Souss-Massa is one of the largest rural regions of Morocco, with a population greater than 2.6 million people. It is also one of the most socio-economically deprived regions of the country, with limited access to education and other services.
Learn more about some of the challenges for child protection in Morocco below:
There is no uniform child protection code in Morocco, meaning many sectors (e.g. health, justice, education) have their own way of doing child protection and children get lost between, within, and outside the services that are supposed to protect them.
Sex out of marriage is illegal in Morocco and there is an added cultural shame. Single mothers are unable to apply for social support such as RAMED and it is difficult to obtain Civil Registration for their children which enables them to enrol in school and access additional basic services entitled to them as Moroccan citizens High Rates of Rural-Urban Migration – Over the last ten years, many families living in the villages of the Souss-Massa region have begun to move to larger towns to seek economic opportunity as subsistence farming becomes increasingly difficult because of the droughts that have accompanied global warming. Often lacking transferable skills, and frequently not fluent in Darija (many people’s first language in the Souss-Massa is Tashelhit), many of these new arrivals find themselves in difficult circumstances and often feel pressured into undertaking work that is either illegal or taboo by the wider community.
There are a high number of street-connected children throughout Morocco. Street-connected children are more likely to have poor physical and psychological health, engage in unsafe sexual behaviours, abuse alcohol and drugs, and at high risk of sexual, physical, and financial exploitation. Furthermore, when children are found unsupervised on the street they are tried under the penal code and the lack of a specific child protection code in the Moroccan legal system means that such children enter the juvenile justice system and are consequently institutionalised.
A lack of social services for children and families means that family breakdown, abandonment, and dysfunction are common, especially when children are born out of wedlock and/or families feel that they can no longer care for their children
Without any viable alternative care options, such as foster care, parents have no option but to place children in institutions when they are unable to care for them but desire to remain in their lives or be reunified in the future.