Charities Operating in MoroccoThough Morocco’s poverty rates have been decreasing through the years, the nation’s rural multidimensional poverty rate is almost five times as high as its urban rate. Morocco continues to face environmental, social and economic challenges that contribute to harsh living conditions for too many of its citizens. Multidimensional poverty affects 5.5% of the population. Fortunately, many charities operating in Morocco are working hard to address these issues and make a positive impact on society.

5 Charities Operating in Morocco

  1. High Atlas Foundation (HAF) – Founded in the year 2000, High Atlas Foundation reaches social groups around Morocco to help develop, implement and sustain local projects that target economic, social and environmental challenges. The organization has 17 active projects, 400 volunteers and at least 3,000 beneficiaries. Some of the projects include planting trees to empower farming families, empowering women for democratic participation, providing clean drinking water for 1,250 villagers, improving rural Moroccan schools and many more. Since 2011, HAF has had Consultancy Status at the U.N. Economic and Social Council.

  2. Education For All (EFA) – After seeing a 70% illiteracy rate among girls in rural Morocco, EFA stepped in to launch its project in 2007. The aim was to provide high-quality education for girls living close to the High Atlas Mountains in Morocco and with no resources to attend schools in the city. EFA boarding schools serve as “homes away from home” for the admitted girls who get three meals a day, studying supplies and everything else needed for optimal education. With a total of five boarding houses, the number of beneficiaries reached 185 girls in 2017. EFA reports that 90% of all donations it receives go directly into funding the project.

  3. Project SOAR – Established in 2015, Project SOAR’s mission is to empower teenage girls in the rural areas of Morocco and lead them to a better future. So far, the results have been outstanding, as 99.5% of the SOAR girls avoid early marriage or early pregnancy. Also, 100% of SOAR girls go on to pursue higher education compared to only 39% of girls globally. More than 3,700 girls from 42 rural communities across Morocco and Syria have benefited from the program. The girls learn and build social and leadership skills through the program’s activities and workshops. In 2016, Project SOAR started a partnership with Michelle Obama’s “Let Girls Learn” initiative. This led to some beneficiaries and staff visiting the White House for the filming of “We Will Rise” to celebrate the International Day of the Girl.

  1. Fondation Zakoura – Founded in 1997, Fondation Zakoura started operating as a nonprofit organization focused on providing primary-school-level informal education. It set out to lead and support children in rural areas. In 2001, Fondation Zakoura introduced adult sensitization sessions for health, hygiene and education. And in 2010, it added an environmental sustainability program. Four years later, the organization launched a digital school to enable online accessibility. Fondation Zakoura has been a model NGO for many NGOs worldwide, attracting visits from delegations throughout the world.
  2. Dar Si Hmad Association – Founded in 2010, Dar Si Hmad is an innovative nonprofit organization seeking to create opportunities for low-resource communities in Morocco. It specializes in environmental education programs, capacity building of young adults and exchange and cooperation through worldwide exchange programs. One of the innovative projects, FOG, involves the installation of sprawling net-like structures known as CloudFishers near the highest mountains across rural communities to collect water from the clouds and fog. The initiative helps mitigate droughts and lack of water accessibility in rural areas of the country.

Though there are several NGOs and charities operating in Morocco, these five stand out for international recognition, and past and present progress. Each is dedicated to tackling several aspects of multidimensional poverty, presenting underprivileged communities with opportunities to grow and learn. 

– Sebastián Garcés
Photo: Flickr

Education in Morocco
Since Morocco’s independence in 1956, its education system has typically been described as frustrating and disappointing. In recent years, Morocco has made numerous improvements and committed to solidifying the quality of its education system. Here are five facts about education in Morocco.

  1. The academic year begins in September and ends in June. The school system is structured into three separate parts. Primary takes students starting at the age of 6 and educates them until the age of 12. Secondary and tertiary last another three years each. Morocco also offers educational options beyond public schooling with higher learning institutions.
  2. Learning and knowledge are typically measured through literacy, the ability to read and write. Reading and writing are essential to reaching higher levels of education and scoring well on national performance tests. Morocco’s youth have made tremendous strides in increasing their literacy rates. The World Bank reports 95% of youth ages 15-24 years old can effectively read and write. This is an increase from 81.5% in 2011.
  3. Men in Morocco currently dominate the gross enrollment ratio for primary, secondary and tertiary education systems. The UNESCO chart for secondary education shows that male enrollment exceeded female enrollment by 10.8% in 2012. However, tables for 2015 show a decreased gap in admission ratio for primary and tertiary education.
  4. Public spending on education has been significantly rising in Morocco. According to the OCP Policy Center, government spending on education in 2014 was about 5.9% of GDP and 21.3% of total government spending. Since 2002, payments have been increasing by more than 5% per year almost every year. One analysis from the International Monetary Fund confirms a more organized use of this money has the potential to lead standardized test scores to increase by 53 points.
  5. Morocco suffers from low-quality education as reflected in performance indicators. In a 2014 update completed by the UNESCO Institute for Statistics, Morocco ranks in the thirtieth percentile for learning compared to other countries. The most recent PIRLS and TIMSS assessment results for 2011 showcase just how poor Morocco’s performance is. Test results reveal Morocco ranks second to last in math and last in reading compared to the 36 countries participating.

The good news is that experts and policymakers have fully recognized the remaining barriers for education in Morocco. A way forward has also been identified through their 2015-2030 Vision for Education in Morocco. The plan will address previous failures by targeting four specific areas including the priority for quality education. The country has already partnered with the USAID to make some of these goals a reality. So far 12,000 students have been reached with a new reading method and over 340 teachers have been trained on new reading instruction.

Emilee Wessel

Photo: Flickr