By Lamia Bazir – New York
January 16, 2014 was a Big day for the High Atlas Foundation (HAF), as well as its community and school partners throughout Morocco.
In the course of one day and throughout 8 provinces, around 10,000 trees were planted; thereby launching the High Atlas Foundation (HAF) “1 billion tree Campaign”. This amazing event has involved local communities including local farmers, teachers and children.
The HAF staff have traveled throughout the country to attend tree plantings but also lessons on sustainable development and other activities involving locals. The High Atlas Foundation, a key actor in Morocco’s development, has once again emphasized inclusiveness, and sustainability. Its 1 billion Tree campaign embraces the participative approach and is founded on respect of local cultures and the environment.
According to Morocco’s projections, the planting of 1 billion trees throughout the kingdom will contribute to remedy rural poverty and environmental problems such as deforestation and soil erosion. Thus, the HAF’s initiative is harmoniously aligned with Morocco’s developmental priorities, plans, and goals.
With gratefulness to its local and international partners, and after the successful achievement of the 1 Million Tree Campaign, the HAF is thrilled to set stage to its 1 billion Tree Campaign. 400, 000 trees will be planted this planting season.
Al Haouz: Director of Programs in Al Haouz Province, Malika, visited four rural schools with Rachid El Kouhen, father of Sami, the inspiration for Sami’s Project. In Al Haouz nearly 2,000 trees were planted with school children, including over 1,000 walnut, 383 olive, 214 orange, 87 carbotrees, and 20 fig, 20 pomegranate, 20 eucalyptus, 20 aromatic plants, and 20 almond. HAF President Yossef Ben-Meir participated in the tree distribution in Akraich village – from the community nursery that embodies Morocco’s unity and diversity.
Boujdour: HAF Site Manager Hana oversaw the planting of 798 trees in Boujdour Province at five sites. Community members and school children planted different varieties, including Lagunaria, Acacia Cyanophylla, and Schinus Molle – species that are well adapted to handle the dry environment in Boujdour.
Essaouira: Director of Programs Lynn and Program Assistant Joke oversaw planting at two schools in Essaouira, attended by the Governor of Essaouira Province, Mr. Abdelouahab El Jabri. 41 olive and carob trees were planted with about 150 school children. See more about the planting at Essaouira here, and check out this video clip.
Mohammedia: At The Faculty of Law, Economics and Social Sciences of Hassan II University in Mohammedia, the tree planting was celebrated with Matthew Lussenhop, Deputy Chief of Mission of the US Embassy in Morocco. Mr. Lussenhop praised the actions of the High Atlas Foundation and the continued cooperation between the US government and the movement towards a Green Morocco.
Rhamna: Office Manager Fatima-Zahra and Program Manager Aicha Galef visited 5 schools in Rhamna Province. After distributing trees to the first two schools, it began to rain, a most promising sign for the health of the trees and the local agriculture. In Rhamna, 390 almond, 1,440 olive, 62 orange, and 730 pomegranate trees were planted.
Taroudannt: Site Manager Fatima oversaw the planting of 383 trees in Taroudannt Province. 6 schools in 2 communes received almond trees to be planted in school yards, and more trees were distributed to students to bring home and plant with family members in their orchards.
Taza: Director of Programs Mouhssine oversaw the planting of 3,949 trees of different varieties in Ain Bashar of the Taza Province. HAF is expanding into additional provinces throughout Morocco, and the millionth tree event gave HAF the opportunity to begin expansion and partnerships in 26 sites throughout Taza Province.
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