ActionAid has partnered with local organizations, Enterprise Social Maroc, Maroc Sans Frontières, and the women’s association of Tamghart Noudrar, to distribute supplies in one of the areas worst hit by the Morocco earthquake. During distributions over the weekend, 1,000 families in the communities in Tahanout, Asni, and the Imlil Valley in the hard-to-reach Atlas Mountains received dignity kits, with each kit serving five people per family, and comprised toothbrushes, toothpaste, combs, sanitary towels, gel, wipes, and underwear.
Enclosed in the dignity kits were leaflets containing information in Arabic and Berber on protection from sexual exploitation and abuse following reports in the past week of attempted trafficking and after offers of early marriages of girls were reported on social media.1
The Italian NGO, Soleterre, also supported the distribution by providing psychologists to offer psychosocial support to families.
Halima Begum, ActionAid UK CEO, said:
“Women and children are in critical need of safe shelter. While families want to return home, many have seen their houses completely destroyed and we have far too many vulnerable people still living in exposed spaces, without either security or protection.
“The trauma and fear associated with the earthquake is also a huge impediment to the safe return of families. People here have experienced unimaginable tragedy and loss. Any recovery plan must include emotional support to help those affected by this disaster retrieve some degree of normality in their lives.
“Of course, women and girls have very particular needs in emergencies that are far too often overlooked or forgotten, and we’re seeing this in Morocco now. In particular, access to period products and underwear is essential. Much of the emergency response so far has focussed on food and temporary shelter, which are of course important. But the provision of period products would go a long way to help restore the dignity of women and girls still living in rudimentary and temporary shelters.”
Samira Errhoui, Director, Tamghart Noudar, said:
“In the aftermath of the earthquake, we need to open the space for women to participate in the response. As organisations working with the affected communities, we also need the financial resources to create opportunities that can facilitate change in the long run. Most importantly, the affected women need funds to set up projects, which can help them to earn money for their families.”
Oussama Chakkor, Country Coordinator, Alianza por la Solidaridad-ActionAid Spain, said:
“The coordination of this humanitarian response has been largely left to men, with no gender balance consideration. Only by supporting women’s leadership will the specific needs of women be met. If we want a transformative solution to this crisis, we need a feminist approach.”
- Halima Begum is the CEO of ActionAid UK. She speaks English and is currently in London, UK.
- Sara Almer is the Humanitarian Director at ActionAid International. She speaks English and French and is currently in Sweden.
- Oussama Chakkor is the Country Coordinator of Alianza por la Solidaridad-ActionAid Spain. He speaks Arabic, French, and Spanish and is currently in Rabat, Morocco.
- Tifawt Belaid is the Senior Programme Manager with ActionAid Denmark. She speaks English, French, and Moroccan Arabic and is currently in Rabat, Morocco.
- Kirsten Sutherland is the Humanitarian Program Coordinator at Alianza por la Solidaridad-ActionAid Spain. She speaks English and Spanish and is currently in Seville, Spain.
For media requests, please email Jenna.Farineau@actionaid.org or call 202 731 9593.
ActionAid is a global federation working with more than 15 million people living in more than 40 of the world’s poorest countries. We want to see a just, fair, and sustainable world, in which everybody enjoys the right to a life of dignity, and freedom from poverty and oppression. We work to achieve social justice and gender equality and to eradicate poverty.