Preventing early marriage in Morocco

The practice of child marriage is still very common in Morocco. More often than not, the young girls who enter into early marriages are unable to read and write, are unaware of their rights, easily exploited and abused, and frequently destined for lives of poverty. This community action is a first step. It aimed to build awareness of this human rights’ violation and defend the rights of young girls not to be forced into early marriages in Morocco.

Centering on the Fès-Meknès region of Morocco, this citizen advocacy action, named "I am a child and not a bride", focused on building awareness about the dreadful practice that is early marriage. This youth-led action aimed to prevent child marriages in Morocco by sensitizing young girls, women, men and parents in order to protect these vulnerable young girls.

The youth leaders who led this initiative ensured that young women and their families participated in the advocacy efforts. The action resulted in a number of awareness building activities. A forum brought together young girls, representatives of local community organizations, decision-makers and other stakeholders, such as representatives from the Regional Human Rights Commission of Fès-Meknès, to discuss the practice of early marriage and explore strategies leading to its eradication. Creative art (e.g., paintings) produced by young girls during the Forum was used to sensitized decision-makers and other stakeholders about the issue. The paintings were then printed on postcards and sent to decision-makers at the Ministry of Justice and Human Right Council. Additionally, a sensitization video on early marriage was produced and disseminate on YouTube and Facebook. Finally, the youth leaders involved in the advocacy efforts wrote an open letter directed at government officials requesting the annulment of a provision that allows judges to authorize the marriage of young women under the age of 18. This open letter was published in the media.

This citizen action produced the following results: 35 youth leaders, including 10 young women, were directly involved in the development and implementation of the action; 90 young people, including 56 young women, took part in the various activities of the advocacy efforts; 125 other citizens, including 95 women, were directly sensitized by the activities; 250 postcards were sent to the Ministry of Justice, the Human Rights Council, the Regional Human Rights Commission-Fez, and the Ministry of Family and Solidarity; 2,000 people were reached through Equitas’ Facebook page. Thousands more people were reached by means of the open letter circulated by the local media. The action also enabled youth leader to establish a number of contacts with decision-makers and civil society organizations working on the issue of early marriage.