High Atlas Foundation

For sustainable prosperity in Morocco

aka HAF   |   New York, NY   |  http://www.highatlasfoundation.org/

Mission

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 to take action in implementing human development initiatives. It promotes sustainable organic agriculture, women’s empowerment, youth development, education, health, and capacity building. Since 2011, HAF has maintained Consultancy Status at the United Nations Economic and Social Council.

Ruling year info

2001

President

Dr. Yossef Ben-Meir

Main address

511 Sixth Avenue #K110

New York, NY 10011 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

85-0478294

NTEE code info

Economic Development (S30)

Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (K01)

Youth Development Programs (O50)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Blog

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Morocco suffers from extreme drought, chronic unemployment, and elevating prices of basic foodstuffs. Further, circumstances are problematic due to the fact that approximately three out of the four million Moroccans currently living in poverty are in rural areas. According to Morocco’s Ministry of Agriculture, 70% of agricultural land generates only 10-15% revenue due to cultivating barley and corn. Many schools, particularly in rural areas, lack existing or functioning bathrooms and clean water, consequently deterring female students from attending school. Notably, unhygienic, non-inclusive school environments are a driving force behind high dropout rates for girls across the country. Over 94% of women had never heard about Moudawana [women’s rights in Morocco]. Most indicated that national processes hardly reached remote areas. They felt they could not secure their rights, with illiteracy being a most contributing factor.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Economic Development Through Women's Self-Discovery:

The High Atlas Foundation aims to cultivate a network of empowered agents of change who support women in achieving their socioeconomic rights and abilities. By conducting workshops that integrate a rights-based approach to Moroccan family law (Moudawana), HAF aims to foster women’s self-discovery, a necessary step in the process of increasing female participation in the economy. HAF will implement its Imagine workshop, innovated in conjunction with the U.S.-based Empowerment Institute, which now incorporates both the RBA and participatory economic planning approaches. These workshops focus on helping women achieve their self-identified economic goals through cooperative development. Women will become educated on their rights and their human potential outside of their strict traditional boundaries. Otherwise, as we have observed, their decision-making may be removed from what they actually feel and think.

Population(s) Served
Women and girls
Families

Sami’s Project, initiated in 2011, seeks to enhance the education system by creating green spaces through supplying and planting trees at local schools in predominantly rural communities. The green spaces aim to transform students into environmental stewards, in which they cultivate a connectedness to their environment, while building innovative agricultural techniques to support them in their future endeavors. These agricultural skills include nursery management, organic certification, carbon offset monitoring, and product processing. The concentration on organic agriculture fosters an increasingly competitive market that generates sustainable revenue for local schools and families.

Inspired by Sami El Kouhen, who passed away at three years old amidst his struggle with cancer, the project maintains his admirable devotion and gratitude for the environment around him. Sami’s father, a key-figure in the creation of Sami’s Project, expresses deep gratitude towards its ability to fulfill his son’s dreams manifested through the vibrant passion and smiles of the impacted children.

The sustainable development project additionally focuses on developing any lacking infrastructure that may be absent in poor, rural communities, including clean water systems, bathrooms and classrooms. Investment in accessible bathrooms and clean drinking water will not only reduce health and sanitation risks for children but also increase attendance, decrease dropout rates, and secure a safer and more comfortable learning environment for Morocco’s future leaders. Forming a more hygienic learning environment increases accessibility to education for girls, a vital contributor to women’s empowerment.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
At-risk youth

Morocco’s Ministry of Agriculture estimated one billion trees are needed to break the poverty cycle affecting farming families as they currently struggle to transition to more lucrative cash crops and to grow nurseries. Nurseries must be created for Morocco to generate the trees required to lift its inhabitants out of poverty. However, farming families are concerned about risk as they make the transition from barley and corn--even as it keeps them in poverty--to more lucrative cash crops. The High Atlas Foundation has 15 nurseries in five provinces of Morocco, where they produce varieties of organic fruit trees, forestry trees, and herbal and wild medicinal plants. Trees include; almond, Argan, carob, cherry, fig, grape, lemon, olive, pomegranate, quince, and walnut. Plants also include Calendula officinalis. Planting trees helps the environment, builds forestry, produces food and a source of income for families, connect students and communities with nature, and promote organic green growth. HAF provides a good model that is transferable beyond Morocco for green organic growth and development.

Population(s) Served
Families
Indigenous peoples

Although local villagers rank water supply as a priority, they lack the institutional and material capacities to effectively implement projects and cooperate with government agencies and NGOs. Partnerships between HAF and village-level institutions, Moroccan NGOs, and government ministries lead to the construction essential infrastructures for safe and accessible drinking water. Concurrent sessions raise awareness and improve responses to larger, underlying health issues, as well as focusing on the enhancement of local development and organizational capacities through the establishment and/or training of village associations. Both infrastructure construction and workshops complement each other to ensure the proper operation and continual maintenance of water systems, as well as the knowledge, means and incentives to initiate other community-led development actions and effectively collaborate with outside government agencies and development organizations. The relationships and experience resulting from collaboration between local, regional, and international partners allow the project to serve as a model that can be replicated in other areas lacking potable water throughout Morocco.

Population(s) Served
Families
Indigenous peoples

An embodiment of Morocco’s integrated development approach is its way to preserve its diverse cultures. Morocco’s vision is that cultural activities should be advanced in integration with people’s development. HAF’s cultural projects critically move forward human development, in education, livelihoods, the environment, and with people in remote places.

First, HAF facilitates the lending of vacant land adjoining historic Jewish burial sites in order to establish nurseries. The trees are distributed to and grown by neighboring Muslim farming families. This act both meets a development priority and is a notable act of interfaith. We piloted the tree nursery phase, which resulted in the cultivation of 120,000 almond, fig, pomegranate and lemon trees. The experience helped HAF be granted seven plots of land nearby Jewish cemeteries; we can now strive for growing organic nurseries on a national scale. At scale, tens of millions of seeds will be planted every year and a better life afforded to marginalized communities. Moreover, we can advance on the later agricultural phases, including certifying organic the product for greater revenue for farmers, and building their cooperatives.

Second, In Essaouira in 2013, HAF held a conference to present the results of its one-year preservation and education program for the cemeteries of the three religions. The project trained caretakers in good practices, overseen cleaning and planting activities with local community members, organized awareness-raising events with local people, integrated over 400 individual students and schoolchildren into educational and practical activities around cultural knowledge preserved by the cemeteries, and worked with over 120 members of local civil society. The project was initiated by HAF and its partners and funded by the Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation and Essaouira Mogador.

Population(s) Served
Interfaith groups
Muslims

Where we work

Awards

Consultancy Status 2011

UNESCO

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of students showing interest in topics related to STEM

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Sami's Project: Building School Communities

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

The number of students engaged in tree planting as well as environmental and STEM-related education activities per year. The total number of students engaged in 2018: 19,454.

Number of new grants received

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Input - describing resources we use

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Grants received between 2003 and 2017 from over 42 different donors

Median grant amount

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Input - describing resources we use

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Median grant amounts per year

Number of farmers given information about key markets

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Women and girls, Men and boys, Farmers

Related Program

Organic fruit tree planting, medicinal plants, and community nurseries

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

HAF implements training programs related to technical aspects of organic fruit tree agriculture as well as market dimensions. We share this information when we distribute trees with farming families.

Number of new advocates recruited

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Economic Development Through Women's Self-Discovery:

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Total number of women who participated in HAF's Imagine women's empowerment workshop,

Number of media articles reflecting preferred issue framing

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Input - describing resources we use

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

The number of articles published per year regarding HAF, our mission, and Morocco- and MENA-related sustainable development topics.

Number of list subscribers

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

To date, the total number of HAF's international subscribers is 17,258.

Number of testimonies offered

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of new proposals or guiding principles developed

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Proposals submitted per year, 2012-2017

Number of schools built

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Children and youth, Muslims

Related Program

Sami's Project: Building School Communities

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

This number corresponds to implemented school infrastructural projects, such as building classrooms, water systems, and teachers housing. HAF also planted gardens at 350 schools in 23 provinces.

Number of trees planted

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults

Related Program

Organic fruit tree planting, medicinal plants, and community nurseries

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of masters and doctorate level students participating in legal aid clinic

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Women and girls, Young adults, Students

Related Program

Economic Development Through Women's Self-Discovery:

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

A pro bono legal clinic and experiential service learning program designed to help university law students develop stronger skills in the areas of emotional intelligence, leadership, etc.

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Using a participatory planning approach, HAF works to establish development projects in Morocco that local communities and their associations, design and manage, and that partner with government, civil society, and business. HAF implements projects in agriculture, education, heath, multiculturalism, and building capacities of community groups to create development projects that they control. We are actively working with Partners from all sectors and levels who provide vital contributions to local projects that aim to address communities’ prioritized needs. HAF’s vision is that in all Morocco, local communities--villages and neighborhoods--identify, manage, and benefit in a transformative manner from human development. HAF seeks to assist Moroccan programs and policies that bind participatory democracy, sustainable development, and people’s empowerment, especially for women, youth, and marginalized rural and urban communities.

Morocco’s development success essentially depends upon: 1) dispersing the skills to create and assist inclusive community planning meetings, and 2) implementing the projects that become designed by the people, who are the project beneficiaries and managers. Catalyzing widespread, inclusive development projects, means first implementing experiential training programs for university students, school teachers, technicians, civil society members, elected officials, and local people, for example, to be active agents of participatory development. Through training-by-doing, the aforementioned municipal development plans can reflect the actual will of the people in regards to the projects and future they most want. For HAF, the financial engine to fund participatory development is generated from advancing the entire agricultural chain: tree nurseries, carbon credit registering, organic certification, cooperative-building, product processing, and global sales.

HAF, in 18 years of operation, has reached 23 provinces in Morocco and has seven formal partnership agreements with public and private Institutions of Higher Education. Since 2011, HAF has special consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council. HAF was created by former volunteers of the U.S. Peace Corps to benefit Morocco through the expertise, relationships, and knowledge acquired during their years of service. HAF is headed by its Board of Directors and operational team of both Moroccans and Americans, and has a distinguished Advisory Board. HAF has built trust with the government and local people over the years in a transparent and thorough manner, responding to the self-described needs of communities and CSOs in Morocco. HAF currently has 25 paid staff members, and may have five volunteers at any one time. Its main office is in Marrakech. HAF properly manages contributions provided by government, corporations, civil society organizations, and individuals.

HAF’s 15 fruit tree nurseries located in 5 provinces of Morocco. Since 2003, HAF planted 3.4 million fruit seeds and trees with farming families and schools in 23 provinces. Approximately 10,000 household incomes are impacted (60,000 people). Starting in 2009, partnership agreements were made with 7 universities. Programs have built students’ skills in facilitating participatory planning in their communities, as well as provided experiential learning in development. We trained approximately 1,000 students. Since 2011, HAF has conducted interactive environmental activities and planted approximately 33,000 trees with nearly 350 schools. HAF built drinking water systems with 26 villages (9,000 people) and 12 schools (1,200 students), reducing infant mortality, and increasing school retention for girls. Since 2015-16, HAF has worked with 23 villages covering 300 hectares involving more than 700 farmers, to secure organic certification for walnuts and almonds, opening international markets.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Paper surveys, Focus groups or interviews (by phone or in person), Community meetings/Town halls, Constituent (client or resident, etc.) advisory committees,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve,

  • What significant change resulted from feedback?

    Our reports are the data generated by the participating communities as they analyze their life conditions and opportunities, and create action plans for the projects they seek in their localities. Therefore, we implement the 4-day empowerment workshop, which helps to identify and begin dismantling the barriers to personal and communal growth, and, to forge development plans based on peoples’ inclusive and genuine participation. For the High Atlas Foundation, we cannot separate empowerment and participatory planning from the generation of reports that describe the socioeconomic and environmental situations and the initiatives that achieve sustainable growth in these areas. Report are composed of the people’s data, and as such, returns to them, providing the basis for their decision-making.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    The people we serve, Our staff, Our board, Our funders, Our community partners,

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to find the ongoing funding to support feedback collection,

Financials

High Atlas Foundation
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

Subscribe

Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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High Atlas Foundation

Board of directors
as of 2/26/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Ms. Ellen Paquette

Yossef Ben-Meir

High Atlas Foundation

Bruno Mejean

Self-employed

Ellen Paquette

U.S. Peace Corps

Harry Palumbo

Retiree

Suzanne Baazet

Treasurer

Martine Roberts

Secretary

Thomas Crisman

Kevin Hyams

Abderrahim Ouarghidi

Doug Seidman

Chemsedine Sidi-Baba

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 07/05/2020

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Jewish-Arab
Gender identity
Male
Sexual orientation
Decline to state
Disability status
Decline to state

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

No data

 

No data

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data