatisme et l’esprit entrepreneurial.


Il convient de souligner que les principaux domaines auxquels s’intéresse la Clinique juridique sont la conciliation et la médiation familiale, la migration, le droit d’asile et, enfin, la traite des êtres humains. Ces axes ont fait l’objet de plusieurs exercices pratiques et de cas de simulation par les cliniciens sous la supervision d’experts spécialisés.


Une fois les formations terminées, les cliniciens passent directement au traitement des dossiers, ce qui nécessite un travail minutieux et de bons réflexes de la part des cliniciens. L’étude des dossiers se fait au siège de la Clinique juridique qui se trouve à l’intérieur de la Faculté de droit de Fès.


L’objectif de la clinique est d’offrir une assistance juridique gratuite à toute personne, notamment aux personnes vulnérables et fragiles n’ayant pas la possibilité de recourir à la justice.


La clinique vise également à inculquer le bénévolat, le travail associatif et le travail collectif dans l’esprit des juristes.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

A great expérience at the legal clinic -Ex Co-DIrector .

Kaoutar El Kadi

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Témoignage d’une assistante d’aide sur le traitement des dossiers et leur état d’avancement - Avantages et difficultés
Kawtar El Kadi - Assistante d’aide juridique
La clinique juridique de la Faculté des Sciences Juridiques, Économiques et Sociales de Fès (FSJES) a été fondée en 2019 en partenariat avec la Fondation du Haut Atlas afin de fournir une assistance juridique gratuite aux demandeurs d'asile et aux immigrants qui souhaitent régler leur situation au Maroc de manière légale. Le but étant de présenter une consultation juridique gratuite sous la supervision de spécialistes du droit composés de professeurs, d'assistants et de cliniciens qui ont bénéficié de plusieurs formations dans différents axes sur lesquels travaille la clinique juridique "Migration, Asile, Traite des êtres humains, Médiation familiale et Entreuprenariat".
La clinique juridique se charge de la situation des immigrés au Maroc, ce qui leur donne le droit de vivre dans le pays d'accueil d'une manière légale ; également d'offrir une médiation familiale aux familles et aux conjoints en conflit en assurant un suivi particulier des assistants.
Ainsi, l'aide juridique reste un service humanitaire encourageant toute personne à en bénéficier à travers un rendez-vous d'orientation et d'écoute, puis un suivi et un traitement de chaque situation séparément. Un reçu est remis à la fin du suivi avec un numéro par dépôt, leur permettant ainsi de suivre leur situation, soit à distance (via Whatsapp ou appel téléphonique), soit par des rendez-vous physiques.
Consciente que mon rôle en tant qu'assistante d’aide en collaboration avec l'équipe de la clinique juridique, nous avons réussi à clôturer 15 dossiers où les bénéficiaires ont pu obtenir leur carte de séjour, d'autres, ont rencontré des obstacles tels que l'indisponibilité d'un logement ou d'un certificat d'inscription dans une université ou une école, en particulier les réfugiés Syriens auprès desquels nous avons connu des complications pour les assister dans leurs démarches afin d'obtenir leur carte de réfugié.
D'autre part, nous constatons des situations où nous ne pourrons pas les aborder car elles ne relèvent pas de notre champ de compétences.
En ce qui concerne la médiation familiale, les assistants sont habilités à organiser des séances privées et à donner des conseils juridiques continus aux conjoints en situation de conflit grâce à notre formation dans ce domaine et à notre expertise en droit de la famille afin de les amener à renouer leurs relations familiales.
Par ailleurs, le nombre de dossiers traités à ce jour est de 54, suite à des améliorations continues dans le traitement de chaque dossier, et grâce aux partenariats noués entre l’UNHCR Maroc, l'ANAPEC et le Groupe de Travail de Protection de Fès, qui regroupe 10 organisations de différents services pour aider les membres de la société civile, et d'autres en cours avec la Wilaya et le réseau des cliniques juridiques universitaires au Maroc.
Enfin, je me contenterai de dire que cette expérience m'a beaucoup appris en termes de coordination et de gestion des dossiers avec une équipe très ambitieuse de cliniciens et du corps administratif. Sans oublier de mentionner l'esprit humanitaire qui m'a amenée à encourager les gens à visiter la clinique dans le sens du partage et d’assistance gratuite.

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Rating: 5

كلما ارتكبت جريمة قتل أو اغتصاب أو هتك عرض… يبدأ النقاش حول عقوبة الإعدام… فنجد المؤيد لها الذي يعتبر الإعدام هو الحل لإيقاف تفشي الجريمة… كما نجد المعارض لها الذي يرى في الإعدام مجرد انتقام و لا يصلح المشكل من الأساس

بين هذا الرأي و ذاك… يدخل الأكاديمي لمناقشة الموضوع بمنطقية و موضوعية… مزيلا عنه رداء العاطفة و الانتقامية… ويحاول إيجاد حل يرضي الأطراف من جهة… و يكبح شهوة المجرم من جهة أخرى

كل هذا في إطار علمي أكاديمي و بعيد عن التعصب… و هذا بالضبط ما قامت به كلية الحقوق بفاس و بشراكة مع المنظمة المغربية لحقوق الإنسان وكذا المندوبية الوزارية المكلفة بحقوق الإنسان

حيث قامت بتنظيم يوم دراسي تحت عنوان : »من أجل نقاش عمومي، رصين و تعددي حول عقوبة الإعدام »… بمركز دراسات الدكتوراه بجامعة سيدي محمد بن عبدالله… وذلك يوم الثلاثاء 29 يونيو 2021… و بحضور أعضاء من العيادة القانونية لكلية الحقوق بفاس

حيث افتتح اليوم الدراسي بكلمة من السيد عميد كلية العلوم القانونية والاقتصادية والاجتماعية بفاس و كلمة السيد ممثل المنظمة المغربية لحقوق الإنسان لتختتم الجلسة الافتتاحية بكلمة السيد ممثل المندوبية الوزارية المكلفة بحقوق الإنسان… كل الكلمات الافتتاحية كانت تصب في منحى الإشادة بالمجهودات المبذولة من طرف كلية الحقوق من أجل نقاش عقوبة الإعدام من عدة زوايا دون الاقتصار على رأي واحد دون الآخر

ليتم الانتقال بعد ذلك إلى الجلسة الأولى التي اختير لها كعنوان : »القراءات التأصيلية المتعددة »… و فيها تطرق الأستاذ عز العرب لحكيم بناني (رئيس شعبة الفلسفة بكلية الآداب ظهر المهراز) إلى عقوبة الإعدام من الناحية الفلسفية و كيف يراها كل من هيغل وكانط في قالب فلسفي موضوعي

تلتها مداخلة الأستاذ عبد الحق بلفقيه تحت عنوان : " الحق في الحياة بين معطى التكريس الدستوري و إشكالات الملائمة القانونية …" مداخلة وضع فيها الفصل 20 من الدستور تحت مجهر المتخصص في القانون الدستوري…

ليتدخل الأستاذ عبد الرحيم الأمين المتخصص في الشريعة و القانون و يتأمل في عقوبة الإعدام بين القانون المغربي و الفقه الإسلامي… ليستنتج أن عقوبة الإعدام هي عقوبة نسبية لا عقوبة أصلية مفروضة في الشريعة الإسلامية…

و لم يكن من الممكن مناقشة الموضوع بعيدا عن الالتزامات و الاتفاقيات الدولية… و هذا ما ناقشته الأستاذة سهيلة بوزلافة في مداخلة بعنوان :عقوبة الإعدام بين الالتزام الدولي و المراجعة التشريعية

ليكون لعلم الإجرام و السياسة الجنائية الحظ أيضا في المناقشة و هذا ما قام به كل من الأستاذ عبد الإله المتوكل الذي عنون مداخلته ب: »عقوبة الإعدام بين دواعي الإلغاء و مطالب الإبقاء »… و كذا الأستاذ هشام اسواني الذي كانت مداخلته تحت عنوان : عقوبة الإعدام من منظور السياسة الجنائية الحديثة

و بعد كل هذه المناقشات التقديمية التي ناقشت عقوبة الإعدام نظريا و تعدديا… كانت الجلسة الثانية تحت موضوع : »التوجهات العملية المختلفة »… ضرورية من أجل مناقشة عقوبة الإعدام بمنظور الممارس الميداني…

فقد كانت محكمة النقض و المجلس الأعلى للسلطة القضائية ممثلة في شخص الأستاذ حسن فتوخ الذي كانت مداخلته حول : المقاربة القضائية لعقوبة الإعدام

و لا يمكن الحديث عن عقوبة الإعدام دون حضور مؤسسة النيابة العامة التي تدخل ممثلها من أجل إعطاء احصائيات دقيقة حول : تطبيقات عقوبة الإعدام بالمغرب

ليكون للباحثين في سلك الدكتوراه نصيب من المداخلات… حيث كانت مداخلة الأستاذ علي إدريسي حسني مداخلة تحت عنوان

:قراءة في التوجه القضائي الجديد بشأن عقوبة الإعدام

تلته هيأة الدفاع ممثلة في شخص الأستاذ المهدي العزوزي محام بهيأة فاس… الذي ناقش: » عقوبة الإعدام بالمغرب بين المقاربة الحقوقية و الحاجة لحماية حقوق الضحية

و بعد ذلك… اختتم الأستاذ حسن رحية أشغال هذا اليوم الدراسي تحت عنوان : تفريد المعاملة العقابية للمحكومين بالإعدام

ليفتتح باب النقاش بين الحاضرين و المتدخلين في جو أكاديمي تعددي رصين…

Hamza Bouallala Ben A.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

عقوبة الإعدام بين الإبقاء والإلغاء

Bouallala hamza
Doctorant chercheur à FSJES Fès / Droit privé – Clinicien



إن السؤال المطروح حول هذه القضية العويصة هو: هل الإبقاء على عقوبة الإعدام يؤدي إلى نقص الإجرام وبسط الأمن والسلام في ربوع المجتمعات البشرية؟ وهل إلغاء هذه العقوبة يؤدي إلى تفاقم الإجرام وزيادة الفوضى في المجتمعات وخرق نواميسها وأعرافها ومقدساتها؟

فهذه التساؤلات وغيرها كافية لبيان أهمية هذا الموضوع وتشعب سبله، ومن تم ألا يحق لنا أن نتساءل مرة أخرى، هل المجرم مذنب ويستحق العقاب الرادع جزاء ما قدمت يداه، أم أنه شخص شقي قادة المجتمع الذي لا يرحم إلى ارتكاب الجرم؟
على كل حال بمكافحة المجتمع للجريمة اتجه منذ البداية نحو المجرم نفسه بغية إبعاده عن المجتمع باعتباره يصبح عالة عليه بعد خرقه لقوانينه، ولعل عقوبة الإعدام هي الوسيلة المناسبة لاستبعاد الأشخاص الخطرين الخارجين عن قانون الجماعة، إذا لم يهتم المجتمع بمعالجة وإصلاح هؤلاء الأشخاص الذين خرجوا عن سير الجماعة
إن الجدل حول إلغاء عقوبة الإعدام أو الإبقاء عليها يبدو كأحد الصفات السعيدة التي يتمتع بها مجتمع ما، والتي لا تتعرض سلامته الداخلية والخارجية إلى خطر محدق ومباشر

وهكذا يرى أنصار الإلغاء أن الحياة هبة من الله سبحانه وتعالى فهو الذي يمنحها إياها، وله وحده الحق في استرجاعها، ولا يجوز لأي كان -ولو كانت الدولة ـ أن تسلب الحياة من شخص ما مهما كانت جريمته، وتحت أي ظروف من الظروف.
فالعقاب لا يراد منه استئصال الجاني وتغييبه عن مجتمعه، ولكن الهدف منه هو إصلاح هذا الجاني وإعادته إلى سواء السبيل،
ويرى أنصار الإبقاء على عقوبة الإعدام بأنها متناسبة مع جسامة الجريمة ومسؤولية مرتكبيها،فالجاني الذي يرتكب جرما خطيرا يؤدي إلى إزهاق أرواح الآخرين فإن أقل شيء يمكن فعله تجاهه هو إزهاق روحه هو الآخر تحقيقا لمقتضيات العدالة،لأن الغنم بالغرم كما يقول القانونيون

فالإبقاء على عقوبة الإعدام من المتطلبات الأساسية للمحافظة على أمن وسلامة المجتمع من جهة وعلى حياة أفراده من جهة أخرى، لأنها تحد من حالات العود للجريمة، إذ يستحيل العود مع تنفيذ عقوبة الإعدام بالمحكوم عليه وهي تحول دون استمرار عتات المجرمين في نشاطهم الإجرامي وتقي المجتمع من ويلات تكراره
إن موضوع عقوبة الإعدام يجمع بين أمرين متناقضين حق حياة الجاني وحق حياة المجني عليه أو حق المجتمع، وتبعا لذلك يمكن القول بأن هذه العقوبة القصوى لا تتلائم والأفكار الحديثة والإعلانات والمواثيق الدولية التي تنادي بحقوق الإنسان. وبالعكس من ذلك فهي متسمة بمشروعيتها طالما لازالت القوانين تنص عليها.

فمناقشة الإبقاء على عقوبة الإعدام أو إلغائها ستبقى دوما موضوعا للجدل والمناظرة وستظل الآراء والأفكار مختلفة عنها سلبا وإيجابا لكن السؤال الذي لا إجابة شافية عليه هو: ما هي الطريقة والوسيلة التي يمكن معها إصلاح ومعالجة المجرمين دون استئصالهم نهائيا من المجتمع؟

وبذلك يمكن القول على أني لا أجد أي حرج في المطالبة بالإبقاء على عقوبة الإعدام بالنظر للدور الرادع الذي يمكن أن يتحقق بتطبيقها. لكن والذي لاشك فيه هو أن مساوئ هذه العقوبة في وقتنا الحاضر أكثر من حسناتها بكثير، فالأخطاء القضائية وحدها كافية لإلغاء هذه العقوبة لأنه لا يمكن إصلاح الخطأ إذا سبق السيف العزل
نعم سيستمر الإجرام في المجتمع وسيستمر الفساد في الأرض، لكن معالجة هذه الظواهر لا تتم بإزهاق أرواح مرتكبي هذه الأفعال الخارجة عن قانون الجماعة، ولكنها تعالج بإصلاح المجتمع

عموما فإلغاء عقوبة الإعدام خطورة حضارية بالنظر لكثرة المآسي التي تترتب عنها
وبالتالي لابد أن نتسائل عن ما هي الإجراءات التي يسلكها المجتمع لمعالجة هذه الظاهرة، وذلك إما بالقضاء عليها أو بالتقليل منها؟

Badia Touhafi R.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

تجربة العمل في العيادة القانونية

بقلم : بديعة تحافي ريفي طالبة باحثة بسلك الدكتوراه


باسم الله الرحمان الرحيم

السلام عليكم ورحمة الله تعالى وبركاته، تحية طيبة وبعد

أدعى بديعة تحافي ريفي طالبة باحثة بسلك الدكتوراه مختبر القانون والفلسفة والمجتمع وعضوة بالعيادة القانونية بفوجها الثاني الكائنة بكلية العلوم القانونية والاقتصادية والاجتماعية بفاس, وفي هذا المقال سأشارك معكم تجربتي بهذه العيادة وأثرها الذي خلفته على شخصيتي ومسيرتي الدراسية

انطلاقا من قول رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم ) من لا يشكر الناس لا يشكر الله( أريد أن أتوجه بإسمي وباسم كل عضو من أعضاء العيادة القانونية بخالص عبارات الشكر والتقدير للإدارة بصفة عامة ولعميد الكلية بصفة خاصة على هذه المبادرة الطيبة التي من خلالها تم إنشاء عيادة قانونية بمقر كليتنا العتيدة والتي سمحت لنا بالتعرف على مجموعة من الطلبة من مختلف المسالك والشعب من ماستر دكتوراه……الخ, وتكوين صداقات جديدة وتبادل معارف قانونية والاستفادة من أفكار بعضنا البعض خاصة فيما يتعلق بأبحاثنا الجامعية الأكاديمية

وفي هذا الصدد وفرت العيادة مجموعة من الدورات التكوينية التي تهمنا نحن كحقوقيين بالدرجة الأولى وذلك من أجل اكتساب الخبرات وصقل المهارات وتطويريها في مختلف المجالات القانونية من أسرة, هجرة, لجوء……الخ لمواكبة ومصاحبة الأشخاص المعنيين وتقديم الاستشارات اللازمة من خلال استقبال الحالات الواقعية تحت إشراف مجموعة من الأساتذة المتخصصين في كافة المجالات القانونية, وقد سمحت هذه الدورات لكل واحد ولي شخصيا من إبداء الرأي والمشاركة في تعزيز النقاشات الرائجة في الحصص التكوينية دون خوف أو خجل مما أي إلى تعزيز وبناء شخصية قوية وتطويرها وبالتالي خلق جيل قانوني مدرك لاحتياجات المجتمع يمتلك روح المبادرة والعمل الجماعي للسعي للتغيير والتطوير في المجتمع

وعليه يبقى الهدف الأسمى للعيادة القانونية العمل على نشر الثقافة القانونية وتعزيز الوعي المجتمعي القانوني وتمكين مختلف شرائح المجتمع من الوصول إلى العدالة بالتنسيق مع الجهات ذات العلاقة وفقا للقوانين السارية والعمل على دمج الطلبة في المجتمع عن طريق المزج بين الدراسة الاكاديمية النظرية والحياة المهنية العملية وذلك من خلال الاخذ بيد أعضائها وتدريبهم لتقديم الاستشارات اللازمة من أجل تعزيز فكرة العمل بروح الفريق وتكريس مبادئ العلم التطوعي للارتقاء بمستوى حقوق الإنسان وتعزيز سيادة القانون

Simo A.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Rédigé par : AININE Mohamed

Dans le cadre de son ouverture sur les différentes cliniques juridiques du royaume, la clinique juridique de la faculté de droit de Fès a eu le plaisir de participer le samedi 5 juin à Nador dans une table ronde réalisée par le Forum Anoual pour le Développement et la Citoyenneté, Laboratoire d’Études Juridiques et Politiques des Pays Méditerranéens et National Endowment for Democracy « NED » ; cet événement de grande envergure avait comme thématique principale : Le rôle des cliniques juridiques dans la protection et la promotion des droits. La table ronde était animée par une panoplie de professeurs universitaires de droit, des représentants de différentes cliniques juridiques du Maroc et des membres actifs de la société civile.
Plusieurs questions ont été abordées dans cette optique, dont les principales sont relatives aux moyens possibles pour la promotion des cliniques juridiques, le concept de clinique juridique et les outils de son travail, l’apport des cliniques juridiques dans le renforcement de la culture des droits de l’homme… Ainsi, un échange d’expériences entre les différentes cliniques a eu lieu, notamment la clinique juridique de la faculté pluridisciplinaire de Nador, la clinique juridique de Rabat, la clinique juridique « Hijra » d’Oujda …., ce fut l’occasion pour la clinique juridique de la faculté de droit de Fès de présenter, et ce à travers l’intervention du directeur de la clinique M. EL BAKKOURI Said et la responsable des formations de la clinique OKBI Basma , l’expérience de la clinique juridique dans ses domaines d’intervention, principalement, la migration, l’asile, la traite et la médiation familiale ; On y ajoute les résultats prometteurs obtenus jusqu’à présent et un aperçu sur les formations qui se sont déroulés au profit des étudiants cliniciens tout en mentionnant les événements marquants de la clinique à l’image de la visite de M. David Green, Chargé d’Affaires des États-Unis d’Amérique à Rabat et membres du corps diplomatique américain.
In fine, un tel événement est fortement salué par la clinique juridique de la faculté de droit de Fès puisque d’une part, il contribue activement au renforcement des cliniques juridiques au Maroc à travers des débats instructifs et des échanges fructueux des différentes expériences, et, d’autre part, cet évènement a fait écho sur l’importance et le rôle des cliniques juridiques dans la protection et la fortification des droits de l’homme.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

What Every Student Needs to Know About the Legal Clinic in Fez.

By: Mohammed Amine Jbilou, Student Clinician, CJFD Fez

As a law clinician for almost a year, I have observed that the essence of a Legal Clinic for us is the way it works and the interest for law students to participate.

What is a legal clinic?

Inspired by the American legal clinic movement, the legal clinic structure, although not universal in Morocco, is emerging in our universities.

The Legal Clinic is a learning tool that operates on a voluntary basis and attempts to meet both the need for legal information of natural and legal persons and the need for practical experience on the part of law students, which is quite common from the first year of the Master's degree.

The "clinicians," the name given to the members of a legal clinic, offer free legal assistance supervised by teachers or legal professionals.
If you are bored of endless theory and feel a lack of reality in your law studies, the legal clinic is the ideal solution to enrich your professional life during your university years.

How is a Legal Clinic organized?

As there is no unique structure in Morocco, a legal clinic is different depending on the university in which it is located and the office that constitutes it.

However, some common features could be highlighted. For example, it usually consists of an office, which is responsible for the promotion of the clinic, its communication and general
administration, as well as assistants and practicing clinicians.

The assistants, who are experienced clinicians, have the main role of supervising the team of clinicians assembled to study a proposed case. They meet with the "beneficiary," i.e. the natural or legal person who has contacted the Legal Clinic to discuss their legal problem. They then ask
the beneficiary the questions necessary to understand the case, form a team with volunteer clinicians, and finally provide the conclusion of the research carried out.

Clinicians, whether or not they are specialists in the subject under study, can volunteer to participate in research related to the legal issues raised.

Deepening known notions, discovering subjects, listening, studying, researching... the clinician's
work is above all a learning exercise. Don't be afraid of not being a specialist: even with a doctorate, it is impossible to be an expert in a field!

Research work is at the heart of the Clinic. In addition, the support of more experienced professionals or students guarantees the relevance of the statements made!

What are the tasks of the members of a Legal Clinic?

The missions carried out by clinicians are multiple and constitute a real asset for their future profession in law. This experience should be highlighted on their CV, as it is highly valued by law firms!

First of all, the meeting with the "beneficiary" requires the identification of legal problems. Far
from practical cases highlighting the points to be researched, this is a real exercise at the heart of the daily life of lawyers: identifying within a multitude of facts, more or less relevant, the key elements that will allow efficient answers to the general problematic of the case.

Secondly, clinicians need to do real research work.

While it is not necessary to be a specialist in the subject, however, it is essential to provide accurate and relevant answers to the beneficiary. No one could be a specialist in any way in a master or doctorate degree! The student clinician must therefore learn to conduct research to find information relevant to the case presented: this may be requested instantly during legal consultations, or a posteriori when the cases are more substantial and require more in-depth
study.

Finally, working in a Legal Clinic requires an effort of simplification. The clinician must be able to adapt his or her words, to make them accessible to all, so that the claimants can understand the elements reported.

What advice would you give to a student who wants to join a legal clinic?

Only this: do it! If your faculty offers a Legal Clinic and you are hesitating to join, don't wait any longer, « contact the office! » It is a very rewarding experience, combining volunteer work with your first experience in a professional environment.

Mohammed Amine Jbilou is a PhD student in "Private Law" at the University of Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdellah, Faculty of Legal Sciences, Economic and Social, ranked as the best university in Morocco.

Volunteer

Rating: 5


تعتبر عقوبة الإعدام انتهاكاً لحقوق الإنسان، وعلى وجه الخصوص الحق في الحياة والحق في عدم التعرض للتعذيب أو المعاملة أو العقوبة القاسية أو اللاإنسانية أو المهينة. وكلا هذين الحقين كفلهما الإعلان العالمي لحقوق الإنسان، الذي اعتمدته الأمم المتحدة في سنة 1948


إضافة إلى العديد من الصكوك التي اعتمدها المجتمع الدولي من بينها

البروتوكول الاختياري الثاني الملحق بالعهد الدولي الخاص بالحقوق المدنية والسياسية، والذي يهدف إلى إلغاء عقوبة الإعدام

البروتوكول رقم 6 الملحق بالاتفاقية الأوروبية لحقوق الإنسان، والمتعلق بإلغاء عقوبة الإعدام، والبروتوكول رقم 13 الملحق بالاتفاقية الأوروبية لحقوق الإنسان، فيما يتعلق بإلغاء عقوبة الإعدام في جميع الظروف


بروتوكول الاتفاقية الأمريكية لحقوق الإنسان لإلغاء عقوبة الإعدام


على الرغم من أن القانون الدولي ينص على أن استخدام عقوبة الإعدام يجب أن يقتصر على الجرائم الأشد خطورة، إلا أن معظم المنظمات المهتمة بحقوق الإنسان اعتبرت هذه العقوبة ليست الحل وليست عقوبة رادعة كما يعتبرها البعض _ فأغلب الدول التي تنفذ عقوبة الإعدام لازالت لم تحد من الجرائم التي تعاقب بها بالإعدام ولم تحقق العقوبة وظيفتها وتعتبر الصين أفضل مثال على هذا _ فهي تثير العديد من الإشكالات، ومن بين أهم الإشكالات التي تثيرها في نظري، أنها عقوبة لا رجعة فيها بحيث قد تقع أخطاء في الأحكام القضائية لا يمكن تداركها إذا نفذت العقوبة، كما قد يتم إعدام أشخاص إستناداً على أدلة مشوبة بالتعذيب، وعدم التمثيل القانوني المناسب، فقد يفقد أشخاص بريئون حياتهم بحيث لا يمكن إعادة شخص بريء أعدم لإعادة الاعتبار له، ولا يمكن تعويض حياة أي شخص، فالحق في الحياة من أسمى الحقوق لدى الإنسان لا يجب لأي سلطة المساس بها

Safae B.

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La Clinique Juridique de la Faculté de Droit de Fès : un endroit idéal pour recueillir de l’aide


Article rédigé de la part de : FAOUZI ZIZI Abdeslam
Assistant d’aide à la CJFD

Généralement connu comme un pays d’immigrants, le Maroc est non seulement devenu un pays de transit en Europe ces dernières années, mais aussi un pays d’accueil pour un nombre croissant de migrants, de réfugiés et de demandeurs d’asile. Au cours des deux dernières décennies, les immigrants d’Afrique subsaharienne qui tentent d’entrer en Europe se sont souvent retrouvés piégés au Maroc et dans une situation précaire.

De ce fait, le Maroc souffre d’un double phénomène : il génère de l’immigration au sein de sa population tout en consolidant sa position de pays d’accueil de nombreux pays subsahariens.

Alors que l’immigration s’est inévitablement accrue, l’intensité de la violence dans les mesures visant à contrôler cette situation a également augmenté. Le recours à la torture et aux traitements inhumains et dégradants aggrave la souffrance et la marginalisation de ces personnes qui, tout en cherchant une vie meilleure, se trouvent toujours dans un état d’existence extrême, souvent inhumain et instable.
À cet égard, la Clinique Juridique de la Faculté de droit de Fès a ouvert ses portes en 2019 pour fournir des conseils juridiques gratuits à la Faculté de droit, d’économie et de sciences sociales de l’Université Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdellah de Fès. La CJFD opère en partenariat avec la Fondation du Haut Atlas. Elle est financée par le National Endowment for Democracy et l’Initiative de partenariat États-Unis-Moyen-Orient (MEPI).

La Clinique Juridique agit principalement sur quatre axes : La migration, l’asile, la traite des êtres humains, ainsi que la médiation familiale. De pertinentes formations ont été assurées dans ce cadre, au profit de plusieurs cliniciens, qui sont au nombre de 81 aujourd’hui répartis en deux promotions.

Il est à signaler que la CJFD travaille également sur le terrain par le biais de ce qu’on appelle « La clinique Mobile » en assurant, une assistance aux bénéficiaires du programme d’aide ne pouvant pas se déplacer au local de La clinique juridique.
Deux assistants d’aide ont été recrutés pour garantir une meilleure efficience de ce programme. Il s’agit de Monsieur Abdeslam FAOUZI ZIZI et de Madame Kaoutar EL KADI. Ils ont pour finalité d’ouvrir des dossiers aux bénéficiaires du programme d’aide, les accompagner tout au long du processus d’aide, ainsi que de faire avec eux un suivi de l’état d’avancement de leurs dossiers.

Actuellement, une cinquantaine de dossiers ont été ouverts pour des bénéficiaires de différentes nationalités.

Il est évident que chaque dossier comporte un certain nombre de difficultés et d’obstacles pouvant parfois stagner et retarder le déroulement de la procédure. Mais ce qui est sûr, c’est que les assistants d’aide essayent de trouver la solution adéquate au moindre petit détail se rattachant au problème.
Pour conclure cet article, je ne peux qu’être fier de mon appartenance à cette clinique juridique qui est avant tout, une expérience humanitaire qui a pu satisfaire ma conviction d’aider les gens.

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Entering Morocco, Sub-Saharan African migrants find themselves at a crossroads. There is the promise of an economic future waiting for them in Europe, but the path to it is perilous. They require either an assurance of asylum status or some familial relationship with a European in order to enter into Europe without any problems. Unfortunately, many will have neither, forcing them into dangerous and irregular means of entry into Europe, or at times leading them to stay in Morocco. While Morocco has for most of its history been an emigration country, its geographic usefulness puts it at the forefront of migration in the Mediterranean, between one of the most populous emigration centers in the world, Sub-Saharan Africa, and one of the most popular immigration destinations in the world, Western Europe.

A hold on this northern flow of migration from Sub-Saharan Africa is unlikely, as the immigration routes have been long established, and population growth in Sub-Saharan Africa continues to rise steadily. In countries with established pathways of migration, like Ghana and Nigeria, it was found that nearly one third of all respondents indicated that they were going to leave their home country for Europe or the United States sometime in the next five years (Connor). Further research from Syed Ali in a chapter from his book entitled ‘Maligned Migrants’, explains that “while Western European countries put great restrictions on further labor migration, the [migrant] population kept growing through family reunification, and in the 1990s, through the admission of refugees.” The first initial waves of migration create a difficult to control stream of further migration, and with governmental programs like family reunification simplifying the legal complications that tend to decentivize migration, over a million Sub-Saharan Africans have moved to Europe since 2010, mostly seeking asylum or irregularly migrating (Connor). In 2018, there were more Mediterranean migrants entering Spain than any other European country, naturally signifying that Morocco was seen as the leading transit country for African migrants attempting to enter into Western Europe.

Refugees and asylum-seekers are people who leave their homes because they are fleeing from war or persecution. However, to be granted either refugee or asylum status at their destination country, they need to prove legally that they had a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or social group affiliation. While hundreds of thousands of Sub-Saharan African undocumented migrants have been classified as refugees in the United States by the UNHCR, there are many more in Europe who have struggled to receive the same classification. Furthermore, most western countries use refugee quotas, allowing the reception or resettlement of a sometimes contentious number of refugees every year. This phenomenon can exclude asylum-seekers who find themselves outside the quite narrow legal definition of refugee. For poor migrants desperate for any source of income, the legal complexities of their situation can often be difficult to fully understand, especially in countries where their legal status can be easily manipulated by those who exploit their relative lack of knowledge.

While their situation is contextually quite different, Sub-Saharan African migrants who stay in Morocco struggle with many of the same issues as their counterparts in Western Europe. While there are many Sub-Saharan African migrants who immigrate specifically to Morocco, there is also a large number of them who find themselves with no other choice but to remain in Morocco as their window of opportunity to enter Western Europe subsides. In a feature article for the Migration Policy Institute, Driss El Ghazouanoi says that ‘stuck’ Sub-Saharan African migrants have become a familiar sight to many Moroccans, most of them living without proper documents. As of now, there are roughly 700,000 Sub-Saharan migrants living in Morocco, making up about 2% of the mostly homogenous population (MPI). The Moroccan government has committed to helping these migrants, writing and passing laws that provide pathways to full citizenship, but there will be a long process to fully acclimate them into Moroccan society. There have been some reports of social discontent towards migrants (Alami), and while the Moroccan government will need to keep an eye on the rise of hate that is often associated with immigration growth, their larger issue is likely the struggle for proper documentation.

The Legal Aid Clinic (CFJD), housed at the Faculty of Social, Legal, and Economic Sciences at University Sidi Mohamed Ben Adbellah in Fes, is one of the few opportunities for migrants currently living in Morocco to be provided the proper legal assistance that would allow them to have a source of income while living in Morocco. With funding from the National Endowment for Democracy and the Middle East Partnership Initiative, the CJFD trains law students to provide pro bono legal aid to those who are in need of it most. While there are country-wide economic issues in Morocco, such as unemployment and hard-to-access social services, there are still opportunities for migrants to carve out a life for themselves in the country, such as in the Fes-Meknes region, whose decreasing urban population growth could potentially be mitigated by a rise in the migrant population (Oxford Business Group).

For many Sub-Saharan African migrants, their future legal and economic situations are frustratingly insecure. There is a dearth of resources available to them, not only in Morocco but in all of Western Europe. The CJFD in Fes is, therefore, a helpful option for migrants who need guidance and support as they transit, integrate into Moroccan society, or prepare to repatriate back to their home countries.

Max Berengaut is a student at the University of Virginia and an Intern at the High Atlas
Foundation.

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Mutually Inclusive: The Relationship Between Development and Human Rights

By: Aira Matin

This word “development” is quite heavy. It is not just a matter of improving the economic conditions of a society, but of changing lives and trying to build a better present and future. As a student from the US, it’s valuable to recognize the position that countries such as the US and others in Europe are in with respect to development. Countries have initiated projects of development focused on outcomes, without considering the needs or interests of those they are trying to help.

Development as a process often suffers from traditions of ignoring the people and human conditions on the ground. Development tends to be concerned with numbers and economic improvements rather than working on the specific outcomes for a society. Where economic solutions seem like the most effective way to improve the quality of life of those in developing countries, poverty is now being understood as less about economic needs and more about addressing underlying factors like discrimination, exploitation, and abuse. This sets the stage for human rights to enter in the discussion.

Human rights activism in Morocco rose around the 1970s, with the 1980s marking the expansion of civil society. What we have seen is that rural and indigenous groups, those who would be most affected by and involved in the development process, are often left out of human rights discourse and government policies. Additionally, there has been a distance between the language used by the larger human rights organizations and the grassroots activism on the ground. Thus, the broader world of human rights has been characterized with a lack of focus on the people and the specific needs of diverse communities throughout the country. However, with more and more groups integrating human rights approaches to their development goals, this trend has begun to change.

Development and human rights are tied together by shared norms and values, united by a common goal of building a better society for the people. A rights-based approach (RBA) to human rights, then, can enhance development goals. The Danish Institute for Human Rights notes that RBA is “based on the concept that impoverished people must be protected from illegal and unjust discrimination, dispossession, denial and disenfranchisement.” This approach helps move development away from a merely economic process. Development and human rights mutually reinforce one another, as development secures access to rights while the existence of rights enhances development. RBA shifts development as a process away from providing needs to emphasizing “society’s obligation to respond to the rights of individuals.” Here, development is increasingly focusing on humans and the extent to which they can live their lives.

Rights-based approaches in Morocco and beyond have challenged the objective tone of development, transforming the process into one that centers on humanity. The people are the agents of change involved in building their communities for themselves. For example, many ethnic communities have used social-oriented partnerships rather than market-oriented ones in order to gain support for development projects.

Rural women are another group who are increasingly articulating collective rights in opposition to the standard outcome-based approach of development. What we see here are examples of groups in Morocco who have turned development into something that values their rights as people. Moroccan human rights organizations are taking explicitly proactive human rights stances that are consistent with international human rights standards, a contrast to Western stereotypes of Arab-Islamic culture, and therefore fight against Western ideas of what the world looks like by actively better lives for the people.

The High Atlas Foundation is one of the many organizations using RBA, integrating rights into a range of issues from land rights to women’s empowerment. For example, on the issue of land, many development projects have neglected the value that rural communities place on the land itself, preferring to commodify the homes of local peoples. But HAF places value into the land, understanding it as part of the community, and helps it flourish with commitments such as tree planting.

Women’s rights is another arena where HAF acknowledges the importance of rights in development. Using the framework of Moudawana, the Moroccan family code, “HAF aims to integrate a rights-based approach into existing programs to create an inclusive women’s empowerment strategy that involves strengthening capabilities, capacities, and implementation of rights.” HAF understands that development must recognize the relationship between rights, capacities, and a sense of capacity. As a process of change, development must begin with the humans themselves, and commit to building a better world for the sake of humanity.

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Harnessing Science for Sustainable Agriculture

By Samirah Jaigirdar

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) or Global Goals are a collection of 17 interlinked global goals designed to achieve a better and more sustainable future. The SDGs were set up in 2015 by the United Nations General Assembly, to be achieved by 2030. Nations around the world adopted these goals in recognition of the fact that ending poverty must be done in tandem with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, and drive economic growth, while tackling climate change and preserving our oceans and forests.

The 17 SDGs are: (1) No Poverty, (2) Zero Hunger, (3) Good Health and Well-being, (4) Quality Education, (5) Gender Equality, (6) Clean Water and Sanitation, (7) Affordable and Clean Energy, (8) Decent Work and Economic Growth, (9) Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure, (10) Reducing Inequality, (11) Sustainable Cities and Communities, (12) Responsible Consumption and Production, (13) Climate Action, (14) Life Below Water, (15) Life On Land, (16) Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions, (17) Partnerships for the Goals.

On June 6, 2021, the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD) held a side event for the 2021 HLPF titled From Science to Practice: Harnessing Research to Build Forward Better. At this forum, a panel of experts from around the world discussed how research often fails to find its way into policy-making circles due to technical, cultural, political, institutional and financial barriers.

Unfortunately, progress on the 17 SDGs lags far behind. COVID-19 in particular has been challenging, and in some cases, the pandemic has exposed the gaps between the latest scientific discoveries and policy-making. While research and innovation alone cannot get us the 17 SDGs by 2030, collaboration across civil and political society can help get us there.

SDG 2’s aim is to end hunger, achieve food security, and promote sustainable agriculture. At the forum, the experts highlighted some of the challenges that SDG 2 faces while pursuing sustainable agriculture. For instance, the overexploitation of resources by industrial farming, exclusion of smallholder farmers, increasing precarity of subsistence farming, shifting consumption patterns, and the role of global trade in creating new nutrition challenges. Some recommendations to address these challenges were supporting farmers, drawing on local and traditional knowledge, and building collaborative networks.

In our increasingly connected world, we must find a way to bring together scientists and experts from different fields alongside public policy specialists and NGOs who can highlight historically marginalized voices. HAF’s Farmer-To-Farmer (F2F) program is an embodiment of this situation. F2F is a USAID initiative which aims to bring volunteers with expertise in numerous phases of the agricultural development value chain, including tree and plant nurseries, irrigation, cooperative-building, food safety, and commercialization of processed products to Morocco and other countries. The F2F program has demonstrated how volunteers can help individuals and organizations build local communities, bring new knowledge, and strengthen existing sustainable agriculture practices.

The COVID-19 pandemic, although devastating, showed how volunteers can even be useful in a virtual scenario. USAID encouraged F2F implementers to pair local volunteers with remote American volunteers to collaborate. HAF’s first partnership happened in the Tassa Ouirgane village in the Marrakech-Safi region. The results of this assignment include the young women registering as a formal cooperative. These women took this opportunity to learn, grow, and challenge themselves and societal norms. As F2F engages small farmers, this benefits both the farmers and the environment. Additionally, F2F builds on traditional Moroccan knowledge with the latest research on sustainable agricultural practices through volunteers. Hence, HAF’s implementation of F2F directly contributes to the pursuit of SDG 2.

Sustainable agricultural practices are sorely needed to protect the environment, preserve and expand the Earth’s natural resources, and improve soil fertility. Unfortunately, promoting industrial agriculture cannot be the answer to achieving food security through unsustainable agricultural practices. Hence, HAF helping small farmers learn and practice sustainable agriculture practices will help both economic development and achieve SDG 2.


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With its 2013 New Migration Policy (NMP), Morocco is aiming to become a welcoming destination for sub-Saharan African migrants. While this step acknowledges the value migrants add to the economy, the Moroccan economy cannot reap the full benefits of the NPM as migrants are shunted to the margins of society. To fulfill the NPM’s promise of making migrants fully integrated members of Moroccan society, programs that train migrants in sustainable agricultural practices while giving them legal advice about labor laws will provide them the framework to integrate more fully into their communities.

Agriculture is one of the driving economic forces in Morocco. The sector reflects an average 15% of GDP and 23% of the country’s exports are agricultural products. However, smallholder farmers mainly use rain-fed land, have limited access to irrigation, and lack financial resources, all of which causes overgrazing, overharvesting, and agricultural pollution. This has led to land degradation, which the World Bank estimates has an annual economic cost of $134 million. The Moroccan government has deployed two projects that aim to support small farmers by training them in land and biodiversity conservation. These projects and USAID’s Farmer-to-Farmer Program, which HAF implements in Morocco, have similar aims. The key difference between them is that the F2F program includes training on entrepreneurship and gives information on the entire agricultural chain. Hence, this program is uniquely positioned to be a crucial tool in helping irregular migrants learn farming and entrepreneurship skills that will benefit both themselves and the Moroccan economy.

Fes has become a host city for irregular migrants from sub-Saharan Africa. In the last wide-reaching survey conducted, it was revealed that secondary school education is widespread amongst them. Thus, they may be attracted towards labor intensive and/or agricultural jobs. As irregular migrants without work permits, they are highly susceptible to exploitation. Long-term migrant integration can only be successful if the migrants believe they can play a useful role in society, and if the host community welcomes them. A productive way to achieve integration is by training them to become productive agricultural workers and entrepreneurs. This method gives the migrants both job and food security while showing the local Moroccan community that they will not drain government resources. Additionally, this will make Fes a welcoming destination in which migrants can settle permanently, rather than trying to cross the Mediterranean to enter Europe.

Working together, the F2F program and the Fez Legal Aid Clinic can create a generation of migrants who are well-versed in sustainable agricultural practices and Moroccan labor laws. This sets them up for a successful integration into the Fes community. As the NMP gathers steam, the legal clinic can find ways to help irregular migrants in Fes get in line for the regularization program. During this process, the F2F program can train the migrants in sustainable agricultural practices and entrepreneurship. Their new skills will make them more marketable to local farms, and their knowledge of Moroccan labor laws will provide protection from exploitation and empower them to negotiate more favorable contracts. The extensive training they will receive from F2F, as well as the interactions they will have with the law students in the legal clinic, will also help their Darija fluency, making them more comfortable with everyday interactions in Fes.

Accepting, protecting, and empowering irregular migrants in Fez is a winning strategy for everyone. As can be observed in large refugee camps like Dadaab in Kenya, refugees and irregular migrants will try to cultivate crops in whatever space they find to ensure they have food. Unfortunately, this situation can make them feel helpless and isolated from the community into which they are attempting to integrate. Moreover, it risks land in Morocco becoming more hostile to crops due to overfarming. Equipping irregular migrants in Fez with the agricultural skills which F2F is experienced in teaching has numerous long-term benefits for both Fez and the Moroccan economy.

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Nature’s Secret Healing Powers: A Look into Nature Therapy
By Noah Ginsburg

This morning I had the privilege of attending a very special event, hosted by the Beyond Trees Network’s Dr. Tamberly Kerr Conway, a trained and licensed nature therapist who has spent the last several years training more and more nature therapists and spreading this practice across the world. Although the pandemic is nearly over, the need for social distancing, as well as the long distances between many of the participants around the globe, from India to South America, has brought on the need for using Zoom to safely and universally share the experience. Many of the activities are normally done in a closely-knit group where the natural scenes are taken in together, but because of these circumstances, we all had to experience our own bit of nature behind our screens.
So, what exactly is nature therapy? I’ll admit that going into this session, I was very skeptical. I thought I would just be meditating and maybe even doing some yoga, but I soon realized that the process is much more experiential and sensory than I thought. We began by finding a comfortable and peaceful position outside in nature. I sat in my backyard in the grass with the computer on my lap. The grass tickled my legs and the sun flickered through the leaves above my head as my session leader, Toby Bloom, began speaking gently. She asked that we close our eyes and slow our breathing, feel the natural elements around us and be conscious of them but keep our minds quiet. She implored us to think about our skin and how it felt against the cool breeze, how the hairs on our arms danced as it flowed across. She asked us to listen closely to the sounds around us, the leaves rattling, the chirping of the birds, a plane flying swiftly overhead. She asked us to breathe deeply through our noses and bring in the smells around us, all the while keeping our eyes closed and our bodies still.
After several minutes of meditating and taking in nature, she asked us to spin around and slowly open our eyes as if the image we were about to see would be for the first time. I slowly opened my eyes to find myself facing the woods behind my house. They were brightly lit and splotched with patches of shadow. It was really quite beautiful and to see it after focusing all of my senses was really something special.
Throughout the rest of the session, we explored the texture of natural things around us like grass, leaves, and rocks, and at the end, Toby performed a small tea ceremony that is commonplace in these sessions. Unfortunately, I did not have any tea made for the session so I simply had to watch behind my screen. When the session was over, I closed my computer and sat outside for just a few more minutes. I felt an overwhelming sense of peace and tranquility. My whole body felt relaxed and I felt an Earthly connection from my head to my feet. Wholistically, it made me feel very good.
Dr. Conway explained that these forms of therapy started to become popular in the late 80s and have spread across the globe, helping with depression, stress, and anxiety. The calming vibe of the therapy takes little to no effort to reach and can effectively center and relax a person in under an hour. Dr. Conway’s organization aims to improve forest welfare globally, hoping to bring economic, social, and emotional support to the public, with the aim of improving the public welfare.
If you have a moment in your day where you have just a few minutes to yourself, I would highly recommend taking the time to step outside, close your eyes, and open your senses to the natural world around you. Nature’s healing powers are nothing short of pure magic.

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Academia Has an Obligation to Serve
Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights upholds education as a right to which every individual is entitled. The opportunity to attend an institute of higher learning and improve one’s position in society, however, is available only to those who can afford it.

In most nations, the cost of education is unconscionably high. In the United States, the average cost of attendance at a university is $35,720, which stands in stark contrast to the $6,750 per year salary that public school teachers in Morocco make.

Students who can afford to attend university have an obligation that extends beyond themselves: their duties as students should not be to exclusively improve their own social standing and maximize the money they make. Instead, their focus should be one of service. In their academic undertakings, they should seek to do more than write lofty thesis statements and present abstract principles. Instead, they should use their education to serve others, giving its usefulness a much wider scope.

Academia should not and cannot exist solely within its own realm; it must respond to the world it observes. Knowledge for the sake of knowledge is not useful. To be blunt, it is a fruitless endeavor to write papers about social ills without trying to solve them.

Just as in development work, the impact of academic work should be tangible and measurable. Development organizations can appear to set out with noble goals that sound laudable on paper, but the organizations fail to execute their plans. It is easy to veil failed implementation efforts by claiming that the results are impossible to observe concretely, but this is often not the case.

While women’s empowerment, for example, sounds like an abstract concept that might be difficult to measure, the degree to which women are more empowered is demonstrable in literacy rates, women’s role in the economy, and family planning strategies. A paper on women’s empowerment that is full of feminist theories and purely hypothetical considerations is not as effectual in achieving social progress as one that points readers toward the application of theory to reality and needs.

One solution to this problem of theory vs. practicality is the wide-scale implementation of service-learning: an educational approach wherein students learn theories in the classroom and, at the same time, volunteer with an agency and engage in reflection activities to deepen their understanding of what is being taught. As stated in Multidisciplinary Perspectives on Higher Education for the Public Good: “At its best, higher education provides graduates with the ability and motivation to collaborate with others to improve their local schools, break bread with their refugee neighbor, resolve racial conflict in the community, and create economically and environmentally sustainable communities.” David Weerts believes that, ultimately, higher education for the public good may best be defined and measured by the “collective ability of postsecondary institutions to respond to key public agendas: improving economies, contributing to improved health and quality of life, and promoting the ideals of citizenship and democracy.”

The best hope we have for progress in this world is through collaboration in every area of life. A collaborative approach that involves interaction between those writing papers and those with local knowledge and lived experience on the ground will be infinitely more successful than one in which those spheres remain separate. Participatory development allows community beneficiaries to occupy a central position in creating solutions to the everyday problems they experience. This makes perfect sense: those with local knowledge understand what will prove most effective and what issues should be prioritized in the development of the nation.

Just as the High Atlas Foundation (HAF) employs a participatory approach in which the public and private sectors work together, university students who set out to write papers should consult with and be aware of the realities of the subjects of their writing. HAF President Dr. Yossef Ben-Meir argues that right now, “there is generally inadequate coordination among ministries to achieve the synergies of these national initiatives, and a lack of popular understanding and the needed skills in order to translate them into reality.” Partnerships among NGOs, business, and governments — local and national — generate solutions that cannot be achieved by any of these entities on their own.

British economist Kate Raworth has located this issue of academic isolation from the “real world” and has developed a solution. She calls it doughnut economics. The theory is based upon an economic model visually shaped like a donut, with an outer disc representing the ecological ceiling and the center hole representing the proportion of people that lack access to life’s essentials. It is meant to serve as a compass, directing human progress for the 21st century “to ensure that no one falls short on life’s essentials (from food and housing to healthcare and political voice), while ensuring that collectively we do not overextend our pressure on Earth’s life-supporting systems, on which we fundamentally depend – such as a stable climate, fertile soils, and a protective ozone layer,” says Raworth.



In her novel on the theory, Raworth writes about her time as an economics student, and her systemic lack of confrontation with real world issues and the need to problem-solve. She writes about an essay prompt she received two years into her tenure as an economics student that asked about the best way of assessing success in development. “Two years into my economic education and the question of purpose had arrived for the first time. Worse, I hadn’t even realized that it had been missing.”

Students in the 21st century are entering a world devastated by climate change and steeped with systemic social inequalities. A study of economics that responds to those realities is desperately needed. This theory identifies the issue of an economics education devoid of attention to the real world and presents a solution that should serve as a model for those of us seeking to use our education and tools for the public good.

In vain, we write papers that will never be seen by individuals other than the student and teacher. All of these projects, papers, and presentations are trapped inside a bubble, in a realm out of reach for those they are meant to help. Diagnosing problems is an essential task; however, we must also seek to develop solutions because identifying the problem is not enough. We must apply the knowledge we access to the world in which we live, striving to improve it for its inhabitants.

As a Jefferson Scholar at the University of Virginia, I am privileged to receive a free education and will not have to worry about the burden of student loan debt that weighs so heavily on so many young people today. The alleviation of this would-be financial and emotional burden frees me to dedicate my energy to service. It allows me to capitalize on my top-tier education to help those who I can help as I embark on a lifelong journey to perpetually learn from and alongside those I intend to serve. The cancellation of student loan debt would make working for the public good a possibility for many more students, enabling them to engage to a greater degree in mutually beneficial community service experiences.

A plan to solve problems includes the following steps: a) expand the reach of service-learning, b) teach subjects like politics and economics to respond to the reality in which we live and identify solutions for the crises we face, and c) advocate for the alleviation of student loan debt. Clearly, these goals cannot be met by one solitary entity; they require collaboration among universities, government agencies, and non-profit organizations, and the onus is on students themselves to serve. Together, we can progress. Alone and in isolation, we remain static.

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Crop Preservation Methods in Morocco
By Alyssa Underwood

Farmers employ a variety of post harvest crop storage to protect crops from post harvest damage. Many of the methods employed in developing countries and on small-scale farms are traditional methods that use local resources. Modern storage methods use modern technology to protect crops. Post harvest storage of horticulture crops is an important practice for small scale farmers to protect their crops. Traditional storage methods present an effective alternative to costly modern methods of storage in mitigating the effects of post harvest crop damage.


Post harvest crop damage is anything that damages the crop and keeps it from human consumption. It can be caused by insects, pests, microbes, and storage at improper humidity and temperature. Additionally, humans can cause post harvest damage by mishandling the crops. Proper storage of crops post harvest can decrease the threat of damage by isolating the crops from pests and microbes, as well as keeping crops temperature and humidity controlled to slow natural ripening processes.

Post crop harvest damage presents a large threat to agricultural profits. Post harvest damage causes 50 percent of horticultural products to be lost. Annual crop losses in Sub-Saharan Africa are equivalent to the loss of 4 billion USD. Fourteen percent of the Moroccan GDP is from agriculture, and horticultural crops comprise 85-90 percent of Moroccan market products. Therefore, proper storage practices are crucial to increasing the profitability of Moroccan farms. Farmers in one-fourth of developing countries use community level crop storage. If the storage at this level is not carried out effectively, small scale farmers could lose entire crops and their sources of income.



Traditional methods of horticultural crop storage employed on small scale farms are pits, clamps, cellars, zero energy chambers, and natural ventilation structures. These structures are generally used by small scale farmers because they employ local materials and store smaller quantities of food at a time. They are also cost effective alternatives to large, refrigerated warehouses. Pits are holes that are lined with straw or sand and use the natural coolness of the ground to keep the crops refrigerated. They are typically placed in areas of high elevation to avoid flooding due to rainfall. Clamps use straw and soil to insulate the crops. The horticultural crops are piled in a field and then covered with straw, followed by a layer of soil. Cellars are cool, dark, damp rooms that have enough ventilation to keep the humidity at the proper level. Cellars can be constructed as basements below existing buildings, built into the side of a hill for maximum drainage, or built as an aboveground structure covered by rocks and sod.




Zero energy chambers employ evaporative cooling to keep crops cool. When water evaporates, it cools the surface with which it was in contact. These structures use double brick walls, soaking the inner brick with water to keep crops cool. These can reduce the temperature by 10-15 degrees Celsius and keep humidity levels at 90 percent Finally, natural ventilation structures are constructed to maximize airflow to ensure the heat and humidity generated by the crops is removed. These structures are not well equipped to keep out pests, however spraying the crops can mitigate pest damage.

Modern storage structures employ the use of technology to control the temperature and humidity of crops. These methods are higher cost and less environmentally friendly. Cold storage is the process by which the temperature of an area is cooled to slow the cellular respiration of the crop. The lowered temperature is accomplished using refrigerants and well insulated buildings. A cold storage unit can cost as much as 170 USD per square foot. A Dutch study found that Morocco has great potential for cold storage development, as much as 1,700,000 m3. Additionally, hypobaric storage can be employed to reduce respiration of crops by keeping the atmospheric pressure low and decreasing the amount of oxygen in the environment.



Traditional methods of crop storage are effective for the short term storage of crops in high temperature arid regions like Morocco. These methods utilize low cost materials that can be found on many farms, often repurposing materials that would otherwise go to waste. They are cost-effective methods of preservation that require little input and enable the majority of the profit from the sale of horticultural products to be retained by the farmer. Many Moroccan farmers operate on fewer than five hectares of land and are economically vulnerable. These traditional methods of storage present crop protection options that don’t require major up front investment. More technological methods, like refrigerated warehouses, are better for long term storage. These methods have greater control over the storage environment and increase the adaptability of the preservation of horticultural products. However, these methods are more costly as they require materials that are not local and require the input of energy.



Post harvest crop storage is key to maintaining the profitability of agriculture. Farmers can employ many methods to keep their crops safe. Traditional methods are less costly, but do present greater risk of crop loss. Modern methods of storage are more costly, but enable more control over the conditions in which the crops are kept.

The United States Agency for International Development’s Farmer-to-Farmer Program that is implemented by the High Atlas Foundation in Morocco is in a position to assist agricultural cooperatives and education centers in evaluating effective approaches to storing yields. It is a volunteer initiative that currently connects local and American experts as they share techniques that are then transferred to Moroccan agriculturalists. They are also committed to empowerment and follow-up which help to ensure the sustainability of community projects.



Alyssa Underwood is a student of Global Studies at the University of Virginia in the United States.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Uniting Pathways for Landscape Restoration
By: Samarth Saksena

North African and Middle Eastern nations can combat climate change through well planned landscape restoration initiatives leading to carbon sequestration, but also indirect benefits like job creation, food security, and improved livelihoods and resilience. Restoration initiatives are best carried out when the right partnerships are formed between all sectors of society.

The webinar “Unlocking $100 Billion For Restoring Africa’s Landscapes: How Do We Get There?” hosted by the World Resources Institute, raised the issues of monitoring and accountability of progress on the project and a scientific approach, as required, which are vital factors for these initiatives to be successful. If nations on the edge of the ever-encroaching Sahara take these components into account, they can fight desertification and climate change through successful landscape restoration initiatives.

Countries that undertake landscape restoration projects will see environmental benefits as well as a positive change in the lives of local communities. In 2009, the International Food Policy Institute conducted a study on the impacts of agroforestry landscape restoration initiatives in Niger and Burkina Faso. In Niger, these led to carbon sequestration through an increase of 200 million new farm trees, but also increased food security in the form of 500,000 tons of additional cereal production per year. Women also saw increased equity. They had a stronger economic position due to selling products from the trees and benefited from the increased supply of firewood and water. Thus, landscape restoration through agroforestry benefits the environment and local communities.

Long-term strategic partnerships across all sectors are vital for the sustainability of landscape restoration initiatives. During the webinar, Carol Kariuki—founder of Greenpot, a bamboo company that seeks to establish nurseries in Kenya—mentioned that assessing and finding the right partners was imperative. Greenpot works with farmers, prioritizing getting money “down to the ground.”

Project monitoring and accountability enable progress to be checked, important for the success of such initiatives. Jennifer Merli, Vice-President of Corporate Sustainability at Mastercard, placed emphasis on the importance of monitoring the impacts of initiatives. In addition, Isaac Acquah of Ghana’s Environmental Protection Agency said that a challenge often faced by land restoration initiatives is getting precise, accurate data on carbon flux and tree growth. With this data, money can be spent in the right places for the greatest benefit.

Countries undertaking these landscape restoration projects must adopt a scientific approach. This comes in two parts: data collection and ecosystem planning. Carlos Manuel Rodriguez, former Costa Rican Environment and Energy Minister, explained the utilization of a land-use capacity map during Costa Rica’s initiative to restore forests that doubled their tree cover. These nations must also take a scientific approach to the species grown and planted and the ecosystems affected, taking care to use native species that will flourish. “The right trees in the right places,” as Merli called it.

Rodriguez also outlines how governments can take steps to fulfill their responsibility to ensure success in landscape restoration initiatives. First, they should take a streamlined institutional approach. In Costa Rica, the ministries that dealt with natural resources were combined into one agency, the Ministry of the Environment, removing bureaucratic obstacles. Second, governments must implement smart policies that encourage landscape restoration. Rodriguez explained that in Costa Rica, the government altered the land tenure system, recognizing private property of those living in the landscape, giving an incentive for land production and restoration. Costa Rica also taxes fossil fuels, leading to $35 million invested in payments for carbon sequestration in productive agriculture.

One non-profit organization successfully involved in landscape restoration initiatives as part of their participatory sustainable development projects is the High Atlas Foundation (HAF) in Morocco. With thirteen nurseries and over four million trees grown, they work with farmers, governments, and the private sector to build partnerships that ensure long term success. HAF’s diverse partners include Ecosia, FRÉ Skincare, University of Virginia, Credit du Maroc, and the Moroccan High Commission of Water and Forests, among many others. They also responsibly monitor the progress of nurseries and gather data on the carbon flux with an adaptive management approach. Finally, they use scientific methodologies for tree planting like those recommended by Merli and Rodriguez. HAF plants in its nurseries those native species like fig, carob, and argan that will flourish and contribute to the local environment and biodiversity.

Well-planned landscape restoration initiatives can fight climate change in North Africa and the Middle East, but also have the potential to benefit the growth of local communities. Building upon the examples found in Niger and Burkina Faso, Greenpot, Costa Rica, and the High Atlas Foundation, these countries can advance their own initiatives—a powerful tool for sustainable human development, changing lives for years to come.

EllenH63

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Education: the Key to Unlock the Door to Freedom
[published in Modern Ghana, 6/23/21]
by Prof. Ellen Hernandez

On Saturday, June 19, 2021, Americans officially recognized “Juneteenth” as a national holiday. Most Americans understand the holiday to be a celebration of the end of slavery brought about by the U.S. Constitution’s 13th Amendment. However, the day is actually a recognition of when a remote enclave of enslaved people were informed of the end of slavery more than two years after its declaration and several months before the last states ratified the amendment. The difference between what many consider the holiday to celebrate and what it truly celebrates might seem negligible to some, yet it is certainly a very important distinction, recognizing both a literal and a symbolic moment for people who had been so long denied the right to physical freedom and human dignity as well as the right to education and literacy.

While the Emancipation Proclamation officially outlawing slavery was issued in September 1862, and became effective four months later, it was not until June 19, 1865—two months after the surrender of Confederate forces and the formal end of the U.S. Civil War—that enslaved people in Galveston, Texas, first heard that order of emancipation read aloud by the Union military and became aware that they were free. The following year, freed people in Galveston began what became known as “Jubilee Day,” and observation of the event and its symbolism has grown gradually over the 155 years since then, becoming an officially-recognized federal holiday signed into law in 2021 by President Biden.

This holiday brings to mind the ways in which we experience individual freedom. The people of Galveston in 1865 were unaware of the declaration, unaware of the law, unaware of their status. This was not solely because they were in a remote area some distance from the seat of government but also because they lacked the literacy that would have enabled them to read the posted notices. Without information, knowledge, and learning, how is one to know one’s rights and, with those rights, envision a future for oneself?

In Morocco, there is a vital code that governs family law but that is not known to all of the people it protects—particularly women—depending on whether they live in rural areas and are literate. The Moudawana (Ar. Mudawwanat al-aHwaal al-shakhSiyyah) is the Personal Status Code that encompasses issues of marriage, divorce, inheritance, self-guardianship, and child custody, among others. While first established in 1958 following the nation’s independence from France, the 2004 reform (also enshrined in the 2011 constitutional revision) addresses women’s rights and gender equality in ways that the original did not. Hence it appeased to some extent those feminist and human rights activist groups calling for more widespread attention to socioeconomic inequality and violence against women, groups such as l'Union de l'Action Féminine (UAF or Women’s Action Union).

Life and opportunity are quite different between urban and rural areas of Morocco. Some studies estimate that only about 16 percent of rural women are aware of their rights stipulated in the most recent amendments to the family code whereas 95 percent of urban women know about the code. In fact, five times as many rural women have never heard of it at all. For such women, this lack of awareness is due in a large part to an incomplete formal education since only about one-third of girls continue their schooling beyond primary level and about 60 percent of rural women are not literate. There is a direct correlation between level of education and awareness of rights with 100 percent of those with a secondary education knowing at least something about the Moudawana. Rural women are also less likely to be engaged in local governance or civil society than their urban counterparts and less likely to hold positions in the labor force or have financial independence, all factors that would increase the likelihood of awareness.

How does level of awareness impact Moroccan women? To begin, a girl who does not know that the legal age for marriage was raised from 15 to 18 and that she cannot be compelled by her father into a marriage or that she is legally entitled to schooling might believe she has no say over her own future. Likewise, a woman who does not know that she has a right to her financial assets or a right to enter into a business contract without her husband’s permission might not pursue her dream of financial contribution to her family’s income or financial independence for herself and her children. Furthermore, a woman who is unaware of her rights to a divorce or to child custody might remain in a dissatisfying marriage or, worse, continue to be physically or psychologically abused fearing the loss of her children or believing she has no options or protections.

There continue to be barriers to implementation of the laws in rural areas, as one might imagine. These include inadequate training about the reforms for judges in provincial government, paving the way for individual decisions that revert to older customs, and also the presence of a stronger sense of traditionalism. In rural areas, the more immediate everyday needs take precedence, and concepts of legal equality hold a lower priority than food, clean water, adequate housing, and sanitation. The lack of access to education due to distance or finances and its attendant illiteracy coupled with the home languages of the largely Amazigh population in the rural areas concentrated in the Rif and Atlas Mountains additionally prohibit awareness of laws written in formal Arabic.

Current efforts to address the lack of awareness are occurring through “Imagine” women’s self-discovery and empowerment workshops led by the High Atlas Foundation, including through its implementation of a Legal Aid clinic in partnership with the Faculty of Social, Juridical, and Economic Legal Studies at University Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdellah (FSJES-USMBA). The High Atlas Foundation is a Moroccan association and a U.S. 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 2000 by former Peace Corps Volunteers committed to furthering sustainable development. HAF supports Moroccan communities in implementing human development initiatives by promoting organic agriculture, women’s empowerment, youth development, education, and health. The Legal Aid Clinic (CFJD)—funded by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and the U.S.-Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI)—actively engages students in experiential and service learning for the benefit of marginalized communities in the Fes-Meknes region. Recently, for example, one such workshop was held in Sefrou; these four-day workshops include Moudawana rights-based education in the curriculum. Vulnerable populations such as women and migrants provided with legal assistance and information are more supported in knowing and exercising their rights.

To achieve greater gender parity and protection for women, they must first be informed of their rights under the Moudawana. Steady but slow increases in access to formal education must be supported and enhanced to bring the literacy levels of rural women into alignment with their more educated urban peers. Participatory community development that includes women’s empowerment and rights-based education must continue to spread across the nation to give women a voice and a vision and a say over the course of their lives. Training and recruitment and capacity-building must be a priority to increase women’s employment opportunities, and even more importantly for the good of Morocco, presence in economic and political leadership roles. As former Chilean president Michelle Bachelet once remarked, “When one woman is a leader, it changes her. When more women are leaders, it changes politics and policies.” An empowered woman is imbued with self-confidence that benefits her family, her village, and her society. It begins with the knowledge that allows her to imagine her future.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Progress at the Imegdale Nursery

By: Said Bennani, HAF Project Manager and HAF Team

On June 4, 2021, Project Manager Said Bennani and a group of volunteers visited the Imegdal and Tassa Ouirgane nurseries.

The first stop was the Imegdal nursery, where they met nursery caretaker Hassan Ait Ba on the new nursery land. To date, five terraces have been built on the new land. Three greenhouses have been installed, and a water storage system has also been built. The greenhouses will have the capacity to plant almost 60,000 carob seeds.

The planting and the irrigation system installation should be completed in a two-week time frame. After that, Hassan will plant 20,000 argan seeds. The old nursery also has 50,000 argan seeds and 60,000 carob. The carob and the argan seeds are growing very well but more slowly on the sides that face a lot of wind.

By the end of this year, after transplanting all the saplings grown at the old nursery, Said and the volunteers will move all the materials, greenhouses, and irrigation system to the new land. Hassan was asked to plant as many trees as possible on the old land for when they return it to the local cooperative.

Said and his group hope to visit the nursery often to make sure everything is installed and working well on the new nursery land and to monitor Hassan’s progress. There are now four employees working at the nursery in addition to Hassan, and the plan is to add two more workers to complete the planting process swiftly.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Tadmamt and Akrich Fruit Tree Nurseries

By Said Bennani, HAF Project Manager and HAF Team

HAF Project Manager Said Bennani, Driver Abdelghani Kastih, and volunteer Youssef Tahri, all visited the Tadmamt and Akrich nurseries on June 3, 2021, to start off an insightful visit and viewing of the communities. The first stop was in Tadmamt, where they met assistant nursery caretaker Abdeltif Outazki, who walked them around the nursery and checked on the saplings and the seeds. They observed that since the last visit to the nursery, progress has been made, but there is still more to be done in choosing the best seeds and installing the irrigation system.

The challenge they examined at the nursery then is that the weeds grow very quickly since the saplings are frequently watered. The caretaking team, including nursery caretaker Si Omar Outazki, increased their work time in order to keep up with weeding while simultaneously preparing the almond and cherry saplings for grafting. In utilizing a teamwork approach, weeding should only take one week of dedicated work. Another two or more days are needed to prepare the grafting of the almond and cherry saplings. Hopefully, if the almond saplings grow efficiently enough, they will only take four weeks, and the cherry only two.
Additionally, the water storage system was full. Alhamdulillah, this year there is enough water for the nursery. Two more people will be hired to remove the dirt and plants that grow in the storage container so that the irrigation system will be filled with clean water and its space for water storage optimized. For the irrigation, more valves must be added at the main pipelines to control and distribute the pressure for each part of the nursery equally since work is being done on the terraces.

That same afternoon, the team also met with Akrich nursery caretaker Abderrahim Beddah to monitor the nursery together. Abderrahim is giving great attention to the carob saplings every day, and next year, 30,000 carob saplings may be distributed from this nursery. Abderrahim is very happy with the solar water pumping system at the nursery that was donated by FENELEC, and he informed us that the local communities of and around Akrich are learning the importance and the advantages of the solar system when they visit the Akrich nursery. Abderrahim enjoys explaining its function at the nursery. What is encouraging is that the local people are eager to learn more about how solar energy can help to pump their drinking water.

The Akrich nursery was the first of HAF’s “House of Life” interfaith nurseries, beginning as a pilot project in 2012 and built adjacent to the seven-hundred-year-old tomb of Rabbi Raphael Hacohen. Its success influenced the establishment of a second such nursery in Imerdal, near Ouarzazate, which overlooks the 1,000-year-old burial place of the Moroccan Jewish saint Rabbi David-ou-Moché and was built at the direction of His Majesty King Mohammed VI of Morocco with funding from the National Initiative for Human Development (INDH).

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Real Price of Marriage in South Sudan

By Hanna Hassan
Virginia, USA

August of this year will mark the one-year anniversary of the end of South Sudan’s civil war, yet recent surges of violence suggest that peace is far from being realized. These attacks by armed groups include instances of sexual violence against women and girls.

Sexual and gender-based violence (GBV) continues to be a significant characteristic in South Sudan’s conflict, threatening the livelihood and human rights of women and girls. UNICEF reports approximately 65% of women and girls in South Sudan have experienced physical or sexual violence in their lifetimes. These forms of GBV can leave women and girls with severe mental and physical health problems.

Why is the rate of sexual violence so high in South Sudan? According to human rights experts, the answer can be found in a fundamental element of South Sudan’s local economy—bride price.

In South Sudan, if a man would like to marry a woman, his family would have to pay for her, often in cows or goats, based on her negotiated value. Once women are married off, they are expected to bear many children, including daughters who are viewed as assets to acquire more cattle. Therefore, early and forced marriages are common with more than 50 percent of girls married before the age of 18. Many young girls are married to elderly suitors because those men have more assets.

The objectification and commodification of women in South Sudanese society allow for a culture in which GBV is accepted and normalized. Traditional gender roles and conditions of poverty sustain the practice of paying bride price.

The lack of women’s rights in South Sudan not only leads to suffering but also challenges efforts to promote peace. Cultural notions that women are homemakers and child-bearers drive inequity. Only 7 percent of girls finish primary school and fewer than 2 percent go on to high school. Families may also worry that girls may be sexually assaulted on their journeys to school, lowering their value and bride price. GBV prevents girls from pursuing their dreams and keeps families trapped in generational poverty. The return on education is worth re-evaluating the importance placed on paying bride price. Studies show that a single year of primary school education has been shown to increase women’s wages by up to 20% later in life.

If South Sudan is to undergo significant economic development, women and girls must have access to education. “Women have the opportunity to contribute in building this nation into a country that is stable and peaceful,” said South Sudanese activist Rita Lopidia at the inaugural Women Building Peace Award. Gender equity is intimately tied to achieving stability in South Sudan.

It is imperative that the government of South Sudan takes steps to reduce the prevalence of GBV and increase access to education. Addressing the root of this issue, begins with regulating bride price. Excessive bride prices are a burden on both men and women. Men who can not afford bride prices experience feelings of inadequacy and social seclusion. Village youths put their life at risk during livestock raids in neighboring tribes to be able to afford marriage. Women experience violence in the form of physical and sexual violence resulting from the valuation of their worth in terms of livestock. By targeting social norms that perpetuate these levels of violence, South Sudan can inspire a movement towards rehabilitation and rebuilding.

Although commonly held perceptions will not change overnight, community-based efforts towards GBV education and awareness-raising will lay the foundation for establishing lasting women's rights laws and policies. If women can become workshop leaders, teachers, and decision-makers in implementing the peace accords, South Sudan will be able to envision a country that serves the needs of all of its people.

The real price of marriage in South Sudan is the opportunity to realize peace and stability. Although bride price is commonly paid in cows and goats, families also sacrifice the well-being of their daughters and higher earning potentials.

The rise of physical and sexual violence in recent weeks indicates that South Sudan is at risk of falling back into large-scale conflict. If South Sudan is to continue on the path of peacemaking and change conditions of underdevelopment, regulating bride prices needs to be on the agenda.

Hanna Hassan is an undergraduate student at the University of Virginia, currently interning at the High Atlas Foundation.

1 Zainab H.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The OES Closing Ceremony:
A Final Chapter and a New Beginning !

The closing ceremony of the OES small grants program took place on zoom on the 2nd of June, 2021. It was an opportunity for the CSO sub-grantees and the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs representatives to get together to share the results achieved during the 2 year program duration.

The program, which is funded by the High Atlas Foundation in partnership with OES, seeks to increase civil society engagement in environmental protection and to promote public participation in environmental decision-making. It enabled four 4 selected CSOs in Jordan and Morocco to launch their projects in order to benefit local communities socially, economically and environmentally. All of the associations, including MIRRA, Dar Si Hmad, AFCD and Al-Fath association were able to present the objectives, results and impact of their projects.

Taking the example of Al-Fath for culture and development, the association, which is a Moroccan CSO operating in Bouchane and Ait Taleb villages in Rhamna Province north of Marrakech, was able to implement a project entitled The Environmental Challenge thanks to OES funding in order to contribute to the alleviation of pollution in the region and establish a culture of environmental preservation. According to Mr. Aichane, 70 % of the objectives were met, however, 30% were difficult to be achieved due to some problems in relation to the sanitary crisis that impeded the process of the project. Generally, among the goals met we find:
● the implementation of a nursery and 2 greenhouses
● provision of 12 agricultural farms with natural organic fertilizers
● the planting of 113760 fruit trees,
● the provision of 3 wells with solar pumps

Similarly in Jordan, MIRRA association was able to implement a project entitled “Realizing Sustainable Agriculture in Azraq” in order to overcome the problem of water pumping overuse while stimulating agricultural activities as well as economic and social growth in the area. The project implementation according to Ms Ahlam Al Shufarat, representative of MIRRA, ensured:
● The achievement of sustainable, decentralized farm models in the area,
● the reduction of the electricity bills for farmers
● the increase of the annual food production to meet local needs without depending on imports.
● Building capacity for farmers and students through the implementation of trainings and workshops
● the writing of two booklets which gathered the knowledge on the application of sustainable rural agriculture in Azraq

The impact of the projects both in Morocco and Jordan have had a remarkable positive effect on the local communities. Mr. Yossef Ben-Meir mentioned that the bureau’s support in implementing these projects has built a firm basis for the organization’s growth while creating partnerships between different CSOs. It is in fact a meeting that marks both the closing ceremony and the beginning of sustainable commitment to carry on this initiative and to move it forward in order to achieve the visions of different communities on a national and an international level.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

WALK ON THE GREEN TERRACES
Fieldwork in the Toubkal community

by Simona Zupanc

On Tuesday, 25th of May we started our journey to the Toubkal community. We went together with the project manager Amina El Hajjami, program assistant Safae Ben Karroum and volunteer Youssef Tahiri. Although we did not know each other, I easily joined the group of highly motivated, knowledgeable and smiling people. The way to Toubkal was marked by many bends, small villages on the way and beautiful views. Millennial relationships between humans and nature have shaped the landscapes of the High Atlas Mountain and this is certainly breathtaking.

After we arrived at our accomodation Dar Amsouzzart we met with a group of women from the local cooperative from the village called Aguerzrane. The women with the support of HAF and the USAID Farmer-to-Farmer Program recently started a cherry tree nursery. The tree nursery is set in the terraced area of ​​the Atlas Mountains. During the workshops women learned how to plant trees, watering plants, managing the field etc. and this helped them to independently manage the tree nursery which gives women the monthly income. That day highly motivated women were also discussing with us about their future plans and how HAF can support them.

During the fieldwork we met a lot of happy faces of the locals, those faces are definitely proof that HAF projects are achieving their purpose. As director of the project Amina El Hajjami said to me: “As long as I see the result, nothing is too hard to do.” Gratitude was repeatedly expressed to us by invitations to traditional Moroccan tea, coffee or to homemade delicacies.

Afterwards, we were warmly welcomed by the president of the village called Missour. The Foundation would like to help the women of this community to build new terraces for agriculture in order to support their cooperative and the local economy. HAF staff checked the area where they could build new terraces and plant more trees in the future.

On the 26th we spent mostly in the fields of the nearby village Amosart. HAF in collaboration with Credit Agricole Foundation helps local farmers to secure organic certification. In order to apply for the certification for mainly walnuts and almonds we measured the sizes of each farmer's lands. Farmers recognize the added value of organically grown plants and they were proud to tell us that they do not use any chemicals for their trees. We could hear farmers saying many times: “here everything is bio.”

The day was spent by tracking the farmer’s land with the accompaniment of a local farmer. Despite walking a lot up and down the terraced fields, we still had a chance to sweeten up with nicely ripe cherries, and refresh ourselves with water from springs.

The third day we continued tracking the farmer’s land sizes. Farmer Lachen received us and took us through the terraces of Agadir village. Farmers here seem to feel very comfortable in the mysterious Atlas mountain. They deftly overcome the ascents and valleys of this hilly area without much difficulty. They also find themselves very well among the fields, which are intertwined with various waterways, water springs, terraces and trees.




Despite being inspired by the amazing work of the project director Amina El Hajjami, I was also fascinated about the passion and joy of local farmers. Devoted volunteer Youssef Tahiri and always smiling project assistant Safae Ben Karroum also contributed to the smooth running of the fieldwork. Even though the terrain in the Toubkal region is not easy - we have seen villages that are facing lack of water, the terrain is difficult, the chances of landslides are high - people still find amazing ways to grow vegetables and plant fruit trees. Green terraces into rocky slopes and countless waterways, give the villages a unique view. This is proof of a strong will and connection with nature.

As someone who grew up on a high mountain farm myself, I was able to identify extremely well with the locals. At the same time, a visit to the Toubkal community inspired me for new projects in my home community. Above all, I recognized the tremendous importance of planting trees, which is important not only for the local economy but also for the environment.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

After nearly a year of working with the High Atlas Foundation on the development of a business plan for value added-walnut processing as volunteer consultants from the University of Pennsylvania, our team had the opportunity to visit several of HAF’s agricultural cooperatives and walnut tree nurseries in the Al Haouz province of Morocco. While visiting these sites, we spoke to local growers and processors in order to understand the progress of existing projects, goals for future development, and barriers that remain to maximizing economic and social returns for rural communities.

We began our trip with a visit to the House of Life Fruit Tree Nursery in Akrich. We were amazed by the innovative agricultural techniques that have allowed this nursery to sustainably grow and thrive. After a tour of the nursery and burial ground of a Jewish-Moroccan saint, we enjoyed a traditional Moroccan breakfast with the caretaker and another volunteer from Slovenia who has been in Akrich since January conducting anthropological research. In addition to issues related to sustainable agriculture, we discussed structural barriers to girls’ education in the region.

From Akrich, we continued our journey and made our next stop at HAF’s walnut processing facility in Al Haouz. This visit was particularly meaningful as it imbued our work from the past several months with a concrete, perceptible dimension. Seated at the front steps of the facility, in a small courtyard with a breathtaking view of the High Atlas Mountains, we received a highly detailed account of the various steps involved in walnut-processing operations, from the initial purchase of raw walnuts from local growers to the packaging, labeling and certification of finished products. This conversation was invaluable to our finalization of the business plan, helping us to verify and adjust our assumptions to fit the specific social, economic, and environmental context of the local community.

Our final visit of the afternoon was to the Takhrkhourt Women’s Cooperative. After sharing some laughs over stories of their time attending primary school together, the young women emphasized to us the sense of inner peace and happiness that they had found in their work at the cooperative. They disclosed that after years of staying at home, the opportunity to go to work each day and to witness and enjoy the fruits of their labor has been enormously fulfilling.

The following day, we visited the Aboghlo Cooperative in Asni. The women here shared with us their experiences in HAF’s Imagine Workshop, an empowerment program that provides training in communication, coalition-building, and conflict mediation. We were struck by the strong sense of camaraderie among these women, and the candor and conviction with which they articulated their needs for improving working conditions.

At another cooperative higher up in the mountains, our conversations centered around the continued challenge of securing funding for solar panels and sustainable water systems to support the continued growth of tree planting initiatives in the region. We learned about HAF’s youth environmental training and educational programs which focus on the importance of planting trees for sustainable carbon reduction, food security, and stable income for village communities. Additionally, we spoke to a women’s cooperative about their personal goals and aspirations, from finishing their studies to pursuing careers in programming and fashion design.

Our final visit was to one of HAF’s largest nurseries, which has been operational for 13 years and is tucked away in a shaded terrace of incredibly beautiful and verdant land. We were shown the advanced irrigation system that waters the trees and learned about HAF’s ongoing effort to transition away from a gas-powered water source to solar-powered irrigation.

Our visits to HAF’s sites these past two days have been incredibly informative and serve as a powerful reminder of the reasons we remain committed to this work and the lives and livelihoods that are at stake.

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I was as an intern with HAF through UVA's Global Internships Program in the spring of 2021. Here is one of the articles that I wrote as part of my internship that was published in Morocco World News:

Empowering Women to Combat Climate Change
By Shivani Lakshman / May 8, 2021

Climate change is likely the most urgent crisis facing us in the 21st century. Rising temperatures are causing increasingly frequent and severe natural disasters, more droughts and heat waves, precipitation changes, and sea level rise. Consequently, this is leading to high levels of food insecurity, mass displacements, the spread of disease, and many other social, economic, and political challenges worldwide.

Morocco is particularly vulnerable to climate change. Since the 1960s, Morocco’s climate has increased by 1°C, and projections indicate an increase of 1-1.5° until 2050. This temperature increase is associated with reductions in mountain snow cover and in rainfall; projections indicate a decline of 10 to 20 percent in average precipitation across the country by 2100.
Consequently, droughts are becoming more frequent. Sea level is projected to rise between 18-59 centimeters by 2100, threatening 60 percent of Morocco’s population in coastal cities. Some areas of the northern coast are already eroding by 1 meter each year. Lastly, water resources are also under increasing pressure, with water shortages now expected by 2020 and 2050 in many southern regions.

Climate change will have devastating consequences on all sectors of the population, but women will bear the brunt. Women across the globe are highly dependent on natural resources, as they are typically tasked with collecting water, food, and fuel for cooking. As droughts and water scarcity increase, women and girls spend more time and energy collecting water instead of earning money or attending school.

Furthermore, women often face unequal access to resources and limited mobility in rural areas, restricting their ability to provide for themselves and their families. A World Bank survey in 141 countries in 2012 reported that 103 nations impose legal differences on the basis of gender that hinder women’s economic opportunities.

With fewer rights and economic capacities, women are often at greatest risk when natural disasters strike. Disasters such as extreme droughts or floods can lead to women’s displacement from their homes Some may resort to early marriage or prostitution to alleviate financial pressures caused by the loss of livelihoods.

Women are one of the most vulnerable demographics to the climate change crisis, but their involvement and empowerment is also crucial to its solution. Women and girls make up 51 percent of the world’s population, and their needs, perspectives, and ideas must be considered in effective, equitable, and sustainable planning to curb global warming.

For one, the climate crisis threatens the world’s food systems, and the Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that we must raise food production by 70 percent by 2050 to feed the growing population.

Women comprise 43 percent of the agricultural labor force in developing nations, yet they are often deniedloans, land ownership rights, and other resources. This in turn hinders their ability to produce maximum yields. Meanwhile, many forests are cleared each year to grow more crops, contributing significantly to climate warming. If provided with the same access to resources as men, women could increase their agricultural yields by 20 to 30 percent, reducing world hunger by 12 to17 percent. If women’s farms yielded as much as men’s, about 2 billion tons of carbon dioxide would be prevented from entering the atmosphere between now and 2050.

A report by the climate research organization Project Drawdown estimates that increasing girls’ education and women’s access to family planning would reduce the amount of carbon that enters the atmosphere by 85 gigatons by 2050. Giving women access to high-quality reproductive healthcare allows them to choosethe number of children they want to have, curbing population growth and reducing global emissions. Additionally, the more education a woman has, the fewer children she has. Granting women and girls the right to education also increases their economic opportunities, decreasing their vulnerability to climate change, and may also increase their influence in the political sphere. Countries with high representation of women in politics are more likely to ratify international environmental treaties and undertake stronger efforts to combat climate change. Yet a 2015 study reviewing 881 environmental sector ministries from 193 countries found that only 12 percent of environmental ministers were women.

The High Atlas Foundation (HAF) is doing important work to empower women in the agricultural sector, including through the USAID Farmer-to-Farmer Program, to tackle climate change in Morocco. HAF engages women in rural communities to plant organic fruit trees that build food security and reduce carbon emissions.

Through a participatory development approach, HAF also works to improve women’s project management, decision- making, and leadership capacities, empowering them to initiate changes in their communities that promote the well- being of both people and the planet. Ultimately, empowering women empowers societies to tackle climate change, and we must engage women if we want to protect the planet and humanity.