In Morocco 40.000 female minors are married every year. In Chichaoua Province alone 283 female child marriages were registered in 2016 according to Anaouat association for women and children who has recently concluded an advocacy campaign against this type of marriage. Thanks to Anaouat’s efforts, no child marriage was registered during the campaign which lasted almost a year between December 2016 and September 2017.
The campaign was conducted in the three rural municipalities of Sidi Mhammed Dalil, Sid lmokhtar and Mzouda in the province of Chichaoua. Its objective was to reduce the number of female child marriages (girls under the age of 18 years), as well as spreading awareness among key stakeholders in these specific areas regarding the terrible consequences of minor marriage on girls and young women’s personal development, mental and physical health, and wellbeing.
Indeed, the campaign succeeded to a large extent in achieving its objectives as an ethic chart was signed by the local religious council and judges who committed to raise awareness regarding child marriage. Additionally, local authorities joined the campaign organizers’ engagement in preventing this type of marriage which is sometimes justified as a "customary tradition".
The campaign has further contributed in providing educational and financial support to 30 girls who were at risk of being forced into marriage, and in encouraging the girls’ families to protect their girls against this marriage. These achievements were possible thanks to the diversified tools that Anaouat association adopted during the campaign. For instance, the campaign was launched during a press conference were the president and the head of projects of Anaouat association called all civil and political actors to address the socio-economic factors that play a huge role in the increased number of child marriages. Once the campaign was launched, the association conducted several awareness raising campaigns to communicate with people and discuss with them the devastating consequences of child marriage. During these field visits to rural municipalities, weekly bazars, locals’ houses, the association set up a ‘’citizenship stand’’ and distributed flyers and pamphlets promoting the campaign.
Additionally, the association engaged media in the awareness raising efforts and the regional radio of Marrakesh, the SNRT, hosted members of the associations, legal experts and psychiatric to discuss minor marriage and highlight the campaign. Furthermore, the association made a video highlighting the experience of three young women who were victims of such type of marriage and who were brave enough to talk about their personal experiences and the hard moments they’ve been through.
The campaign was conducted within the framework of the CSO WINS project « Capacity building in Southern Mediterranean to open policy dialogue and monitoring for women in society » which is funded by the European Union in synergy with the action of the Euro-Mediterranean Women’s Foundation. It is also worth mentioning that the campaign is coordinated by Anaouat in partnership with the Association for the Development and Enhancement of Women (ADEW, Egypt) as part of a peer-to-peer learning exchange.
This platform is part of the Axis 1 "Strengthening the capacities of equality actors" of the Priority Solidarity Fund "Women for the future in the Mediterranean" funded by the French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs and led by the European Institute of the Mediterranean, in the framework of the project “Developing Women's Empowerment” labelled by the Union for the Mediterranean.