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Morocco Week in Review 
December 7, 2019

Virtual Magazine of Morocco on the Web

The Swearing-in event for 101 group as reported on different online news sites:


Chouf TV:

This is PC Multi-Media Committee Facebook page: and

World AIDS Day: Around 21,000 Moroccans Live with HIV

By Yahia Hatim - Dec 1, 2019 Rabat

Today, December 1, marks the World AIDS Day, an international day dedicated to raising awareness about the Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) pandemic caused by the spread of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). In Morocco, around 21,000 adults are living with HIV, according to 2018 statistics from the UN Programme for HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS). However, around 30% of Moroccans infected by HIV do not even know their HIV positive status. While the number of Moroccans living with HIV represents only 0.08% of the general population, the disease is prevalent in key populations such as people who inject drugs, with a prevalence of 7.9%; gay men (5.7%), sex workers (1.3%), and prisoners (0.5%).

How to Make Chebakia

Visitors to Morocco cannot help but fall in love with the sweet, rich taste of chebakia dripping in honey. 

By Layla Dahamou - Dec 1, 2019

Chebakia is a mouthwatering Moroccan pastry made from strips of spiced dough, deep fried, and then dipped in honey and covered in toasted sesame seeds. If you have never tasted it before, make today the day that you do. I promise, it is worth it.  Chebakia’s chewy, crunchy texture makes it a favorite throughout the year but it is most often enjoyed during Ramadan. No Moroccan iftaar (meal to break the fast) table is complete without a tray of honey-soaked chebakia, harira, and dates. In winter months many families enjoy chebakia in the evening with a warming bowl of harira. It is also popular as an accompaniment to Moroccan mint tea as an afternoon snack or when welcoming guests. Because of its rich ingredients and sweet taste, Chebakia provides enough energy for people who have spent the whole day from dawn to sunset fasting. It is one of the basic honeyed cookies on the daily Ramadan tables, as well as Harira, dates and bread.

Sefrou: the Jewel of Morocco

After visiting Morocco’s greatest cities, I can now say with full confidence that I have found my favorite: Sefrou.

By Morgan Hekking - Aug 3, 2019 Rabat

Despite the privileges awarded to me by my youth and middle-class family, traveling has never come easy to me.  While I’ve been fortunate enough to study abroad (and now live) in Morocco and visit various cities throughout the country, I must admit that most of the traveling I’ve done here has not been due to my own initiatives–I always had someone telling me where to go and what to do. To be frank, had I been here alone, I probably would have done next to nothing with my time. I won’t sugarcoat it: I’m very lazy and generally a difficult person to travel with. I hate sweating, crowds, loud noises, carrying heavy things, being looked at, and leaving the comfort of my own home. I know, I know. I’m a real catch.

My sweet fiancé, bless his heart, somehow managed to get me on a three-hour train ride from Rabat to Fes and a 40-minute bus ride from Fes to Sefrou, followed by a fifteen-minute walk from the bus stop to his family’s house.  Based on my pre-departure Google search results, I wasn’t expecting much from Sefrou. At most, I envisioned a small mountain town in the middle of nowhere speckled with dilapidated old buildings. Boy, was I wrong. 

Everything I love about Morocco’s cities–the mountains of Chefchaouen, the medina of Fes, the artisans of Marrakech, the cool breezes of Rabat, the colors of Ouazzane, the gorgeous foliage of Ifrane, the warm hospitality of Errachidia–had been packaged up, tied with a bow, and presented to me in the form of Sefrou. Little Jerusalem of Morocco”

Morocco to Promote Ouazzane as Spiritual Center of the Rif Mountains

Ouazzane, known as Dar Dmana, is considered to be a holy place by both Muslim and Jewish communities.

By Morgan Hekking  - Nov 30, 2019 Rabat

The city of Ouazzane, 70 kilometers south of Chefchaouen in northern Morocco, will receive MAD 42 million to enhance its tourism potential. A special council session of the Tangier-Tetouan-Al Hoceima region approved a draft convention to make Ouazzane a primary destination for both domestic and international tourists.  Ouazzane, known as Dar Dmana, is considered to be a holy place by both Muslim and Jewish communities. This spiritual center at the edge of the Rif Mountains is set to become a hub for religious pilgrims with the new investment in the city’s tourism sector.

Morocco’s Music Advances Sustainable Development

One oasis community shows how music can support locally prioritized development.

By Perri Huggins - Sep 21, 2019 Rabat

A raging fire is burning in the jungle. It’s such an overwhelming disaster that all of the animals are watching the conflagration in shock.  A hummingbird says, “I’m going to do something about the fire.”  It flies to the nearest stream and takes a drop of water. It races back to the fire, where it drops the water onto the flames. Back and forth it goes, over and over, while the larger animals — like the elephant whose trunk could deliver so much more water — stand watching.  Eventually, they ask the hummingbird, “What do you think you can do? You’re too little!” 
Without pausing, the hummingbird answers: “I’m doing the best I can.”

The Moroccan government reports that two-thirds of the country’s oases have disappeared over the last 100 years. Halim Sbai tells me the story of the hummingbird as he describes the situation facing his native desert oasis city M’Hamid El Ghizlane. Founder of the internationally famous Taragalte Festival, Sbai now focuses on promoting conservation and education through responsible tourism. Sbai is proud to be the President of a local music school.

Morocco’s Judiciary Takes On Women’s Empowerment at Work

Morocco’s Ministry of Justice is leading the charge to stamp out discrimination in the workplace. 

By Madeleine Handaji - Nov 30, 2019 Rabat

Since Ivanka Trump’s tweet congratulating Morocco on passing a law to facilitate equal rights in inheritance and her much-publicized visit to the kingdom as part of a “women’s empowerment” initiative, women’s rights in Morocco have been hitting headlines globally.  It cannot be denied that the country has made strides in recent years: Women now have the right to file for divorce and to pass nationality on to their children. Through a recently passed bill, women can more easily and fairly inherit land. There have been changes to the penal code and to the family code. And, while these changes have been called into question by activists and international analysts who see them as merely symbolic, unactionable words, the government maintains that progress is being made. Morocco’s King Mohammed VI has made equal rights a priority in his speeches and in the mandate he gives to Morocco’s government. From the outside, Morocco looks like a country that is aiming to join the front runners in the equalities race.

Les Deux Tours Marrakech review: An oasis of chic in a bustling Morocco city

Want to visit Marrakech but still enjoy some chill time away from the city? Lucy Pavia finds the right balance at this stylish boutique retreat 

by  Lucy Pavia

Hotels are always made better by a resident animal, bringing an otherwise transient place a homely sense of permanence and character.

Can Morocco Shift to Teaching in English in its Schools?

In the short term, the education system is currently tied fast to the French language. But the country is heading slowly to giving preference to English.

Hamza Bailla is a freelance journalist and researcher interested in digital media, politics, and interfaith dialogue. Nov 16, 2019 Rabat

The Moroccan Parliament has passed a controversial new bill to reform the education system. The new law has provoked a political crisis, due to a new language policy called “linguistic alternation,” the tricky shift to teaching scientific and technical courses in foreign languages instead of standard Arabic.  Further revelations about the bill’s contents show that French will indeed be used more in schools, but English, too, has gained ground in the kingdom’s schools. Replacing standard Arabic in teaching scientific courses enraged many members of the ruling Justice and Development Party (PJD), a conservative Islamic political party. The bill has even put the whole coalition government at stake.

Disney Adds New Morocco-Inspired Attractions to EPCOT Theme Park

The new attractions aim to immerse visitors in the atmosphere of the Moroccan Sahara.

By Yahia Hatimn - Nov 13, 2019 Rabat

EPCOT, a theme park at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, US, has added new attractions to its “Moroccan Pavilion.” The attractions are based on two racing competitions that take place in Morocco; the Sand Marathon and the Rally of the Gazelles. The pavilion features different attractions, including a diorama of the Sand Marathon with race gear and trophies from Moroccan competitors, as well as photos showcasing the Rally of the Gazelles.

10 Photos to Inspire a Winter Trek of Morocco’s Mount Toubkal

These stunning photos of Morocco’s winter wonderland will inspire hikers and armchair adventurers alike.

By Morgan Hekking - Nov 20, 2019 Rabat

Mount Toubkal in Morocco’s Atlas Mountains boasts the tallest peak in North Africa at 4,167 meters. As one of the world’s top hiking destinations, Mount Toubkal attracts hundreds of tourists to its rocky slopes every year.  While summer hikers report that the ascent is doable even for inexperienced climbers, harsh winter conditions on Mount Toubkal pose a significant challenge—and even risk—to those brave enough to face them. 
Reaching the ceiling of North Africa in the winter is not for the faint of heart. But if you’re well-equipped to safely handle the challenge, here are some pictures of Mount Toubkal’s winter beauty to inspire your next adventure.

‘Rely on Your Instincts’: Scientist Kamal Oudrhiri at Moonshot Morocco

Commemorating the Apollo 11 Mission, the United States embassy of Rabat joined with the US consulate in Casablanca to create Moonshot Morocco, a festival for would-be space explorers with Moroccan scientist Kamal Oudrhiri a key speaker.

By Alex C Mitchell - Alex is a student from Boston studying international relations in Rabat. Nov 23, 2019 Casablanca

“One small step for man, one giant step for mankind.”  Fifty years since Neil Armstrong took that giant step of walking on the moon, astrophysicists, engineers, programmers, and other technocrats joined together to inspire young Moroccans to work towards more “giant leaps,” by providing new perspectives on leadership, dedication, and hard work.  The US Embassy hosted a capstone festival, Moonshot Morocco, over the weekend of November 16-18. The embassy welcomed NGOs, government agencies, and professionals to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the moon landing.

Morocco Records Alarming Increase in Cases of Violence Against Women

Physical violence against Moroccan women represented 5.7% last year, while psychological violence reached 48.95%, according to a recent gender-based violence report.

By Safaa Kasraoui - Safaa Kasraoui is a journalist at Morocco World News. Nov 24, 2019 Rabat

A 2018 report on gender-based violence records nearly 12,233 cases of violence against women in 2018 against 10,959 in 2017. “Injad” or rescue and “Femmes solidaires” (Women in solidarity or female solidarity), two networks drop-in centers, recorded a notable increase in reported cases of gendered violence, according to a recent  report on gender-based violence. The report was done in collaboration with the Federation of Women’s Rights League (FLDF). The two networks presented the outcomes of the report at a recent conference held on November 22 in Rabat. The findings show that 48.95 % of the reported cases of violence were psychological, while 24.42% were socio-economic violence.

Poor Education, Lack of Personal Freedoms Hinder Morocco’s Prosperity

Morocco suffers from weak social capital, relating to poor civic participation and low institutional trust.

By   Morgan Hekking - Nov 25, 2019 Rabat

The Legatum Institute, a London-based think-tank, published its 2019 Prosperity Index today, November 25. With a ranking of 100 out of 167, Morocco scored slightly below average on the index and just five places behind its North African neighbor Tunisia.  The index analyzes the performance of 167 nations across 65 policy-focused elements. The Legatum Institute aims to enable leaders around the world to set their agendas for growth and development and to create pathways from poverty to prosperity.   The Prosperity Index ranks countries according to three domains: Inclusive societies, open economies, and empowered people. Each domain includes four sub-categories such as security, investment, market access, personal freedom, health, education, social capital, and nature.

Women-Only Cafe to Open in Tetouan, Northern Morocco

The female-only space will allow women to feel “comfortable,” and offers a range of social activities including Karaoke.

By Safaa Kasraoui is a journalist at Morocco World News. Nov 25, 2019 Rabat

A soon to be opened, an unprecedented project in Morocco is drawing nationwide attention. For the first time in the North African country, women will have a unique space, where both men and cameras are banned. A wave of comments has swept social media since banners advertising the place appeared in public spaces in the city of Tetouan, northern Morocco. Flower Cafe, set to open its doors for the first time next week is a platform where only women and girls are allowed.

Morocco Has Made Notable Advances on Gender Equality

While Morocco has made significant steps towards reducing disparities, including the promotion of gender equality, the evidence suggests there is still a long way to go.

Nov 26, 2019 Rabat

A Moroccan MP believes that Morocco has made noticeable advances on gender issues, especially gender equality, in recent years. The MP cited the number of political reforms initiated since the change of constitution in 2011, saying that while there is still much to improve, what has been achieved is “commendable.” Allal Amraoui, an MP from the Istiqlal (Independence) Party, made his remarks at a recent conference in Lisbon, Portugal. Amraoui, who sits on the Moroccan House of Representatives’ foreign affairs and national defense committee, led the Moroccan delegation at the Lisbon conference, where he put forth the well-established idea that Morocco is a regional exception or trendsetter on multiple fronts.
Discussing gender relations in “contemporary Morocco,” the Istiqlal MP seemed to take pride in the “notable advances” that have been made in relation with the King’s insistence on inclusiveness and equality as pillars of the much-reported new development model.

Who profits? An analysis of the income-generating activities under the Green Morocco Plan


Since 2005, major donors have been expanding Morocco's programs to combat poverty, social exclusion and gender inequality. However, despite newly designed programs that advocate participatory approaches, empowerment and inclusion, rural women do not integrate easily in Moroccan society. This article explores the latest strategies of the Green Morocco Plan (GMP) and the income generating activities (IGA) strategies that seek to support the employment and autonomy of rural women.

The Woman Who Challenged Morocco’s Tourism Industry For Women’s Rights—And Won

Theresa Christine Contributor Nov 27, 2019,

For a decade, the Moroccan Ministry of Tourism issued no new licenses to tour guides, eliminating ... [+] the job opportunity for women.

Intrepid Travel

When Zina Bencheikh became the general manager at Morocco’s PEAK DMC office in 2017, the company had 50 tour leaders and not a single one of them was female. Morocco is a heavily patriarchal society, Zina noted, with women representing only a quarter of the workforce (compared to nearly half in the United States). Furthermore, eighty percent of females in rural areas cannot read or write, making it difficult to improve those statistics.
Ultimately, though, the lack of female tour guides was a fault of society than the company, which is a part of Intrepid Travel’s network of destination management companies. Simply put, tour leading wasn’t seen as a suitable job for women in the country.  “The nature of the job means you are traveling away from home and in the company of foreign tourists,” she explained. “[At that time] only four percent of tour leaders in Morocco were female and, of these, very few spoke English.”

Morocco Launches Violence Against Women Awareness Campaign

El Othmani emphasized, "Repressive measures alone can not solve the problem."

By Susanna Spurgeon - Susanna is an editor at Morocco World News. Nov 29, 2019 Rabat

Morocco’s Head of Government Saad Eddine El Othmani officially launched Morocco’s campaign against the “scourge” of violence against women on Friday, November 29, in Rabat. In his speech, El Othmani noted that the issue “is not only a women’s affair, but [the problem] of all actors in society.” El Othmani welcomed the participation of NGOs and called for dialogue and preventive measures to tackle gender-based violence.
In 2018, Morocco passed Law 103.13 on the elimination of violence against women. The law greatly increased the penalties for those caught harassing or assaulting women. However, El Othmani emphasized, “Repressive measures alone can not solve the problem.”

12 Photos to Move Morocco’s Chefchaouen to the Top of Your Bucket List.

Take a virtual stroll through the blue-washed streets in one of Morocco’s most photographed cities: Chefchaouen.

By Morgan Hekking  - Nov 30, 2019

If you’ve ever entertained any interest in making a trip to Morocco, you’ve undoubtedly encountered the name “Chefchaouen.” Whether you’ve seen pictures on travel blogs or your friend’s Instagram, this beautiful city proudly claims worldwide fame.  Known for its striking azure medina (old city) and cobbled streets, the Blue Pearl of Morocco definitely needs to be at the top of your travel bucket list.

Marrakech Among World’s Affordable Destinations

Several international magazines listed Marrakech on their tourism bucket list due to the city’s magical atmosphere.

By  Safaa Kasraoui - Safaa Kasraoui is a journalist at Morocco World News. Nov 29, 2019 Rabat

UK-based digital bank Starling has released a study listing the city of Marrakech, Morocco among the world’s cheapest cities. The study ranked the red-washed city seventh on the list of 35 countries, placing it among the top ten cheapest cities in the world. 
The study finds that an average day can in Marrakech cost tourists as little as £43.96 or MAD 546.52.

Taught to Go Back ‘Home’? A School for Moroccan Children in Amsterdam.

“We weren’t actually all that busy with ‘going back to Morocco,’ it was much more about which teacher are we going to tease today?”

Wouter IJzerman is an intern at Morocco World News, focusing on the relationship between the Netherlands and Morocco. Nov 30, 2019 Rabat

Before Salman Rushdie published The Satanic Verses in 1990; before the Twin Towers were struck by a terrorist attack on 9/11; and before the polemic, Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh, related to the acclaimed Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh, was gruesomely murdered by a radical Salafi on the streets of Amsterdam in 2004, people in the Netherlands paid little attention to the “exotic,” recently arrived newcomers from Morocco.
In the late 1960s, a vicar by the name of Rolf Boiten noticed this particular mutual indifference when he saw a small group of Moroccan children wandering the streets around Amsterdam’s red light district.  “Guest workers,” that is what their fathers were called. They worked in factories, shipyards, and assembly lines throughout the day to earn money for the lives they planned to return to in Morocco, while their children had nowhere to go to school. Boiten and his wife decided to start a school for these children; children needed to be prepared for their journey back to Morocco.

PISA: Moroccan Students Have Poor Reading, Math, Science Abilities

Moroccan students ranked very poorly in the study compared to the international average scores.

By Hamza Guessous - Dec 3, 2019 Rabat

The Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) placed Morocco 75th out of 79 countries that participated in an international assessment that evaluates 15-year-old students’ abilities in reading, mathematics, and science.  Chinese students dominated the top of the ranking in every domain of study, beating Singapore—the country that occupied the top spot in 2015. China did not place in the top five on the 2015 rankings.
Around 600,000 students from across 79 countries sat for the two-hour computer-based assessment.

2019‌ ‌Arab‌ ‌Reading‌ ‌Competition‌ ‌Announces Winner, Morocco’s Fatima Zahra Akhyar Runner-Up

Hadil Anwar from Sudan ‌won the competition on November 13.

By Yahia Hatim - Nov 13, 2019 Rabat

Moroccan‌ ‌student‌ ‌Fatima‌ ‌Zahra‌ ‌Akhyar‌ was not able to win ‌the‌ ‌2019‌ ‌Ara‌b ‌Reading‌ ‌Competition. After reaching the final stage of the competition, Akhyar lost the title to Hadil Anwar from Sudan ‌on‌ ‌Wednesday,‌ ‌November‌ ‌13.‌ Akhyar was among the five finalists to reach the end of the competition. ‌The other finalists were  Joumana El Malki from Saudi Arabia, Aya Boutriaa from Tunisia, and Abdelaziz El Khaldi from Kuwait.
The Moroccan student gave a remarkable performance throughout the different stages of the competition. She qualified for the 2019 Arab Reading Challenge after winning the national reading contest.

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