The HAF is concluding two new partnership agreements in the Rahmna province. These partnership agreements include planting botanical gardens and tree nurseries to benefit the school children and the surrounding rural communities. The partnerships also include environmental awareness workshops that are interactive, fun, and informative.
The first partnership agreement is with the school of Bouchane and there a nursery of olive and pomegranate trees will be planted in an area of 2,500 square meters. Over a five year period, this will generate approximately 100,000 trees which will be distributed to 40 villages in the area and will benefit approximately 8,000 people. With your kind and thoughtful support, we can implement this project starting January 2016.
The second partnership agreement is with an elementary school in Ait Taleb. Here, school children and families will plant a botanical garden of local wild medicinal plants which, if cultivated, have market value while at the same time, they promote bodily health and environmental strength. The HAF looks forward to sharing knowledge about these plans and how they can be an important part of improving rural incomes and sustainably addressing rural poverty. We hope very much that you join this partnership to benefit rural Moroccan families who will happily give their time and energy to implement these projects if the seeds and tools are provided.
On a Saturday in March, the Teachers Association of Life Sciences and the Earth, partnering with the High Atlas Foundation, completed planting 110 Argon, carob and olive trees with students at the Sidi Bouskri School in Smimou, Essaouira.
With the support of the PaperSeed Foundation and the Embassy of Switzerland, Rabat, this project is also planting a community tree nursery of 40,000 fruit seeds, and is working to establish an organic agricultural value-chain with rural communities.
The trees planted marked the beginning of a tree nursery, an environmental education program and, eventually, a crucial source of revenue to benefit the students of this small rural school, based near Essaouira. According to Abderrahim Ouarghidi, HAF’s Director of Programs, students will soon learn to care for saplings, which will eventually be distributed to local farmers.
“That nursery is going to be not only for generating income for rural families, but it’s going to be a fun and interesting opportunity for the kids to learn stuff about how they can build a nursery, and how they can organically maintain trees that greatly enhance their lives,” said Ouarghidi.
HAF and the Teachers Association of Life Sciences and the Earth are signing in the month of April 2015 the partnership agreement related to the nursery and assisting human development in the area. The immediate objective is to build a well, terraces, a greenhouse, and plant 40,000 seeds, over the next six months.
The Sidi Bouskri nursery is part of Sami’s Project, a program focused on enhancing elementary school education and breaking the cycle of poverty through environmental education, tree planting activities and improved infrastructure. Through Sami’s Project, HAF has worked with 152 schools to plant trees, and built clean drinking water systems and bathrooms with 10 schools, four school classrooms, and one teacher’s house. HAF also offers tutoring and scholarships to empower students from families engaged in subsistence agriculture to pursue higher education.
Moroccan farmers are planting all across Morocco, and the High Atlas Foundation and Sami’s Project are no exception. In mid-January, Project Manager Amina El Hajjami visited twenty-one elementary school students in Al Houz province. The Moroccan semester break is ending, and the next two weeks will bring both many more plantings both around Marrakech and much farther afield.
On January 17th, two HAF staff members visited several schools in rural areas around Amzmiz, a small town at the foot of the Atlas Mountains. At many of the schools visited, as soon as staff members began unloading trees grown in HAF’s nurseries, students rushed to help bring trees and prepare the planting site.
After a brainstorm about the benefits of trees and how they contribute to both the environment and the economy, students got to work planting the tree that they had brought into the school. Some schools were well established and larger, whereas others further outside of the city consist of a network of one-room schools.
By the end of the day, students planted 195 trees at seven different schools, including 80 pomegranate, 30 walnut, and 30 olive trees. This is just one day in HAF’s ongoing planting season. Furthermore, the High Atlas Foundation is currently finalizing draft activities for a standardized environmental education curriculum for teachers and administrators to expand and adapt. In the spirit of HAF’s dedication to participatory planning, teachers will determine the majority of the curriculum design at a workshop including administrators and parent organization members at the end of this month.
Tree plantings at elementary schools in rural Morocco are not just tree plantings—they allow students to gain a sense of responsibility in caring for their tree and a more pleasant environment in which to go to school every day. Thank you for supporting our goal of allowing students to learn about the environment while making their schools better places!
Things are continuing to move forward with Sami’s Project. HAF Project Manager Amina El Hajjami
visited more schools to follow up on tree planting starting in January. Amina visited Imgdal elementary
school in the Rural Commune of Asni in the Al Haouz Province, and Talbrit elementary school. In both
schools she met with administrators and teachers to discuss their needs to ensure they have the
resources to maintain the trees as well inform them that HAF has developed an environmental
curriculum for the schoolschildren. Amina also interviewed students to find out about how they care for
the trees at the schools.
The students expressed their enjoyment for caring for the trees and the sense of responsibility they
have to help them grow. She gave a presentation to students during lunch about why students should
care for the environment.
At both schools teachers and administrators mentioned access to water as a challenge when caring for
the trees, however both schools were continuing to maintain the health of the trees.
In September HAF brought on a volunteer to develop an environmental science curriculum for the
schools to use throughout the year. The curriculum is a working document and currently has lessons and
activities focusing on farming, water conservation, composting, and greenhouse gases. This is a great
start for what we expect to be a beneficial component to Sami’s Project.
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New York City and Marrakech,
NY (US) & AlHaouz (Maroc)