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


The Kingdom of Morocco lies in the northwestern corner of Africa. A desire for the country to become less energy-dependent and more dedicated to the preservation of the environment brought on rapid progress in renewable energy. Drawing attention from energy and environmental communities alike, Morocco has an ambitious goal to reach 42 percent renewable energy by 2020. Making use of its most abundant natural resource, the sun, has greatly helped the country stay on track to meet this goal. The success of solar power in Morocco allowed the country to reach 35 percent renewable energy as of July 2019.

The Noor-Ouarzazate Concentrated Solar Power Complex

Sitting near the southeastern Moroccan city of Ouarzazate is a solar energy complex. The Noor-Ouarzazate Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) Complex is a massive, more than 6,000-acre facility (roughly the size of San Francisco) that produces enough energy to power the country’s capital Marrakesh twice over. Additionally, the solar plant brings a new level of ingenuity to solar power in Morocco. A traditional solar plant faces the problem of supplying consistent power when the sun is not out. Batteries that temporarily store power are expensive and the environmental impacts are questionable.

In contrast, the Noor CSP Complex can supply constant power 24/7 to the 2 million people who draw power from it. Rather than using photovoltaic solar panels to generate electricity, the plant utilizes two million sun-tracking mirrors that reflect light to a receiver at the top of the 800-foot tower in the center of them all. The receiver has a mix of liquid salts that superheats and stays hot for 7.5 hours, which is important since energy usage spikes in the evening after the sun sets. The stored heat then superheats water tanks that create steam and turn turbines to generate electricity. The energy then flows out to the public, much like any other electricity but furthers energy independence of the country.

What Does This Mean for Poverty?

People have long thought of adequate access to electricity as one of the fundamental aspects of development. The World Bank goes as far as to say that electricity is “at the heart of development.” In Morocco, much of the population has access to electricity due to the affordability of its energy sector. The recent drive to invest in renewable energy caused the price of electricity to drop significantly. Additionally, renewable energy assures Morocco’s rural population that their source of energy is affordable. According to Mohammed Jamil al-Ramahi, the CEO of Masdar (the company that received the contract for the Noor CSP Complex), “It is now cheaper to build renewable energy power plants than those based on fossil fuels.”

Not only is renewable energy cheaper by itself, but since Morocco started investing in domestic power generation, it can bring electricity to its citizens without worrying about the price of importing oil, coal and electricity from other countries. This also allows for greater energy security and gives Morocco a better stance on the international stage. In addition, the devotion to renewable energy and solar power in Morocco has shown the world that it is dedicated to the U.N.’s seventh Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all. Morocco is not only helping its poorest people and paving the way for greater rural development, but it is also doing so in a remarkably sustainable way that is largely unprecedented on an international scale.

Graham Gordon
Photo: Flickr

10 Facts About Child Labor in MoroccoOutside of tourists’ eyes, child labor still operates throughout Morocco in the form of forced labor and agricultural work. Little choice resides in the child, his or her guardians signing the contract instead. Some children, however, do make a choice to enlist themselves, previously working at younger ages and unable to find another way to make a living. Below are 10 facts about child labor in Morocco describing its harshness and prevalence.

10 Facts About Child Labor in Morocco

  1. Worst Forms of Child Labor: The Worst Forms of Child Labor Convention (Convention No. 182) established a list of the worst activities a child could work. Some categories this list included were forced domestic work and begging. UNESCO data shows that 4.5 percent of children ages 10 to 14 work, which equates to 150,178 children. These kids participate in the listed worst activities including working in illegal sand extraction, restaurants or houses and begging for food and money.
  2. Female Child Labor and Sex Trafficking: The families of rural Moroccan girls between the ages of 6 and 15 often send them to work in homes in Morocco and other African countries. They are often vulnerable to abuse in these situations, and in some cases, commercial sexual exploitation.
  3. Lack of Education: Besides the unfortunate act of trafficking, children in Morocco face other blockages that prevent them from obtaining a fulfilling education. Living long distances from established schools, including a lack of security and fees for attending school limits the inclusiveness of rural or disabled children. The requirement of a present birth certificate for higher schooling adds to the blockade. This lack of education forces children into labor.
  4. Domestic Work Provides Loopholes for Employers: The Morocco Labor Code allows a maximum of 44 hours a week; however, this limit does not cover domestic workers. In interviews with the Human Rights Watch (a nonprofit organization that investigates human rights), girls reported that they sometimes work 100 hours a week with no breaks or days off. One even detailed a task from 6 a.m. until midnight. Parents and middlemen often lie to the girls, presenting the employers as kind people and working conditions as favorable.
  5. Salaries Almost Never go to the Kids: Interviews that the Human Rights Watch conducted with children showed that parents and employers negotiated almost all agreements to work. Most children received no wages at all, with all wages going to the parents or guardians. Furthermore, the monthly salary that the children in domestic work earned totaled only $61 on average. In Morocco’s industrial sector, salaries reach up to $261 per month.
  6. Self-Employed Children Do Not Follow the Labor Code: Similar to domestic work, Morocco cannot enforce the 44-hour limit for children who work as artisans or ones who even tend to private farms. These children risk exploitation and some may even feel obligated to work overtime in their self-employed job to cover expenses for their families.
  7. Work in Other Industries Can Also be Dangerous: Besides domestic work, some children operate in carpentry or repairing automobiles. Children use dangerous tools daily, exposing them to dust, chemicals and loud noise. Cutting trees, another option for work, involves the use of dangerous equipment and tools as well. Meanwhile, fishing presents a danger for children because they could drown. While some jobs are less binding than others, children still unwittingly expose themselves to constant risks.
  8. Morocco’s Trafficking Spreads to Other Countries: Reports detail that child prostitution not only occurs in local cities but in the capital and coastal ones as well, Rabat and Casablanca among the list. Both boys and girls fall victim to sex tourism in sites attracting customers from the Persian Gulf and Europe. Traffickers send children to these countries for forced labor or sexual exploitation. Children put themselves up for prostitution, usually previous victims of domestic service unable to find shelter.
  9. Labor Inspectors May Solve Some Dilemmas: One challenge is that there is a lack of people to monitor the working conditions of children. The Human Rights Watch suggested effective methods including identifying and removing underage children from households and studying the conditions of those with appropriate age. These recommendations have yet to gain traction, though. With these, however, investigators could enforce the law, and fine or arrest employers that do not follow limitations set in place.
  10. The Situation is Improving…Somewhat: In 2017, the government supported the Law on Setting Up Employment Conditions of Domestic Workers. This passed bill restricts the recruitment of children between the ages of 16 and 18 for domestic work. Morocco’s government also supports the Tayssir Conditional Cash Transfer Program, which directly sends financial aid to families with kids unable to meet school criteria. These improvements are restricting an increasing number of children from dangerous work and causing the issuing of fines for violations of child labor.

While the solutions that these 10 facts about child labor in Morocco present only slightly reduce the overarching problem, child labor should lessen as the issues that people associate with it reach the spotlight of the media. Human Rights Watch suggests that the government take direct action to protect children.

Domestic workers and government actions are currently helping end contracts in houses across Morocco. The steps to ending child labor have only begun, yet the future looks promising. Programs such as the Cash Transfer Program reached 2 million children, allowing kid’s shoes to pass through the school gate. Other social programs give assistance to children at-risk for entering child labor with vocational training.

– Daniel Bertetti
Photo: Flickr

10 Facts About Life Expectancy in Morocco
Morocco is a country in North Africa that borders the Atlantic Ocean in the west and the Mediterranean in the north. Its location makes it a strong competitor in international trade and business. Forbes has classified Morocco as an emerging country with financial, educational and political potential. In 2015, the Government of Morocco and the World Health Organization (WHO) teamed up to improve the public health situation in the country, focusing on five regional priorities: health security and control of communicable diseases, mental health and violence, nutrition, strengthening health systems and responsiveness to health crises. Here are the 10 facts about life expectancy in Morocco.

10 Facts About Life Expectancy in Morocco

  1. Life expectancy at birth in Morocco has increased by over 35 years since 1950. A recent report found that Moroccans should reach a 77-year life expectancy compared with the 42 years of average life expectancy in 1950. The Ministry of Family Solidarity, Equality and Social Development carried out this study in partnership with the National Observatory for Human Development.
  2. The same study found that the life expectancy of Moroccan women was age 60, which was 21 years longer instead of just 17 years longer as recorded in 1980. There was a similar increase with Moroccan men at age 60, who now should live 19 years longer instead of 17 years longer in 1980.
  3. The 2014 Moroccan census showed that nearly 3.2 million Moroccans are over 60 years old, while in 1960, less than one million Moroccans lived to be 60 years old. The aforementioned study predicts that by the year 2030, the number of people who live to be 60 and above will double to almost six million Moroccans, which is 20 percent of the population.
  4. Morocco is currently going through a demographic transition. The population is increasing but at a declining rate, as the overall life expectancy from birth continues to increase but women are having fewer children. Morocco is following development trends; the more it develops, the more the rate of its population goes down. When Morocco reaches the status of a developed country, its population will decline like countries across Europe and the United States of America.
  5. Overall infant, child and maternal mortality rates have decreased as there is more emphasis on expanding access to vaccinations, adequate nutrition, hygiene and better primary health care. Various international organizations and nonprofits, such as the WHO and CARE have managed to improve the overall health care situation in Morocco. All of these contribute to the decrease in mortality rates and the increase in life expectancy.
  6. Morocco has a shrinking population of children which reflects the decline in the total fertility rate from five in the mid-1980s to 2.2 in 2010. Total fertility rate (TFR) relates to the total number of children born or likely to be born to a woman in her lifetime, assuming she is subject to the age-specific fertility rate of her society’s population.
  7. Aging is the main trend in demographic shifts. The joint report found that by 2050, Morocco will have approximately 10 million senior citizens. This again points towards increased life expectancy and Morocco’s increasing overall development.
  8. The joint report also indicated that poverty in urban areas decreased from 4.9 percent to 0.7 percent and in the countryside from 14 percent to 4.5 percent in the span of almost a decade. This decrease in poverty, as well as the tendency of elderly to live in urban areas with increased access to health care, are all contributing factors to the increased life expectancy of elderly, as well as the general population.
  9. The study found that proper medical care and social care for the elderly is lacking, despite the increasing senior population in Morocco. Currently, there is not enough investment in welfare programs or senior living facilities and arrangements. This makes it more difficult for seniors to participate in Moroccan society by posing challenges to their own mobilization and physical health.
  10. The Ministry of Family, Solidarity, Equality and Social Development stress that research on life expectancy help the government to assess and develop adequate social welfare and health care programs. The increase in elderly people in the population implies the government should be investing in senior accommodations such as senior living homes.

These 10 facts about life expectancy in Morocco should help the country adequately serve its people through health care and social programs. With this knowledge, the country can prepare to provide care and housing for an older population.

– Laura Phillips-Alvarez
Photo: Flickr

living conditions in morocco
Morocco is a country rich in history and tradition with a unique culture that comes from Arab, Berber, French and African influences. While the country faces several economic, political and social challenges, it has also been experiencing continued growth in GDP, indicating the progress in its development. Evidence of the country’s domestic progress can be seen through its efforts in increasing school enrollment and literacy rates and reducing poverty. It has also displayed its progress internationally by taking the lead on environmental progress in the region. Here are the top 10 facts about living conditions in Morocco.

Top 10 Facts About Living Conditions in Morocco

  1. Morocco’s government has implemented programs focused on job creation and the reduction of economic disparities that have been effective enough to improve the overall economy. Morocco represents the sixth largest economy in Africa. Its GDP growth rate increased from 2.40 percent in July 2018 to 3 percent by October 2018. Although in previous years, the GDP had been higher, this increase represents a new upswing in growth.
  2. There was slight progress in reducing unemployment in 2018, with a small drop from 10.6 percent to 10 percent by September that year. The High Commission for Planning estimates that 122,00 jobs were created within the last year. In addition, youth unemployment rates dropped from 27.5 percent to 26 percent.
  3. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) concluded in an index evaluation that Morocco is the worst country in North Africa in terms of income inequality. The income share held by the highest 20 percent amounted to 47 percent in 2013 while the lowest 20 percent held a total of 6.70 percent. Distribution of income in Morocco is a challenge that still needs to be addressed.
  4. Although income inequality persists, the poverty rate in Morocco had decreased from 8.9% in 2007 to 4.2% in 2014. The World Bank reported an increase of 3.3 percent in consumption per capita between 2001 to 2014. However, progress is more apparent in urban areas rather than rural.
  5. In order to improve and diversify its economy, the government has been focusing on becoming more innovative. In 2010, research efforts accounted for 0.73 percent of its GDP, making Morroco one of the highest in the Arab world in that focus. In 2009, the country adopted the Moroccan Innovation Strategy by the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Investment and the Digital Economy with the aim of developing domestic demand for innovation and improving innovative funding.
  6. Due to severe understaffing, the World Health Organization (WHO) had listed Morocco as one of the 57 countries that could not provide essential healthcare to its citizens in 2010. The government has since taken measures to improve this. It announced the allotment $10 billion to go towards healthcare and education as part of its $46.5 billion 2019 Finance Bill.
  7. In 2001, Morocco had implemented a program to do away with all the slums. The “City Without Slums Initiative” was set to be accomplished by 2011, but was set back considerably after terrorist attacks in 2003. Its purpose was to improve housing, sanitation and quality of life. It is currently only 68 percent complete. Of the original 85 cities that were scheduled to be updated, 58 have been completed.
  8. In partnership with USAID, Morocco has adopted measures to improve its educational system in 2017. Fewer than 15 percent of students who start in first grade are predicted to graduate from high school. The newly implemented program focuses on teacher training, after-school reading programs as well as distributing important learning materials. The program has already trained more than 340 teachers and improved literacy for 12,000 students.
  9. Literacy rates had improved substantially from 41.6 percent in 1994 to 71.7 percent in 2015. However, the adult literacy gender gap in Morocco is still a challenge that the government is facing. In 2015, the male literacy rate reached 78.6 percent; whereas, the female literacy rate was only 58.8 percent. However, these rates improve significantly when looking at the youth between the ages of 15-24. The gender gap is still present in youth, but much narrower, with roughly 88 percent for women and 95 percent for men.
  10. Similarly to the social challenges the whole region faces, Morocco is a patriarchal society. Gender inequality is embedded in the social, political, legal and economic structures of the country. However, the government has taken constitutional measures to increase gender equality. In 2004, it amended the Mudawanna legal code, guaranteeing legal rights for women in areas like property ownership, divorce and child support. Women currently make up one-third of the formal workforce and almost half of the students graduating from university.

Looking to the Future

These 10 facts about living conditions in Morocco illustrate the government’s efforts to not only achieve economic growth but develop overall. The U.N. Development Program indicated that the Human Development Index for Morocco had increased from 0.458 in 1990 to 0.667 2017. The Moroccan government’s 2019 agenda for development is focused on education and a huge investment in its citizens for the purpose of economic transformation.

Njoud Mashouka

Photo: Flickr

youth, education, morocco
Morocco is a North African country that has seen great improvements in the education sector in recent years.

Thanks to an increase in public spending, and several programs currently in place helping to improve youth education in Morocco, the country has drastically improved the populations’ literacy rates and education system as a whole.

Decade of Education

Morocco had the largest increase in youth literacy in the world between 2000 and 2015. The increase in this time span was 24.6 percent. The result of these efforts was the youth literacy that was vastly improved and that was at 95.1 percent in 2015.

This increase can largely be attributed to the Moroccan government’s Decade of Education. This program was established in 2000, with the goal of increasing enrollment rates and closing the gender gap in education. The program has been more than successful, closing the gender gap to 3.5 percent, and benefiting the 735,000 Moroccan youth with literacy and educational programs in 2012 alone.

The United States Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) awarded Morocco with an honorable mention in the 2012 UNESCO Confucius prize, a prize that is awarded to the nations who show great improvement in literacy rates.

Partnering of USAID and Morrocan Government

Despite the vast improvement in literacy rates, there is still work to be done in the educational sector in the country. Drop-out rates are still high, with only 53 percent of students moving on from middle to high school and less than 15 percent of first-grade students likely to graduate from high school.

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has partnered with the Moroccan government to improve education on a number of levels including reading, hiring more teachers and administrators and distributing reading materials.

The results of the partnership have been successful, to say the least. More than 12,000 students have been helped by the new reading method, over 340 teachers have been instructed on new reading material, an educational program to help deaf students through sign language is now offered by 10 schools across Morocco.

In 2017, a nationwide program was established to implement a phonics-based educational reading method in grades 1 and 2 in order to further develop youth education in Morocco.

Through the collaboration of the government and different nongovernmental organizations, tens of thousands of new teachers were trained every year and primary education rates rose from 53.4 percent to 98.2 percent between 2000 and 2009.

Vision 2030

Public spending on education has risen considerably in recent years. Over 21 percent of total government spending was used for education in 2014, which accounted for 5.9 percent of GDP that year. Public spending on education has risen by 5 percent per year almost every year since 2002.

The Moroccan Minister of National Education and Vocational Training unveiled a new educational project known as Vision 2030 during the presentation of national education budget projection in 2015.

The project will put emphasis on several levels of educational improvement, including mastering the Arabic language, a working knowledge of foreign languages and integrating general education with vocational training.

Youth Education in Morocco has been steadily improving thanks to government programs and nonprofits donating time and money to help the cause. The country continues to explore future ideas to continue to improve the quality of education in the country.

– Casey Geier

Photo: Flickr

how the media misrepresents Morocco
Morocco lies in the west of North Africa and is slightly smaller than the U.S. state of California. The country is both scenic and fertile with the Atlantic Ocean to its west and the Mediterranean Sea to its north. It’s in how the media misrepresents Morocco, a country with a great history, that much of its beauty is lost.

As of 2015, Morocco is the fifth richest country in Africa. Since it is one of the most visited countries, it generates two-thirds of its GDP through tourism and telecommunications.

Media Misrepresents Morocco

How the media misrepresents Morocco, however, is through the depiction of its people’s faith, geographic location and traditionalism. An astonishing 98 percent of the country’s population are Muslims. They follow Islam—a religion that has a history of conflict and controversy with the Western world. Since September 11, 2001, the Western media has continuously exposed the wrongdoings of the Muslim faith causing further tension.

Moreover, Morocco is also an African nation, which, given the continent’s history of mass poverty, has only added to the media’s bias.

Finally, about 24 percent of the population is the Arabized Imazighen and about 21 percent are Imazighen—a community of people who are descendants of an Afro-Asiatic family which directly descends from the ancient Egyptians. The Imazighen are strictly traditional and often live in Morocco’s mountainous regions to preserve their language and culture.

An example of how the media misrepresents Morocco is how it has depicted the country as an ‘unjust’ and ‘unfair’ nation. One such report came from Freedom House’s 2015 report on journalism, which ranked Morocco lower than other nations which have a history of violence with reporters although it does not have a history of violence.

It is true, that in essence, the Qur’an is the source of law, however, Morocco does have a French-inspired legal code. After the legal system was met with pressures from Moroccan women for a more balanced system, in 2004 the parliament issued a more liberal and balanced legal code.

Constitutional Monarchy in Morocco

The country is headed by a constitutional monarchy, which shares its power with the parliament. The monarch does have power over religious affairs, the country’s armed forces and the national security policy. The monarch also has the power to choose the prime minister.

The monarch’s political affiliation and power have been a subject of much controversy and debate—particularly in the last 30 years. Nevertheless, the Moroccans have voted in favor of this system, though they did vote to expand the parliament’s power in 2011.

Modernization in Morocco

Another aspect of how the media misrepresents Morocco is that it seems to ignore how the country is rapidly modernizing. It instead capitalizes on how Morocco has kept much of its ancient architecture and customs. The Western media reports the country to be “stuck in its ways” and “archaic” but ignores how it has tried to promote women’s equality, human rights, religious tolerance and social liberalization while upholding its Islamic heritage.

Morocco has seen much migration and urbanization of its communities. Its standard of living is also rapidly increasing. In fact, it is the most visited African nation with 10.3 million tourists in 2016 alone.

Battling Malnutrition in Morocco

While one-third of Morocco experiences malnutrition, the government is actively trying to better the living conditions of those affected. For instance, in 1999 the Moroccan government set up a loan fund to help small businesses grow. In 2017, the government provided its impoverished communities with electricity and piped water.

Morocco, in fact, is one of the few Arab nations which could be self-sufficient in food production. It can produce two-thirds of the grains necessary for domestic consumption in a year. Morocco is trying to capitalize on this by attempting to use its great potential in hydroelectric power.

– Isabella Agostini
Photo: Flickr

Human Rights in Morocco
Morocco gained independence in 1956 and now works under a monarchy. Today, Morocco has a population of more than 36 million and is known to many to be a beautiful and vibrant country with a rich history. However, there is much about the social culture of this country that people do not know. Morocco has long had political and social turmoil due to the lack of ability for people to protest the government. Here are three facts about human rights in Morocco and what is being done to improve the situation.

3 Facts About Human Rights in Morocco

  1. Freedom of Expression – In 2016, Morocco implemented The Press and Publications Code to eliminate using prison sentences as a punishment for non-violent speech and issue fines instead. However, this has not been upheld by the country’s penal code. In fact, some cases have seen increased prison sentences after peaceful participation in demonstrations against the government. Morocco has to begin working to reduce punishments inflicted on those who wish to peacefully speak out, and prison sentences given to activists as well as the fines, equivalent to $2,000 for social media posts by activists, should be removed from the law to truly promote human rights in Morocco.
  2. Freedom of Assembly – After imprisoning various activists for their demonstrations against the government concerning its treatment of the environment, the Moroccan government began slowly tolerating more marches. While this was a significant step, most protests were still forcibly dispersed, regardless of their peaceful nature, and people have still been imprisoned. The Moroccan Constitution promotes freedom of association and assembly; however, when The Moroccan Association of Human Rights has tried to hold events, there have been many obstacles in their path. Freedom of assembly in Morocco must be allowed to progress in order for the country to progress.
  3. Women’s Rights – In 2004, The Family Code was created to improve women’s rights in various scenarios considering divorce, child custody rights and inheritance. Furthermore, the Moroccan Constitution in 2011 actually states equality for women, but this is not yet the case. There are still many advancements to be made considering the discriminatory laws against women in regards to sex outside marriage and rape. In these cases, it is more common for women to face repercussions than men.
  4. Domestic Workers – In October 2018, there will be a new law implemented to assist domestic workers. Human rights in Morocco are expanding to set the minimum age for working at 18. Not only will this limit the age but the number of hours worked in a week will also be limited and a minimum wage will be set. While this is a step in the right direction, with poverty rampant in certain parts of Morocco, there are many children, mostly girls, that, undoubtedly, will have to continue to work.

While there are many areas in which Morocco needs to work on their goals to implement stronger human rights policies, there are many organizations that are working every day to strengthen Moroccan people.

3 Organizations Working To Promote Human Rights in Morocco

  1. National Human Rights Council (CNDH) – The National Human Rights Council is an organization that focuses on ending human rights violations by addressing and assuring freedoms in Morocco. Violations are monitored and investigations are conducted to deter future violations. Not only does the council have the power to investigate current issues but they also have the ability to inspect prisons and assure that conditions are satisfactory. As an organization, they have reported on issues such as gender equality, violence and reform.
  2. Moroccan Truth and Reconciliation Commission – Established in 2004, this commission has seventeen members and spends its efforts on reconciling past violations conducted in the Arab world. They assess the settlements needed for cases against human rights. Violations are graded and the victims are to be compensated adequately, depending on the severity of the violation.
  3. Women’s Rights and Gender Equality – While women’s rights in certain portions of the developing world have often been overlooked, in Morocco, they have become a lead focus for the government. The idea has been to change how women’s roles are viewed in society. The Moroccan government has been somewhat successful, which is demonstrably shown by the fact that 21 percent of women now hold office in The House of Representatives.

Morocco has undergone a significant transition in the recent years making human rights a forefront focus. There has been a transition. While there is much still to be done, Morocco has made changes that should and will improve its future.

– Kayleigh Mattoon
Photo: Flickr

Girls' Education in Morocco

Gender Roles a Barrier to Girls’ Education in Morocco

The idea that women are not seen as equal to men in any facet is not something new in Morocco. This has been a social norm as old as civilization. The woman is seen as the caretaker and custodian of the household while the men provide for the family and work to earn money.

There are many factors that contribute to this situation, such as traditions that favor boys’ education over girls’, the number of young girls forced to work and early marriage. Girls are deprived of the necessary tools needed to succeed in life simply because they are not male. This type of gender inequality is an enormous problem as well as a human rights issue.

In addition, the distance to school for Moroccan girls can be a hurdle compared to boys. According to the Peace Corps, “The further away from the home, it is believed, the greater the girl’s vulnerability, the greater the danger.” Unfortunately, girls are the victims of most attacks due to society identifying them as feeble. Not being given the opportunity to receive a quality education in a country where it is mandatory, is quite saddening when knowing the full extent of girls’ education in Morocco.

Changing Social Norms Are Part of the Solution

Many steps can be taken in order to combat this issue. First, laws regarding gender equality in Morocco need to be better enforced. Morocco guaranteed full equality in its 2011 constitution, but many women in the country believe there is more work to be done to make this a reality.

Another solution is an alteration in traditional practices. It is well known that males are seen as superior in every aspect of society, but a shift in this view would help girls and women. Not only would girls benefit from being treated equally, but this would also cause a domino effect that would influence other parts of the economy and education system.

Education would be affected the most in a positive way. Girls would feel empowered and be more willing to attend school if they are not looked down upon like they are today. Girls would also be able to concentrate and focus more on their studies because they would not have to worry about mistreatment or the possibility of being taken advantage of.

According to Morocco World News, “In terms of urban-rural dichotomy, the situation for women in rural areas remains significantly poorer with rates of illiteracy standing at 87 percent.” In a country where the role of women is becoming increasingly important, why are almost 90 percent of its women illiterate? This verifies a very large gender gap in quality education and will most likely continue if action is not taken.

Whether there will be change regarding girls’ education in Morocco remains to be seen, but when the proper information is obtained and individuals are aware of what needs to happen to see a difference, many ideas and solutions will begin to arise and hopefully end a gender gap in the education system that has been part of Morocco for a very long time.

– Matthew McGee
Photo: Google