Hitting the road to meet the women of Morocco

April 12, 2019

Around 75 people were present at the official launch of Echoes of Women's Voices, on 29 March 2019 in Marrakesh (Morocco), to find out more about this project and to listen, in particular, to speeches made by Moroccan women defending women's rights.

Yassine Aabbar, president of the AIC (Citizens' Initiatives Association) explained how the project came into being and the expected outcomes, both in terms of productions on the ground and advocacy initiatives. Kamal Lahbib, from FMAS, said that he hoped this initiative would make it possible to attain legal recognition for the community radio stations which have gained a wealth of experience. "They can make a positive contribution to the media landscape in Morocco".

Three women, who defend the rights of their compatriots on a daily basis, spoke at the launch. Zakia Mrini, a member of parliament, stressed the innovative aspect of this project. For her, who has " always looked for a way to enable women in the region to express themselves, especially in rural areas, since these women are more marginalised than those in town", it is a "dream" to give women a voice in this way. She revisited the territorial injustice between the countryside and urban areas.

Fatima Zahra Iflahen, a professor and researcher at Cadi Ayyad University, hopes that the university's role in this project will be significant. A gender expert and consultant, Fatima has worked on the marriage of under-age girls and mentioned the fate of "child maids" in the countryside, exploited at work.

Ensuring that women from rural areas get their voices heard

The president of the Fédération d'alliance des droits des femmes [Women's Rights Alliance Federation], Zahra Sadik, paid tribute to the feminist movements in Morocco, which have achieved a number of goals thanks to the unremitting work of their activists. "But this still isn't enough to overcome the culture of male domination." Zahra regretted a "decline in women's rights in recent years" and said that she was ready, like the other female speakers, to work with the Echoes of Women's Voices team.

"I am moved by this experience, which was at first a dream. Today, I see it carried out in front of me, with all these young people, and that touches me enormously. I hope that this will help to strengthen the rights of women and ensure that their voices are heard in the region." Yassine Aabbar, président of the AIC

Greatly moved by this widespread support, Yassine Aabbar was surprised by the joy the project has generated. Ultimately, he hopes to find an audience for Kech Radio and reach "at least 5000 listeners every month". He hopes that the project will place this radio station at the heart of the events organised by civil society in Marrakesh and that this will promote the hidden initiatives of women in rural areas: " The objective is that our final memorandum (which will be drafted at the start of 2020) will be applied to the regional development plans for the Marrakesh-Safi region."

Find out who are the contributors to Echoes of Women's Voices: