Disability and poverty in Morocco are interlinked. In general, research indicates that poverty and disability are interconnected: poverty creates conditions that increase the risk of disability and disability can cause poverty. Disability exacerbates poverty in that it leads to job losses and difficulties securing employment and accessing education opportunities. As a result of health care expenses and other specialized needs, people with disabilities also experience high living costs. Conditions of impoverishment may also contribute to poor health outcomes, increasing the likelihood of disability. Limited health care among impoverished people increases disability susceptibility. Nonetheless, organizations such as Humanity & Inclusion are working to address these issues, attempting to prevent the growth of poverty in Morocco.
Disability Statistics in Morocco
Census data from 2014 indicates that 4.1% of Morocco’s population had disabilities at the time, equating to more than 1.3 million people. The 2014 data also shows that about 15% of disabled people had a primary school education and 73% of disabled people had not completed any schooling at all. Moreover, 8.5% gained a secondary level education and only 1.5% reached a higher level of education. These statistics highlight the urgency of making education more accessible for those with special needs.
A study led by Abderrazak Hajjioui utilizes data from a national survey conducted in 2014 with about 47,000 adult participants. The study notes an 85% increase in the prevalence of disability from 2004 to 2014, however, this is likely because the 2014 survey uses a “larger screening spectrum of disabilities.” The study found that 9.5% of the surveyed Moroccan population had a disability of some kind. The study noted “a 2.6% prevalence rate of moderate-to-extreme disability, corresponding to 56,323 persons, when extrapolated to the Moroccan adult population.”
Poverty in Morocco
From 2001 to 2014, poverty significantly decreased in Morocco — monetary poverty reduced to 4.8%, the World Bank says. Furthermore, consumption per capita expanded at a yearly rate of 3.3%. However, there are still disparities between urban and rural areas. In urban areas, household consumption grew faster than in rural areas from 2007 to 2014. Therefore, urban poverty rates noted more significant decreases than rural areas.
Moreover, a substantial difference in access to health care services remains. Morocco’s health workers are unevenly distributed between rural and urban areas. Using 2016 data, a Policy Center for the New South (PCNS) paper shows the lack of health specialists in certain areas in Morocco. In some areas, the number of doctors does not correspond to high population numbers, especially in rural communities.
Efforts to Empower Disabled People
Humanity & Inclusion is an NGO that began its work in Morocco in 1993 in partnership with local disability organizations. The organization aims to “promote the inclusion of children and adults with disabilities in society.” The organization has five focal areas: financial inclusion, rehabilitative services, inclusive education and humanitarian efforts that do not exclude those with disabilities. In terms of inclusive education, Humanity & Inclusion’s efforts include “supporting the education of children with disabilities in mainstream schools” and “developing teaching techniques and methods to be inclusive and adapted to disabled children,” its website says.
Morocco’s Minister of Solidarity, Integration and Family, Aouatif Hayar, announced in June 2022 that the department is developing “a new disability assessment system” that will guide Morocco in improving the lives of those with disabilities. Based on “medical and social dimensions of disability,” the system will determine the type and extent of disability and the “rehabilitation, educational or medical programs” suitable for the individual.
By acknowledging the connection between disability and poverty in Morocco, the Moroccan government can
help to improve conditions for people with disabilities.
– Olga Petrovska