Our Co-Founder, Charlotte Bergin sat down with our partner NGO, the High Atlas Foundation to ask them a couple of questions to learn more about what they do and about their experience working with THE VACATION PROJECT.
Tell us a little bit about the High Atlas Foundation.
The High Atlas Foundation (HAF) was founded in 2000 by former Peace Corps Volunteers who served in Morocco as a way to utilize the relationships and knowledge gained during their service for the continued benefit of the Moroccan people. HAF is a US 501 (3) nonprofit organization and registered in Moroccan civil association. Using a participatory approach, HAF works to establish development projects in different parts of Morocco that local communities design and manage, and that are in partnership with government and non-government agencies. Since 2011, HAF has Consultancy Status at the United Nations Economic and Social Council.
How do you determine your projects?
HAF aims to make sustainable prosperity a reality by training communities to integrate a participatory, agency-based empowerment approach into human development initiatives. HAF operates like a “nursery” for social transformation, with a unique and innovative value chain model which builds self-sustainability for targeted communities. HAF reaches 16 provinces throughout Morocco.
How do you work with local communities?
HAF facilitates the participatory planning methods with local communities, in all the
project phases. Our main goals are:
Community-initiated and managed projects
Empowerment of marginalized rural and urban communities, women and youth
Sustainable economic growth
Capacity-building with cooperatives and civil groups
Organic agriculture development - from farm-to- fork - that reinvests in people's
Why were you inspired to work with THE VACATION PROJECT?
Following what the High Atlas Foundation is working on, we are always seeking to expand the sustainable development in Morocco, we were extremely inspired to work the Vacation Project, which is a wonderful initiative created by Lindsay, Charlotte and Mitchell. As well as the Vacation Project travelers are sharing their important experiences with the rural communities, and the HAF is already working with those communities, so we warmly welcome by the Vacation Project travelers and responsibility.
What is your favorite part of the upcoming TVP itinerary?
All the itinerary parts are good and certainly they will be faithful, but personally as a project manager of Sami's Project which is a HAF initiative that strives to achieve the goals of sustainable development in order to understand the sense of our environment, and to spread the culture of planting among the students, as well as it seeks to enhance the schools infastructure, I liked more the part of visitng the rural primary school and do the activities with the students, so we can make smiles on students faces.
If you are interested in working with HAF in Morocco, please join us on our upcoming trip starting in Marrakech on December 30, 2017!