Messem has been involved in Oxfam Strawberry project since 2015 and is a member of the producer platform in Morocco. During peak season they employ over 2,000 people, of which over 90 per cent are women. Credit: Bekki Frost / Oxfam

In response to the wave of revolt and change which touched the Arab world in 2011, the constitutional monarchy of Morocco introduced constitutional reform.

Launched by King Mohammed VI and approved by a referendum in July 2011, which seeks to reduce the monarchy’s power in the legislative and executive branches, and to establish the supremacy of international law over national law, as well as the principle of gender equality in political participation. The reforms contain high ambitions for democratization and developing the rule of law in Morocco, but their application has met with some problems.

Today people in Morocco are campaigning for a revision of the Penal Code, led by women’s organizations, members of the coalition “Springtime of Dignity”, and supported by a large part of civil society (human rights and development organizations). The revision of the Family Code (Moudawana) in Morocco in 2004 represents the main advance in women’s rights. Nevertheless, discriminatory laws still exist, especially with regard to marriage, divorce, custody of children and inheritance.

Morocco’s economy is based on small and medium-sized enterprises, tourism and agriculture. For several years now the economy has been liberalized to attract foreign investments. But the gap between urban and rural areas, and traditional social structures and conservative cultural values are still a brake on opening up the economy.

Oxfam in Morocco

Oxfam has been working in Morocco since 1994. Currently we focus our work on three main areas:

Promoting women’s rights

Working with local partners in both rural and urban areas, we push to improve women’s social political participation in democratic processes, and safeguard their social and economic rights. According to data of the High Commission for the 2009 Plan, 62.8% of Moroccan women aged 18 to 64 are victims of violence in the course of their lives.

Encouraging active citizenship and supporting Moroccan civil society

Oxfam collaborates closely with Moroccan civil society actors and human rights defence organizations. These partnerships focus on maintaining and supporting local governance and development processes in the context of general democratization efforts in Moroccan society. It is about promoting the defence of civil and political rights (freedom of the press, dialogue with the government on issues related to human rights), and about economic and social rights, as well as the inclusion of democratic processes at the local level.

Supporting rural social-economic development, and promoting sustainable tourism

Oxfam coaches and supports small farmers and small producers to improve their products, agricultural systems and the organization of cultivation. We also fight to preserve natural resources, by means of awareness building within local communities, and in particular of young people, on the principles of biodiversity and natural resources conservation