Domestic Violence in Morocco
In Morocco, more than 50% of women have experienced violence. Among these women, only about 28% have sought help from others regarding their abusive environment. There is a new law put in place to criminalize violent actions against women. However, the government still needs to address several issues to protect women effectively from domestic violence in Morocco.

Laws to Protect Women Against Domestic Violence

The new law passed in 2018 outlaws some form of violent actions against partners and allows authorities to step into domestic affairs if it is necessary. This law spreads awareness and provides prevention measures. Abused women can file cases to charge abusive partners or family members. However, the law does not clarify what domestic violence is nor does it explicitly make marital rape a crime. Moreover, the law does not financially support victims or survivors of violence or any shelters for those who need housing after escaping from an abusive environment. The law requires police to be able to help abused women. However, they did not record statements of victims and made them go back to their partners in some cases. The law failed to create a system that checks if the authorities carry out their duties to protect the rights of abused women.

Vulnerable Women and Poverty

Poor women do not have access to education. As a result, they have to be financially dependent on their partners because they cannot find a job. These women tend to receive violence from their partner more passively than those who have jobs. Lack of education and jobs makes women vulnerable to abusive relationships because they feel no power to defend their rights and interests. Because of a lack of access to stable housing after escaping from an abusive situation, women are often forced to return to their abusive partners. Victims file criminal cases against their partners, but most of them drop cases because of the pressure from family or financial reasons. In the interview by UNFPA, Khadija tells her struggle about being financially dependent on her family after getting divorced from the abusive husband. She struggled with finding a job because of a lack of education.

Nongovernmental Organizations Help Abused Women

Several institutions and shelters exist in Morocco to help survivors of domestic violence. The Multi-sectoral Joint Programme is carried out by 13 national groups and more than 50 nongovernmental organizations. It provides legal and economic support for abused women. By 2010, they had 52 counseling centers in Morocco. Additionally, Fais entendre ta voix (Make Your Voice Heard) is a group working to empower women in Morocco. It offers legal help for women to defend themselves.

Effects of COVID-19 on the Victims

The COVID-19 lockdown prohibits individuals from going out without authorization. As a result, abused women cannot seek help. They have no choice but to stay at home where they face abuse. The number of calls to the hotline from abused women is about twice to three times more than before. After the efforts made by advocates, the authority made it possible to file domestic violence cases through phone calls and the Internet. This makes it easier for women who cannot go out to file cases. Poverty also plays a significant role in preventing abused women from seeking help because they do not have access to phones or technology. Therefore, the new tool to file complaints by phone and online help some victims. However, the COVID-19 lockdown still leaves impoverished women vulnerable.

The new law passed in 2018 is a big step to help vulnerable women in Morocco. Financial support and education for women can help to empower women more. Being financially dependent on husbands or partners makes it difficult for women to seek help or escape from an abusive partner. In the survey, more than 60% of men showed the possession of beliefs that women need to endure violence to keep family together. This shows the need to change social beliefs as well.

Sayaka Ojima
Photo: Pixabay

Moroccan Counterterrorism PolicyIn 2003, twelve Moroccan suicide bombers killed 45 people in Casablanca, Morocco’s largest city. Ever since the bombing in 2003, the King and the government have launched several counter-terrorism operations to address the roots of terrorism. These operations aim to prevent radicalization through not only the legal system but also education, religious reformation and social change. Fighting poverty is one of the important pillars of the Moroccan counter-terrorism policy.

The Importance of Combating Poverty for Counter-terrorism

Although poverty is not the direct cause of terrorist or violent activities, economic conditions play a significant role in fueling recruitment for extremist groups. Domestic economic conditions let Moroccans go abroad for jobs and allow the spread of radical ideology.

Moreover, a major factor that can cause Moroccans to participate in a terrorist group or activities is an economic recession. The average income for ISIL soldiers is much higher than that of Moroccans. Every attacker in the Casablanca bombing was from a poor region in the city. Therefore, combatting poverty for counterterrorism is particularly important for the Moroccan government. The government launched a program called the National Human Development Initiative (INDH). Although the purpose of the program is not solely for fighting against radicalization, the program still sought to prevent vulnerable poor people from being tempted to join extreme groups for economic reasons.

The National Human Development Initiative: The $6 Billion Idea

King Mohammed VI of Morocco launched the INDH in 2005 with an initial $1.2 billion budget to reduce the economic gap and increase social and economic inclusion. In the first 10 years, the program has invested about $6 billion and benefited more than 7 million people, including young people and women, through several projects.

Housing Program

The INDH launched its housing program to help people in need have access to housing. The people in need could buy apartments at an affordable price with low-interest loans. To eliminate slums, the government also launched the program, 2004 – 2010 Cities without Slums. Initially, the government sought to eradicate all slums by providing basic necessities, such as electricity and water lines. However, it changed course to improve the situation of slums rather than eradicate them completely. In providing basic needs, the government tried to stop migration from slums to urban areas. These migrations often contribute to the radicalization of people in cities.

Reducing Youth Unemployment

In Morocco, 27% of young people are unemployed. The Moroccan government focuses on three areas to address this: “identification and centralization of methods, tools and services,” “guidance, training and placement of unemployed youth” and “soft skills development for students and unemployed youth.” USAID has made efforts to increase the employment rate among young people. In three major cities, it created six places where young people can learn useful skills to get jobs. More than 200,000 people have used its education services.

Conclusion

Despite criticism and issues regarding decision-making and accountability, the Moroccan government’s efforts to combat poverty for counter-terrorism have been largely praised. Through reviewing these issues, the Moroccan government could improve its counter-terrorism policy as well as strategies to fight against poverty. Their counter-terrorism policy shows the importance of combatting poverty to enhance national security.

– Sayaka Ojima
Photo: Pixabay

Poverty Eradication in Morocco
Within a decade, the Moroccan government was able to lower the country’s poverty rate to 9%, previously 16.2%, from 2000 to 2010. According to a World Bank report, the rate decreased even more with the national poverty rate at 4.8% in 2018. In 2018, the unforeseeable natural obstructions halted the process of poverty eradication in Morocco. Nevertheless, the strides that some have made in poverty eradication in Morocco serve as examples of the importance of investing in foreign aid. Here are five ways Morocco has successfully helped its citizens with poverty reduction.

Progressive Taxing and Better-Targeted Public Spending

Despite adopting a new constitution in 2011 that granted universal public services, such as free education and healthcare, Morocco still faced some adversities. For one, the Moroccan government was not able to meet the needs of its surging population. The state budget disproportionately benefited cities with larger populations. As a result, it left rural areas with resource shortages. To efficiently reallocate public spending, the country set aside funds for local-level organizations such as NGOs.

NGOs are single-issue driven and avoid any political alliance. NGOs target anything from the distribution of resources, such as water and electricity, to literacy campaigns for their communities. A Carnegie Endowment for International Peace publication concluded that “[d]espite NGOs’ limited resources, case studies have shown that their actions have made a real difference in the lives of people at the local level.” The World Bank study predicts that social spending will increase with the 2020 Budget Law that is under development.

Access to Education

When accessible, education encourages free and critical thinking. ChildFund International believes that knowledge breaks the cycle of poverty because education fosters the power to dream of a better future. Additionally, it purports that education presents employment opportunities. Upon state independence, Moroccan policymakers prioritized free education. A 2019 article estimated that Morocco spent about 5.26% of GDP on education which is “considerably higher than the world average.”

Slowed Down Population Growth

A lower population growth rate means more sustainable resource allocations. Morocco is able to meet demands for resources, such as food and housing, with slow population growth. The Carnegie Endowment report claims that “access to education and fewer opportunities in the labor market delayed the average age of marriage… and slowed down population growth.”

Moroccan citizens are waiting longer to start families, which is allowing them the time to enable economic prosperity as well. By securing their financial stability first, parents are guaranteeing desirable circumstances for raising future children and wealth to inherit. The research also supports that “inheritance is an important channel through which some people in Morocco have moved out of poverty.” Generational wealth gives future generations a financial head-start when they begin to participate in the economy.

Investing in Infrastructure

In decentralizing government spending, Morocco made accomplishments in basic infrastructure programs. These programs tackled the drinking water supply, electrical networks and road systems. For example, the program known as PAGER increased access to drinking water for rural areas by 29.4% in 2009.

The program PAGER has worked to reduce health risks in communities so that there is less strain on healthcare resources. Additionally, the program has removed the responsibility of girls having to carry clean water home from distant drinking wells. Other advances in rural electrification have led to readily available information. Meanwhile, new road constructions make it easier to reach schools and jobs located outside of small towns.

Controlling Inflation

The World Bank estimated that inflation in Morocco had a Consumer Price Index (CPI) of about 0.6% in 2019. Forecasts estimate that inflation will only reach 1.7% in 2021, which is relatively low for neighboring countries. In addition, the World Bank attributes the low inflation rate to “sound monetary policy and ample supply of fresh food.”

Low inflation is important for keeping prices for goods competitive in the world market. Competitive prices are attractive to countries seeking affordable exports and tourists. Additionally, contained inflation protects the income of Moroccans as citizens will not have to pay inflated prices for everyday goods.

Although the country’s hardships are still ongoing, there are many efforts towards poverty eradication in Morocco. Morocco’s efforts prove the efficiency of state intervention when combined with smaller local governments and respond accordingly to the demands of the most vulnerable. 

– Lizt Garcia
Photo: Flickr

Morocco is a water-scarce country. It is greatly impacted by the effects of rapid desertification, poor water management and high susceptibility to droughts. Water resources in the country have fallen by about 71% since 1980. In rural communities it is common for families to rely on one water source, meaning water scarcity can have profoundly negative impacts on Morrocan families and their livelihoods. Drought, in particular, occurs on average once every three years and can have devastating effects on the livelihoods of Moroccans. About 51.5% of the Moroccan population is negatively impacted by droughts. With drought on the rise, sustainable water management is integral to the development of the economy. As a result, an organization called Dar Si Hmad is stepping in to use CloudFishing to combat poverty and water scarcity in Morocco.

Water Scarcity and Poverty

The citizen’s organization ‘Social Watch’ identifies the poor management of scarce water resources as a serious aggravator of rural poverty in Morocco. Farmers and women in Morocco are particularly burdened by the effects of water scarcity. Forty percent of working Moroccans are employed in the agricultural sector and 70% of farmers struggle due to the impact of frequent droughts. Women in rural communities in Morocco spend on average 3.5 hours a day seeking and carrying water, restricting their time in pursuit of other activities.

CloudFishing to Solve the Water Crisis

Dar Si Hmad, a female-led non-governmental organization (NGO), is taking an innovative approach to solving the crisis of water scarcity and alleviating poverty in Morocco. The NGO’s vision is to “enable sustainable livelihoods and create opportunities for low-resource communities to learn and prosper.” It is pursuing this vision, in part, by using ‘CloudFishing’ to combat poverty in Morocco. CloudFishing is an approach to solve the water crisis by utilizing the abundant resource of fog. In Morocco, fog gathers from the ocean and is captured in the mountainous landscape for about 140 days out of the year. Dar Si Hmad uses fine mesh to ‘fish’ for droplets of water within the fog which, once it accumulates, drops into a basin and is then filtered through a process of solar-powered UV, sand and cartridge filters.

The water collected by Dar Si Hmad is piped to 140 households providing approximately 500 people in southwest Morocco with access to sustainable clean water. Dar Si Hmad has developed into the largest functioning fog collection project in the world and is directly contributing to poverty alleviation in the country. The project is partly funded by USAID in Rabat, Morocco. Sustained foreign aid from the U.S. is integral to the organization’s continued success. CloudFishing has a positive impact on women in the community who now have more time to devote to pursuing economic activities to help them rise out of poverty. Sustainable access to water also allows poor farmers to have more stable livelihoods and escape the cycle of poverty in Morocco.

Looking Forward

While clean water is a human right recognized by a number of international organizations and countries, in water-scarce Morocco it has become a luxury. Dar Si Hmad is continuing its work throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and is preparing to build two new CloudFishers to provide water to 12 additional rural villages in Morocco. Dar Si Hmad plays an integral role in providing solutions like CloudFishing to combat poverty and water scarcity in Morocco.

– Leah Bordlee
Photo: Flickr

Morroco - Western Sahara conflict
A relic of the Cold War, the Morocco-Western Sahara conflict remains frozen and mired in uncertainty. Nearing its 50th year, the clash has displaced and killed thousands over the years. Thankfully, some organizations have floated proposals to remedy this fight, although obtaining little success. Still, some humanitarian organizations are on the ground and working to improve the lives of those who desperately need it.

What is Western Sahara?

Western Sahara is the largest non-autonomous territory in the world. With an area of 266,000 square kilometers, Western Sahara is home to over 650,000 people. That’s roughly the size of Colorado, with a little more than a tenth of its population. Although rather poor, the desertic region contains significant phosphate deposits and rich fisheries off its coast. The arid climate over there prevents substantive agriculture, forcing Western Sahara to import much of its food. Life expectancy there is low, averaging only 64 years, and infant mortality is high, with 47.9 deaths per 1,000 children born.

The Dispute.

As colonial powers relinquished many of their claims, Spain decided to leave Western Sahara in the early 1970s — known then as the Spanish Sahara. The Spanish finally left the territory in 1975, as the tensions regarding the ownership of the region began heating up.

In 1974, the International Court of Justice had issued an advisory opinion finding that Morocco did not have a claim to the ownership of Western Sahara. This decision, which was mired in Cold War politics, was effectively ignored by Morocco. Shortly after the decision had been issued, more than 300,000 unarmed Moroccans marched into Western Sahara with copies of the Quran in what became known as the “Green March”. Then, Spain brokered a deal between Morocco and Mauritania, giving both countries part of Western Sahara and withdrawing from the region in late 1975.

Presence of the UN.

Peace, however, did not flourish. In 1979 Mauritania ceded its claim to Western Sahara, leaving Morocco as the sole ruler. Then, Algeria – Morocco’s neighbor and geopolitical rival – worked with the independence movement Polisario Front to oppose Moroccan rule, thereby starting a conflict that stretched for close to a decade and took the lives of nearly 14,000 people. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Polisario Front lost many of its backers, leaving the two sides in somewhat of a stalemate. 

The Morocco-Western Sahara conflict has been locked in a ceasefire since 1991 when the UN sent in peacekeepers to make sure violence was kept to a minimum. This mission, which was officially called the UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) was also intended to provide a forum through which Morocco and Western Sahara could reach an agreement on the region’s autonomy. Sadly, no agreement has been made and Western Sahara’s fate still remains in limbo.

What is Being Done?

Since then the living conditions in Western Sahara have deteriorated thanks to the war and to its arid landscape. More than 40,000 Sahrawi refugees who were displaced by the conflict now live in camps in Algeria. One camp in Tindouf – the site of the 1963 “Sand War” between Morocco and Algeria – has been in operation since the onset of the war. Deutsche Welle reported that the dry conditions limit agriculture and the availability of water there. Thankfully, some aid organizations have stepped up to supply the refugees with much-needed basics.

Early this year, Italy provided the World Food Programme with over $500,000 to provide monthly food rations. Other organizations have operated as forces for good in Western Sahara:

  • Oxfam responded to the COVID-19 pandemic by equipping 33 health clinics in the Tindouf camps.
  • UN peacekeepers constructed wells in Western Sahara, giving residents access to a vital resource.
  • Action on Armed Violence assisted Sahrawis in removing mines, cluster bombs and other un-detonated explosives. In total, 22,000 devices were cleared.
  • AOAV also gave micro-grants to over 200 people who had been injured by these remnants of war.

Future Perspectives.

In 2006, Morocco proposed the Autonomy Plan, whereby Western Sahara would be governed by Morocco and yet retain some sovereignty of its own. The UN Security Council endorsed the idea, as have several other countries. Morocco controls 80% of Western Sahara and most Sahrawis already live under Moroccan control. But this plan has so far stalled. In its own fashion, Morocco has improved life in Western Sahara for some people. In 2015, the General Confederation of Moroccan Enterprises announced a $609 million investment plan for Western Sahara.

Still, much remains to be done. Despair is still common among refugee camps and long-term solutions have yet to be realized. Therefore, organizations on the ground need to increase their assistance while other countries and international organizations need to revisit the Morocco-Western Sahara conflict with redoubled efforts. Perhaps this frozen conflict can eventually thaw into peace.

– Jonathan Helton

Photo: Flickr


Globalization and industrialization have improved living conditions and increased economic prosperity in Morocco. The introduction of economic reforms in the early 1980s also stimulated growth in a variety of sectors. Yet, despite these efforts, poverty, illiteracy and unemployment rates in Morocco remain high. In 2018, Morocco ranked 121st out of 189 countries in the Human Development Index—a statistic composite index of life expectancy, education and per capita income indicators. A significant factor in Morocco’s low ranking is the country’s inaccessible and inadequate healthcare. Here are four things to know about healthcare in Morocco today.

4 Facts About Healthcare in Morocco

  1. Ongoing institutional reforms. Morocco is undergoing a variety of health system reforms, including those affecting hospitals and institutions. Currently, the North African country’s health system has public and private sectors. The private sector is further divided into not-for-profit and for-profit divisions, which is often quite costly. The public sector, though more affordable, is unable to provide the same standard of care as the private sector. Due to the ongoing reforms, the World Health Organization has outlined the management of public hospitals and a “lack of a policy to manage and develop human resources” to be some of the Moroccan health system’s main challenges.
  2. A lack of healthcare workers. Morocco is suffering from a lack of skilled healthcare professionals in both sectors of its healthcare system. In 2017, there was an average of 7.9 health workers per 10,000 people in 12 regions, according to the Moroccan Ministry of Health. This ratio falls far below the WHO’s standard of one physician per 650 people.
  3. Limited accessibility to healthcare. Coinciding with cost barriers and limited healthcare personnel, many Moroccans lack access to healthcare outside of urban centers. Rural and remote areas of Morocco are often underserved, and citizens have to travel long distances to receive primary care. To attract and retain healthcare workers in these underserved areas, the Moroccan Ministry of Health proposed legislation in 2015 for new graduates to work in underserved areas for two years.
  4. Gender inequality affecting women’s access to healthcare. Women’s health in Morocco is lower than men due to socioeconomic factors limiting women’s standard of living and income. According to the Mohammed Bin Rachid Al Maktoum Foundation, Morocco’s estimated 2008 illiteracy rate was 43%. In the same report, women’s illiteracy rate sat higher at 54.7%. Moreover, according to a 2009 report by the High Commission for Planning for Morocco, women with higher education diplomas were more vulnerable to unemployment. The report found that, in general, 27.5% of women are unemployed, while 50.1% of women with credentials are unemployed. Furthermore, Morocco has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the world, with an estimated 21.90 deaths per 1000 live births in 2017.

Improving the Moroccan health system is a slow process; however, with support from international public health organizations like WHO and healthcare professionals, healthcare in Morocco could advance significantly. Equal healthcare to women and Moroccans living in rural and remote areas will ensure a brighter, healthier future for Morocco and the world.

Alana Castle
Photo: Flickr

Poverty in MoroccoMorocco is a parliamentary constitutional monarchy in Northern Africa. Using its geographical proximity to Europe, the country is positioning itself to become the trade center of Africa. Combining this with low-cost labor, Morocco is moving toward an open market economy. Mohammed VI, the current sovereign of Morocco, has reigned over a steadily growing economy. However, poverty in Morocco is still a major issue that demands the government’s attention.

An Improving Economy

Morocco’s economy has enjoyed steady growth since 1960. Agriculture, tourism, aerospace, phosphates, textiles and sub-components are some of the major sectors that support the country’s economic expansion. In order to further support their increased industrial development and trade, Morocco built a new port and free trade zone near the city of Tangier. Due to these efforts, Morocco’s GDP rose from 2.03 billion in 1960 to 117.92 billion in 2018. However, even with this massive rise in the country’s GDP, income disparity is still an issue.

Income Inequality in Morocco

Income inequality is one of the main issues that reflects the state of poverty in Morocco. In 2018, the OECD published a report which observed the country’s alarming income inequality. The report found that Morocco’s Gini Coefficient, an index of a country’s income inequality, was the highest of all countries in Northern Africa, at 40.3%. This inequality has far-reaching implications in Morocco. In his interview with Reuters in 2019, Ahmed Lahlimi, the head of Morocco’s official statistics agency, stated that social “disparities often trigger protests because they are viewed as a result of an illegitimate accumulation of wealth.”

A report by Oxfam also found that Morocco’s income inequality has considerable consequences. In the report, Oxfam showed that it would take 154 years for a normal employee to earn what Moroccan billionaires can make in a year. This is especially concerning because an estimated 1.6 million Moroccan citizens live in poverty. Inequality is also made evident by the difference in literacy rates between urban areas and rural areas: as of 2011, urban children were 2.7 times more likely to learn reading skills than those living in rural areas. While the literacy rate in Morocco rose from 69% in 2012 to 73% in 2018, it is clear that more needs to be done to improve the differences between urban and rural access to quality education.

Alleviating Income Inequality

In 2005, King Mohammed VI launched the National Initiative for Human Development (INDH), which aims to reduce poverty in Morocco by improving living conditions, assisting vulnerable social groups and supporting Moroccan families. The third phase of INDH, which will last from 2019 to 2023, will use its 1.9 billion dollar budget to improve basic social services and infrastructure around Morocco. As of 2019, the initiative has created 44,000 projects, 17,000 actions and 9,400 income-generating activities in an effort to bridge the inequality gap in Morocco. The country also took on a loan from The World Bank to reduce unemployment in Morocco. The government plans to use the loan to improve private sector employment, human resources, accelerate digitalization and quality of education.

While Morocco’s economy is improving, it is clear that poverty is an issue that still affects many people. Although the developing economy of Morocco improved the lives of many, it also resulted in extreme income disparities. This inequality impacts many citizens, as made apparent by the difference in literacy rates between children in urban and rural areas. Luckily, King Mohammed VI and the Moroccan government have taken measures to alleviate income disparity and poverty in Morocco. With the beginning of INDH’s third phase, many people in Morocco hope for a better future.

– YongJin Yi 
Photo: Flickr

Poverty in Morocco
Social and political unrest often take the blame for rising poverty rates in the Arab world. However, unrest alone cannot explain why poverty in Morocco has continued to fall after the Arab Spring protests. It also cannot express why Egypt has seen a relative rise in poverty. However, it is possible to relate the reasons behind the countries’ two trajectories by examining the recent policies of each. Here are five reasons for Morocco’s falling poverty rate. Also included are a few reasons why the poverty rate is climbing in Egypt. This article will highlight the differences between poverty in Morocco and Egypt.

Reasons for Declining Poverty in Morocco

  1. Morocco announced the National Human Development Initiative Support Project (INDH) in 2005. The project had $1  billion budget and a five-year timeline to improve the living conditions of citizens, reduce poverty in Morocco  and assist the most vulnerable families. Unfortunately, much of the funds did not reach the most vulnerable. However, the share of its rural population in poverty that the project targeted was 32 percent while 28 percent of the targeted urban population was in poverty.
  2. Population growth has slowed.Fertility dropped from 5.5 to 2.3 children per adult woman during the past three decades, which settled the population growth rate to 1.7 percent. The result of reduced pressure on public services and better living standards overall occurred due to a changing population structure. Better access to education could be one cause.
  3. The Moroccan government invested in basic infrastructure programs.This included an expansion of the drinking water supply, the electricity network and the road system. In addition, social programs existed for decades that provided free education, access to health care and basic food commodities.
  4. Policymakers shifted from universal public spending to targeted public spending. Prior to this 1996 program designed jointly with the World Bank, policymakers allocated only 1 percent of Morocco’s GDP toward programs that target those living in poverty in Morocco. The Social Priority Program marked a shift from universal public spending to targeted public spending. The program focused on 14 of the poorest provinces with projects in basic education, job creation and social assistance.
  5. NGOs in local development helped people move out of poverty in Morocco. This benefitted the poor in areas such as  water and electricity management and literacy programs. Since a 2002 amendment that allowed NGOs to receive foreign funding, the number of NGOs increased to 40,000 over a period of two decades. Government officials have tolerated NGOs with the understanding that they stay out of local political issues. 

Egypt and the Rise of Poverty

In looking at some of the causes of the falling rate of poverty in Morocco, it is possible to compare it to other nearby countries, as well as examine what policies have not been working in said countries. Egypt is a country that has seen the opposite trend in its overall poverty rate, now climbing to 32.5 percent in 2018, up from 16.7 percent in 2000. However, it is not fair to say that the social and political situations of the countries are equivalent. Egypt faced the removal of two presidents within two years. Still, there are many parallels between the two countries that make a comparison relevant between poverty in Morocco and Egypt. 

Egypt has had a growth rate of 2.15 percent over the past three decades. To give some understanding of what this difference means, Morocco’s population would have been 36 million in 2010 if its growth rates were that of Egypt’s over the same period of timeIn 2010, Morocco’s population was only around 32 million. Providing better access to education may reduce the growth rate, as Egypt’s education system is underfunded and in need of reform.

Policies Impacting Poverty Rates in Egypt

  1. Economic Policies: In terms of economic policies, Egypt has taken a much different approach that has harmed the country’s poor in favor of macroeconomic improvement. It has slashed subsidies for essentials and fuel, a move that helped the government cut its enormous deficit but that has  hit the poor particularly hard. This is somewhat in contrast with the policies of Morocco as the government hiked prices on the essentials of drinking water and electricity. 
  2. NGOs: NGOs have not been able to operate freely due to a 2017 bill hampering their ability to provide social and developmental work. The detainment of many NGO workers has occurred because of their engagement in behavior that some see as morally upsetting.
  3. Infrastructure: Egypt has also invested in infrastructure projects like Morocco but primarily in the private sector. The result has had an insulating effect on the rich. The construction of gated communities and shopping malls continues while public schools and hospitals fall into disrepair. Areas often bulldoze slums and poor housing areas  in favor of upscale complexes that add to a growing housing crisis. 
  4. Floating the Currency: Perhaps the most damaging policy was the decision to float the currency in November 2016 in another effort to strengthen the economy. Prices went up and imports became particularly unaffordable for anyone outside of the upper class. The move occurred in order to secure a $12 billion IMF loan over a threeyear period.

The comparison between poverty in Morocco and Egypt has highlighted useful information about the best policies to eradicate poverty. Poverty in Morocco has decreased dramatically in the past three decades due to a few policies. The policy measures that Egypt has taken unsurprisingly show that slashing subsidies that benefit the poor have had a negative impact on poverty rates. Investing in infrastructure that benefits the poor, subsidizing basic needs and a lenient stance toward foreign NGOs are just a few policies that Arab governments and otherscould enact in order to achieve the results that Morocco has seen.

Caleb Steven Carr
Photo: Pixabay

10 Facts about Child Labor in Morocco
Morocco, led by the Justice and Development Party, has directly targeted poverty and led efforts to support social programs, employment opportunities and income equality. Although the real GDP of Morocco has been declining, economic growth is expected to increase by 3.3 percent between 2020 and 2021. In 2005, the Human Rights Watch released reports highlighting the relationship between child labor and the economy of Morocco. Since then, the Human Rights Watch, the United Nations and the World Bank have poured resources into Morocco in order to alleviate child labor and the economic strains which require families to push their children into labor. The Justice and Development Party has made significant progress in fighting child labor in Morocco; however, there is still work to be done. Here are 10 facts about child labor in Morocco.

10 Facts about Child Labor in Morocco

  1. Children in Domestic Work in Morocco: In 2017, 247,000 children between the age of seven and 17 had to work. Of these, 81.4 percent dropped out of school and 8 percent never attended school. The majority of these children live in rural areas. Morocco passed a human trafficking law that increased protections for children who were at risk for trafficking. This measure prohibited hazardous work for children, increased labor inspectors to enforce child labor laws and increased the criminal punishment for child labor.
  2. Legal Framework in Morocco: Many of the laws and regulations in Morocco do not meet international standards. Its 2018 laws on child labor, however, significantly improved legal protections for children. Morocco increased the minimum age for hazardous work to 18 and made education compulsory until 15 years old.
  3. Causes of Child Labor in Morocco: Poverty, poor quality education and a lack of access to education, electricity and water all impact whether or not children work. The rural population in Morocco is particularly susceptible to child labor due to the reliance of the rural economy on agriculture, rain patterns and rural-urban migration.
  4. Dangerous Forms of Labor in Rural Areas: In rural areas, 55 percent of working children work in unsafe environments. These environments include agriculture industries, forestry and fishing. Among these 154,000 children who work in rural areas, 20 percent work full time.
  5. Dangerous Forms of Labor in Urban Areas: In urban areas, the majority of children work full time in manufacturing or construction. Ninety-three percent of children who work in construction and public works work in hazardous environments.
  6. Abuse of Children in the Workplace: The Human Rights Watch reports that not only do many children participate in dangerous forms of labor, but many children are also abused in the workplace. Girls are especially vulnerable to deception regarding working conditions. Many girls work without a break for 12 hours at a time with no days off, and not enough food. Although Morocco limits workers to 44 hours per week, some girls reported working over 100 hours a week without a day off.
  7. Low Wages: Child laborers often work long hours for very low wages. The Human Rights Watch reports that on average, girls earn $61 per month, which is $261 below the average minimum wage for the industrial sector in Morocco. In Morocco, many employers provide room and board for child laborers. While this payment may seem thoughtful at first, girls report that they are often underfed and live in poor conditions. This only furthers the abuse that these children experience at the hands of their employers.
  8. Child Poverty and Child Labor: Between 2001 and 2014, the High Commission for Planning in Morocco reported that child poverty decreased by 6.2 percent per year. Because poverty is a leading cause of child labor, between 2001 and 2014, child labor also decreased.
  9. Promise Pathways Helps Decrease Child Labor: The United States Labor Department’s Bureau of International Labor Affairs funds Morocco’s Promise Pathways program, which creates a web of local individuals dedicated to working with local communities to target causes of child labor, including education quality and learning opportunities. In addition to educational programs, Promise Pathways provides alternatives to domestic work, such as classes and coaching. Since its inception, 4,300 children have been lifted out of child labor.
  10. Overall Decrease in Children in the Workplace: Although Morocco is a long way from ensuring that no children have to work, Morocco has decreased the overall number of children in domestic labor. In 1999, 517,000 children were child laborers. In 2011, only 123,000 children were engaged in domestic labor. The number of children working in domestic labor increased between 2011 and 2017 due to the decline in the economy. However, the Human Rights Watch estimates that human trafficking laws will alleviate child labor in Morocco.

These 10 facts about child labor in Morocco shed light on the difficulties child laborers face. With continued efforts by the Human Rights Watch and other humanitarian organizations, hopefully child labor will continue to decrease.

– Denise Sprimont
Photo: Flickr

10 Facts About Sanitation in Morocco
Morocco has made significant progress in sanitation during the past decade. Although there are still many issues, improvements in water sanitation in Morocco are in the near future. Here are 10 facts about sanitation in Morocco.

10 Facts About Sanitation in Morocco

  1. H2O Maghreb: USAID and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) implemented an activity called H2O Maghreb in order to help establish advanced and sustainable water management practices in Morocco. H2O Maghreb includes a two-year degree accredited by the government of Morocco. Furthermore, the H20 Maghreb activity provides training and job opportunities in waste management. About 80 percent of the students participating are women.
  2. The Douira Sea Water Desalination Plant: Morocco plans to build the world’s largest seawater desalination plant in the city of Agadir in 2021. The Douira Sea Water Desalination Plant will provide drinking water to the people of the Chtouka Ait Baha region in Morocco. Further, the Douira Sea Water Desalination Plant should be able to irrigate 15,000 hectares of land and produce up to 450,000 cubic meters of desalinated water every day.
  3. Dakhla’s Wasterwater Treatment Plant: Morocco is also building a wastewater treatment plant in Dakhla. The plant will help prevent wastewater from polluting groundwater resources. Additionally, the wastewater sludge can also act as a fertilizer.
  4. Improvements to the Wastewater Sector: During the past decade, Morocco has made many improvements in its wastewater sector. Of the 34 million people in Morocco, 25 percent of the people are not connected to the sewer network and 38 percent of the people are not connected to wastewater treatment plants.
  5. Leprosy: Leprosy is on the decline in Morocco. From 2000 to 2012, the number of leprosy cases decreased by 4.68 percent each year. In 2012, Morocco began a program to distribute rifampicin to help prevent the spread of leprosy. From 2012 to 2017, the number of cases of leprosy in Morocco decreased by 16.38 percent each year. The rifampicin program helped prevent leprosy and improved sanitation in Morocco
  6. Trachoma: Morocco eliminated trachoma in 2016. Trachoma is an infectious disease that causes blindness. Morocco implemented the World Health Organization-endorsed SAFE strategy in the 1990s. This included surgery for trichiasis, antibiotics to treat trachoma, facial cleanliness and environmental improvements to help prevent the spread of trachoma.
  7. Acid Mine Drainage: Acid mine drainage is an issue in Morocco. When people do not clean mine sites, the acid mine drainage at the mines can contaminate the land and the groundwater.
  8. Water, Sanitation and Hygiene in Schools (WinS): Morocco implemented the program Water, sanitation and hygiene in schools (WinS) in order to provide clean water and improve sanitary facilities in 19 primary schools in the country. Improving sanitary facilities at schools can help prevent water-related diseases and encourage children to stay in school and graduate.
  9. European Space Agency Technology: The University of Kenitra utilizes technology developed by the European Space Agency to clean groundwater so that it is safe for people to drink. The water treatment facility will provide water for 1,200 students.
  10. Safely-Managed Drinking Services: As of 2017, 70.266 percent of the people in Morocco have access to safely-managed drinking water services. This also means that as of 2017, 29.734 percent of the people in Morocco do not have access to safely-managed drinking water services.

These 10 facts about sanitation in Morocco show that the water supply is improving and will continue to improve. As technology and new initiatives increase the water supply, more people will gain access to safe drinking water.

Frank Decapio
Photo: Wikimedia Commons