Our work


All our research projects are grounded within Participatory Action Research (PAR) which actively values and includes the opinions of all stakeholders in the research process as co-researchers. By engaging with stakeholders from different social groups independently and then providing them the opportunity to reflect on the results together, we continuously seek to promote the active participation and engagement of all community members.  In so doing, the research process itself will become  ‘action’ via supporting the development of all participants’ ability to engage, express their thoughts and opinions, and come together to critically reflect on their shared experiences.

We envisage long-term sustainable effective change is possible by working collaboratively alongside researchers, professionals, and civil society from across the Maghreb – Algeria, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Tunisia. Our long-term goal is to build our knowledge base, networks of implementing partners in the Maghreb, and research experience in order to contribute to a large-scale stepped-wedge cluster-randomised trial of social interventions to improve child health outcomes throughout the Maghreb region.

IMPact – Improving child welfare in southern Morocco: engaging with local families and stakeholders to develop safeguarding and fostering policies

IMPact is a collaboration with researchers from Swansea University (UK), the University of Pittsburgh (USA), New Zealand, and Australia and is funded by Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) through the United Kingdom Research and Innovation (UKRI). IMPact was a pilot project which we hope to use as a stepping-stone to conduct future large scale research of social interventions in response to child abuse and neglect in the Maghreb region. Our vision is to contribute to locally developed research, strategies, and interventions responding to child abuse and neglect that can be replicated in Morocco, throughout the Maghreb region, and in other Low and Middle Income Countries.

Research Context

Institutionalisation of children is a significant public health problem across the world affecting populations into adulthood and across generations. With one in every thirty children in Morocco currently in institutional settings, Morocco has one of the highest rates of institutionalisation in the world. This is due to the:

  • illegality of sex outside marriage and increase of women entering sex work and having unplanned births
  • the illegality of voluntary termination of pregnancy and the stigmatisation of children born outside wedlock
  • a lack of social services means family breakdown and child abandonment is common

In response, we engaged with local families and stakeholders to develop safeguarding and fostering policies. This was by conducting a review of the literature, focus groups with child protection professionals, women and men from the local community, and children in residential centres, interviews with key child protection actors, and inviting individuals from all target groups to participate in workshops to co-develop policy briefs on safeguarding and alternative care to be published and shared with legislators.

Collaborators and partners

Dr. Fadi Baghdadi, Programmes Officer, Moroccan Children’s Trust, London, United Kingdom

Professor Helen Snooks, Professor of Health Services Research, Swansea University Medical School, Swansea University

Professor Ann John, Professor of Public Health and Psychiatry Swansea University Medical School, Swansea University

Dr. Ashra Khanom, Project Manager, Research Fellow of Health Services Research, Swansea University Medical School, Swansea University

Dr. Christopher Hands, CEO, Moroccan Children’s Trust, London, United Kingdom.

Mr. Abdellah Soussi, President, Fondation Amane Pour la Protection de L’Enfance, Taroudant, Morocco

Dr. Mary Elizabeth Rautkis, Child Welfare Education and Research Programs, The University of Pittsburgh, United States of America

Professor Sana el Mhamdi, Faculty of Medicine of Monastir, University of Monastir, Tunisia,

Mr. Ilyas Khlifi, Research Assistant

Ms. Hajar Korda,Patient and Public Involvement Member


In IMPact, we conducted several research activities which included the following:

  •  a scoping review (publication in process of submission to a peer reviewed journal)
  •  x7 focus groups with child protection professionals, social workers, lay community members and children in residential centres
  • x6 interviews with key stakeholders: Child Protection Lawyer, Emergency Centre Director, Tribunal Child Protection Liaison, Safeguarding Centre Manager, Foster Care Manager, Foster Care Social Worker.
  •  x3 workshops with all participants to present results and gain feedback on future research applications


  • Our research supported us to identify where and how our services could be improved at Centre Amane.
  • Developing the literature review and identifying a useful methodology for the Moroccan context informed the ways FAPE is drawing on the same systems approach to child protection in order to map the child protection system for the region of Souss Massa.
  • The research contributed to our UK NGO partner MCTs’ successful application for an increase in funding for the safeguarding centre, Centra Amane. MCT shared their engagement in the research project with their major funder Penny Appeal UK and used the preliminary findings of the qualitative study in order to secure a 50% increase in funding.
  • The team is planning papers for publication in internationally recognised high-impact peer reviewed journals – e.g. Lancet, Child Abuse and Neglect, Health Services Research and Policy.

Next Steps

In 2021, IMPact is expanding out to Tunisia and we are conducting focus groups in Monastir (Tunisia) with participants who are:

  • Mothers at risk of abandoning their children
  • Child Protection stakeholders in the community: e.g., doctors, teachers, lawyers, social workers, etc.
  • Frontline workers of the Tunisian NGO Association Voix de L’Enfant

See our winning poster detailing the IMPact project here.

We support international research students by hosting them at FAPE and providing in-country professional supervision, knowledge, and experience:

Roy, O. (2021). Participatory Strategy planning with Moroccan Children’s Trust (MCT) and La Fondation Amane pour la Protection de l’Enfance (FAPE): How can the Appreciative Inquiry model be used as a virtual method of Organisational Learning? (Masters Dissertation).
Institute of Development Studies, The University of Sussex, UK.

Berwick, L.V. (2017). Single Mothers in Morocco: Social Stigma and Struggle for Identity, Near and Middle Eastern Studies of SOAS (Masters Dissertation). University of London, UK.

Whybrow, R. (2017). The Paradoxes of Community-led Development: Community Perspectives on Child Protection in Taroudant, Morocco (Masters Dissertation). School of Social and Political Science, The University of Edinburgh, UK.

Booth, S. (2016). Ineds N’Itrane: A women’s group in southern Morocco Consciousness, crochet, and collective childcare practice (Masters Dissertation). Children, Youth and International Development, Department of GED, Birkbeck, University of London, UK.

Wu, C. (2015). The Advantages of Conducting Participatory research with Marginalized Children: A Case Study on Moroccan Children’s Trusts Research with street-connected children in Taroudannt, Morocco (Masters Dissertation). School of Social and Political Science, The University of Edinburgh, UK.

Perry, J. (2013). Headcount of Street Children in Taroudannt, Southern Morocco (Masters Dissertation). University of North Carolina, USA.