Director & Founder
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.
Rachid AIT BABAHMAD
MBLA President & Field Manager
As MBLA’s President, Rachid Ait Babahmad overseas the overall management of MBLA projects and admin accounts. In his role as Field Manager he collects data on biodiversity-related topics and ensures the implementation of biodiversity conservation actions, while providing on-the-job capacity-building to Community Researchers. He also contributes to the organization of events and workshops for Community Researchers, community members and cooperatives on topics related to biodiversity conservation. As Imegdale’s Focal Point he communicates with community authorities and institutions to ensure implementation of GDF-MBLA field activities.
Following an undergraduate in Growth and Plant Protection and Masters of Science in Ecological Engineering & Methodologies of Analysis and Management of Biodiversity, Rachid is now finishing his PhD in Ecology and environment at Cadi Ayyad University in Marrakech. His research focuses on Study and monitoring of Biodiversity in the High Atlas.
MBLA Vice President & Field Researcher (Social Science)
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.
Pommelien DA SILVA COSME
Communications and Field Officer
Pommelien da Silva Cosme is Communications and Field officer for GDF’s High Atlas Cultural Landscapes Programme. As part of this role she works closely with the MBLA team to curate stories on key projects in the field. She also supports the organisation, facilitation and reporting for different MBLA field activities, such as the Dar Taliba project.
Pommelien graduated from the K. U. Leuven (Belgium) with a Bachelor’s degree in Arabic and Islamic Studies and a Master’s degree in Business Communications.
MBLA Treasurer & Laboratory Scientist
As MBLA’s Treasurer, Abdellah Aghraz prepares the quarterly accounts in collaboration with MBLA’s President. In his role as Laboratory Scientist he collects data on chemical analysis and biological activities of different essential oil and plant extracts. He is currently working on an essential oil and plant quality analysis, and genetic and chemical characterization of local varieties.
Abdellah is a PHD student in Biotechnology of Natural Resources at the University of Cadi Ayyad in Marrakech. His doctoral work explores the plant extracts and quality. He holds a Master in Aromatic and Medicinal plant Conservation, Protection and Valorization.
MBLA Community Liaison & Dar Taliba Focal Point
Jamila Boussata coordinates all field activities of the Dar Taliba school garden project where she leads on strengthening the capacity of girls through the organization of educational group activities. Jamila is also repsonsbile for the maintenance of the various school gardens with support of the gardeners.
Jamila graduated from the Institute for Leadership and Communication Studies (ILCS) in Rabat with a Bachelor’s degree in Communications and Public Relations.
MBLA Secretary & Field Manager
As MBLA’s Secretary, Soufiane M’sou supports the MBLA administration and office activities. In his role as Field Manager he collects data on sustainable land use practices and cultural practices of conservation, as well as biodiversity. In the field he provides on-the-job capacity-building to Community Researchers working on cultural practices of conservation, as well as assistance to the organization of workshops on topics related to biodiversity conservation and cultural practices of conservation.
Following an undergraduate degree in “Environmental Engineering & Management of Biodiversity” and a Masters in “Medicinal and Aromatic Plants: Protection, Conservation and Valorization”, Soufiane is now finishing his doctorate in Ecology and Phyto-chemistry at Cadi Ayyad University in Marrakech.
Fadma AIT ILIGH
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.
MBLA Vice Secretary
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.
As MBLA’s administrator Nouhaila supports the Director in the coordination of the day to day activities. She ensures the smooth running of the MBLA office and assists the team during meetings.
Nouhaila graduated from L’Ecole Polytechnique sud M’hamid with a degree in Computer Science.
Abdeddaim Elhajjam is a Moroccan agronomist engineer specialised in Management of crops production and environment, and trained at the Institut Agronomique et Vétérinaire Hassan II in Rabat- Morocco. His research focused on plant characterization, resource assessment and agroecosystem management, amongst others. He established a detailed varietal information file, studied cultural practices applied in each area and investigated the local knowledge in terms of fig valorization.