Dr. Rachid Ait Babahmad

rachid.aitbabahmad@gmail.com As President, Rachid Ait Babahmad oversees the overall management of MBLA projects. In his role, Rachid manages project activities, collects data related to biodiversity, implements biodiversity conservation actions and strengthens the capacities of community researchers in field research. Rachid is also responsible for continuing the fruitful relationships with our network of diverse partners, including local NGOs, authorities, cooperatives and institutions in Morocco. He contributes to the proposals, the implementation and the management of the projects. Rachid holds a PhD in ecology and environment from Cadi Ayyad University. He obtained his undergraduate degree in Plant Growth and Protection and his Masters in Ecological Engineering Science and Biodiversity Analysis and Management Methodologies from Cadi Ayyad University, Faculty of Science of Semlalia.


slmt.hajar@gmail.com As Vice President, Hajar Salamat collaborates with the MBLA team to manage the office activities, as well as assisting in the organization of workshops and meetings. In her role as Field Scientist, she is responsible for ensuring community engagement and delivering participatory action research on cultural practices of conservation, sustainable land use practices and ethnobotanical knowledge in High Atlas communities. Hajar is a Moroccan agronomist engineer specialised in economic and social development, and trained at the Institut Agronomique et Vétérinaire Hassan II in Rabat- Morocco. Her research focused on analysing and evaluating the empowerment of women’s cooperatives of Argan oil in Tiznit, in the southern Moroccan region of Souss-Massa.

Dr. Abdellah Aghraz

abdellah.aghraz@gmail.com Abdellah Aghraz obtained his PhD in Biotechnology of Natural Resources from the University of Cadi Ayyad, Marrakech in 2019, where he focused on phytochemistry and pharmacology of medicinal plants. He holds a Master’s degree in Aromatic and Medicinal Plant Conservation, Protection and Valorization from the University of Cadi Ayyad, Marrakech. As Treasurer of the Moroccan Biodiversity and Livelihood Association (MBLA), Abdellah contributes towards grants proposals, prepares quarterly accounts and handles matters pertaining to human resources and purchasing in collaboration with MBLA’s board. As Project and Field Coordinator, Abdellah carries out actions on biodiversity conservation (nursery and seed bank implementation and flora data analysis), bio-cultural knowledge documentation, and strengthening capacities of local communities in the Oukaïmeden commune. He is also in charge of pursuing fruitful relationships with MBLA’s diverse partners, including the local population and municipality, local authorities, associations and cooperatives.

Dr. Soufiane M’sou

msousoufiane@gmail.com As Secretary of the Moroccan Biodiversity and Livelihood Association (MBLA), Soufiane actively contributes towards developing project proposals, and implementing and managing project activities.  He manages project activities and collects data related to its Ethnobiology Programme. Soufiane also focuses on territories and areas conserved by indigenous peoples and local communities (ICCA), and carries out research on policy and governance. Soufiane implements biodiversity conservation actions, including building the capacities of local communities in Ait M’hamed, while pursuing fruitful relationships with MBLA’s diverse partners in Morocco, including the local population and municipality, local authorities, associations, cooperatives and institutions in Morocco.   Soufiane M’sou holds a PhD in Ecology and Phyto-chemistry from Cadi Ayyad University, where he focused on the study and monitoring of biodiversity, ethnobotany and cultural landscapes in the High Atlas, and phytochemistry. He received his Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Engineering & Management of Biodiversity and his Masters in Medicinal and Aromatic Plants: Protection, Conservation and Valorization, in 2011 and 2013 respectively, from the Faculty of Science of Cadi Ayyad University.

Hamza ZINE

Hamza.zine.mark@gmail.com As MBLA’s Vice Secretary, Hamza Zine supports the MBLA administration and office activities. After his degree in “Applied biology in the environmental management” on the Moroccan Saharan flora, Hamza took a specialized Master in teaching life and earth sciences, during which he wrote his dissertation on the phytoecology of the Amassine reserve located in the boundary zone of Toubkal national park in the High Atlas. He is currently working on his PhD thesis on the revegetation of anthropized ecosystems by local flora (mines) for the purpose of their restoration. Hamza is passionate about Moroccan phytodiversity,  especially floristic studies, plants identification and conservation, and plants photography.


h.rankou@gmail.com As Director, Dr. Hassan Rankou oversees MBLA’s activities and staff to ensure the successful implementation of all projects. Hassan manages the project activities, the capacity building modules and plays a significant role in ensuring the project’s legacy. Hassan is also responsible for maintaining successful relations with our diverse partner network, including local NGO’s, authorities, cooperatives and research centres. Hassan is a British-Moroccan plant conservationist graduated from the Institut Agronomique et Vétérinaire Hassan II in Morocco with a Master in biodiversity conservation and crop production. Hassan also got a PhD in climate change and biodiversity conservation from the University of Reading in the UK.

Dr. Mohamed Ouknin

medoknine@gmail.com Mohamed joined MBLA team in July 2019 as a Local Product Commercialization Coordinator. He oversees the development of processes related to local product commercialization and marketing, including design of a protocol and procedure for data consolidation and product selection. He collaborates with local cooperatives and associations to carry out feasibility studies for selected products, market value chain analysis, creation of business plans and their implementation and ethnobotanical monographs. He obtained his PhD in Biotechnology and Valorization of Aromatic and Medicinal Plants. His research interests revolve around local products, food and medicinal plants and their marketing techniques (packaging, labeling, certification…).

Dr. Omar Saadani Hassani

saadanihassani@gmail.com Omar joined MBLA in April 2019 as Field Agronomist Researcher. He is responsible for carrying out research and capacity-building activities in our High Atlas Cultural Landscapes programme. Omar holds a PhD in Biotechnology & Environmental Sciences. His previous experiences have enabled him to acquire knowledge on waste treatments, the conservation of biodiversity and the environment, Permaculture capacity building, as well as concepts related to work safety in the field. Omar is very passionate about working with local farmers in the High Atlas, and plays an important role in the success of our Farmer Field Schools.

Sabah Bahij

sabahbahij.gdf@gmail.com Sabah Bahij is a Moroccan agronomist engineer in crop management and environment from HASSAN II Institute of Agronomy and Veterinary in Rabat. Originally from a rural area in Morocco, she has developed her knowledge around different needs of the local population in a rural context, and improved her skills to communicate with smallholder farmers, through her studies and training in the field. Sabah joined MBLA team in January 2020. In her role as a Field Researcher in Social Sciences, she leads the development of environmental activities at schools in the High Atlas, as part of the youth and Biocultural Education programme. She also supports the documentation of cultural practices of conservation and focuses on community engagement through the development of community action plans.

Khaoula Khaldoun

Khaldounkhaoula1@gmail.com Khaoula has held the position of Administrative and Financial Manager at MBLA since December 2018. She Holds a Specialized Master in Financial Management of the company. She is responsible for administrative and financial tasks, coordinates and supervises the accounting, helps in the preparation of budgets, Coordinates the acquisition of administrative services, ensures the good general management of the Association, it takes care of questions relating to human resources. Khaoula is also involved in the management, planning and coordination of MBLA events.


fadmaaitiligh@gmail.com In her role as Community Researcher Fadma Ait Iligh spends a lot of time in the field, particularly in the community of Imegdale, where she conducts interviews with local community members about local practices of conservation and plant use. She also takes an active part in managing Imegdale’s local herbarium and plant collection. Following an undergraduate degree in Geography at Cadi Ayyad University in Marrakech, Fadma has worked in the field of human development and cultural landscapes.

Mohamed Ait Boujamaa

Mohamed is one of our community researchers in Imegdal. Originally from Tiniskt, a small village in the commune of Imegdal, he joined our team in 2018. He is passionate about his work in the community nursery in Imegdal and thrives on teamwork and exchanges with the local community. Mohamed strives to cultivate the spirit of environmental citizenship within the indigenous Amazigh communities of the High Atlas.

Hamid Ait Baskad

Hamid Ait Baskad joined MBLA in 2014 as a Community Researcher. He is also responsible for the community nursery in Imegdal. His work is not limited to the nursery; Hamid also works as a researcher in the field, facilitator with local authorities and many other research activities following a participatory approach.

Youssef Rouchdi

Youssef Rouchdi, a community researcher in Oukaïmeden, joined MBLA in 2019. He plays an important role in the maintenance and production of plants at the Oukaïmeden community nursery. His work is not limited to the nursery but also as a field researcher. His career as president of the local association “Ait Lkak” and member of the Oukaïmeden cooperative has enabled him to ensure good communication with the local community, the authorities and other actors in the region.

Rachid Ait Elhadj

Rachid joined MBLA in 2019 as a community researcher. He is responsible for the community nursery in Oukaïmeden. His experience as a farmer allows him to ensure a good cultivation of local plants.

Touda Atiya

Hassan Ouchacha

Hassan Ouchacha, joined the MBLA team as a Community Researcher in the Ait M’hamed region in 2018. He participates in the activities of the community nursery in Bernat (Municipality of Ait M’hamed). Hassan is also responsible for several works related to the conservation of local biodiversity as well as the socio-economic points of the region.

Hamou Malih

Hamou joined MBLA in 2018 as a Community Researcher. He is responsible for the community nursery in Bernat. At the same time, he works as a community researcher in the municipality of Ait M’hamed. Hamou also participates in other MBLA activities in the region, such as: collecting seeds, collecting and disseminating information as well as other tasks related to the conservation of biodiversity in the region

Ibitssam Bouseta

ibtissam.mbla@gmail.com Ibtissam joined our team in early January 2021 as Communications and Programs Officer. She has majored in Museum studies with a focus on communications in cultural institutions and has previously worked as a fundraiser for an animal charity.  Within MBLA’s team, she is responsible of drafting and conducting a dynamic social media action plan aiming to increase our digital outreach, delivering  annual reports, blogs and brochures as well as documenting activities and field trips via written reports, photos and videos. Her efforts seek to expand MBLA’s network with local media, and spark the public’s interest in our cause.

Meryem Aakairi

meryemaakairi.mbla@gmail.com Meryem Aakairo graduated with a Master’s degree in Biology and Environment, with previous experiences that have enabled her to acquire knowledge on Agroecology, permaculture and seed production capacity building. She supports the development of the High Atlas agroecology programme through community engagement and delivering participatory action research on cultural practices of conservation, sustainable land use practices and capacity-building activities. She is very passionate about improving lives in the rural communities and the economic empowerment of the rural women.   Meryem is a native Amazigh speaker, and also speaks Arabic, English and French. She joined GDF/MBLA team in February 2021 as Field Agronomist Researcher. Meryem is passionate about food production that respects her environment, nature and people. One of her goals is to support farmers in their efforts to protect the environment and food security.