Conservation and Restoration

The Canopy Project Morocco

The Canopy Project Morocco: Introduction

Morocco is among the world’s most vulnerable regions to climate change facing a variety of social and environmental challenges, including deforestation, soil erosion, desertification and limited water availability due to overexploitation of natural resources. Rural Moroccan communities are also exposed to systemic poverty. Around 19% of the rural population lives in extreme poor conditions and a lot more are affected by unemployment and lack of education.

Planting trees addresses these issues. It helps to alleviate poverty, as farmers will generate more revenue by planting high-quality fruit trees. Planting trees also mitigates the effects of climate change, prevents environmental degradation and contributes to maintaining biodiversity by planting endangered and organically growing native species.

The various social and environmental challenges the country is facing are very likely to increase due to climate change and environmental pollution. EARTHDAY.ORG (EDO) and its partner High Atlas Foundation (HAF) are seeking to counter these negative developments by increasing its tree planting efforts.

From January through April 2023, with the support of Ritual Cosmetics Enterprise, EDO and its (HAF) completed a project to plant 40,000 trees in the M’Goun Valley of Morocco. In addition, EDO alongside HAF organized workshops for 75 emerging women leaders in the M’Goun community. This report describes the progress made on the project with a final impact report by September 30 th , 2023.

Planting the canopy project: Morocco

A total of 42,000 trees were planted including almond, carob, walnut, pomegranate, fig, and olive, distributed in the following amounts:

Drip irrigation systems were installed in February. Following that, trees were delivered to the Ait Ouassif and Ighil N’Oumgoun communes in the M’Goun Valley by HAF, sourced from HAF’s 11 organic fruit tree nurseries operating in 7 provinces of Morocco.

The sapling varieties grown at HAF’s nurseries include almond, argan, carob, cherry, fig, lemon, pomegranate, and walnut.

HAF’s production of fruit trees for Moroccan families, schools, and communities not only benefits their livelihoods and environments but also helps to build highly productive partnerships between the people, their government, and various intercultural groups.

HAF’s organic fruit tree nurseries are of critical importance to farming families as they make the daunting transition from the traditional staples of barley and corn – which cover 70% of agricultural land, but only produce 15% of agricultural income – to the cultivation of fruit tree varieties.

Atlas Mountains and M’Goun Valley Map
Atlas Mountains and M’Goun Valley Map

Stakeholder Engagement

Moroccan classroom

During the first week of February and the third week of March, the HAF Tree Planting Team members Safae Ben Karroum and Fatima Lamrini, as well as the HAF Family Literacy Team Ilham Safi and Bouchra Zine, held Women’s Empowerment Workshop for the benefit of 75 women of Ait Daoued Village in Ighil N’oumgoun Commune, Tinghir Province.

The workshops are inspired by the Empowerment Institute that has pioneered a 32-hour transformative experience called IMAGINE. This intimate, female-led, women’s empowerment workshop has been adapted to the concerns and contexts present in Moroccan society. To date, this multi-day experience has transformed the lives of 2,598 women in 112 empowerment workshops conducted by HAF since 2016.

The workshop entails seven core areas, based on topics every individual might face in their day-to-day life: Emotions, Relationships, Work, Body, Money, Sexuality, and Spirituality.

The IMAGINE workshop’s unique methodology heavily emphasizes and considers the mind, body, and soul. Within this framework, with consideration of the Ait Daoued village’s unique circumstances, spirituality is of utmost importance. The tools provided and learned within the workshop distinctly empower women in religious and other roles.

The Facilitators of the IMAGINE workshops have given Ait Daoued women a new chance to educate themselves about their religion through familiar worship methods.

The Facilitators have fine-tuned a unique methodology to effectively and ethically approach female empowerment, while embodying timeless Islamic concepts for local Moroccan contexts. This lens also sheds light on legal protection and rights, empowering women to pursue justice.

The women’s advocacy movement in Morocco produces young, open-minded women leaders and preachers. Women’s advocacy in rural areas, such as Ait Daoued village answers a dire need for a new more inclusive approach in Moroccan society.

More detail on the impacts and outcomes of both the tree planting and the women’s empowerment training will be included in the final project report.

Project Contributions

Climate Change Adaptation
Community & Economic Benefits
Carbon Sequestration
Biodiversity Benefits

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