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Morocco Week in Review 
July 4, 2020

Virtual Magazine of Morocco on the Web

Ouahib Timoulali, 1st Moroccan to Win NY Academy of Sciences Cybersecurity Challenge

Ouahib’s love of and interest in technology began at a very early age, when his father owned a cyber cafe and he searched the web for innovations and software.

By Safaa Kasraoui - Jun 30, 2020 Rabat

Moroccan industrial engineer Ouahib Timoulali saw his name printed among the finalists and then winners for a Global STEM Alliance competition organized by the New York Academy of Sciences. Ouahib did not only manage to secure his win in the challenge, but was also the first Moroccan national to win the competition in the history of the academy. The engineer worked within a six-member team of people from different nationalities. Their project, dubbed the “Cybercastle,” managed to win the “Cybersecurity in the Age of Iot” challenge………..
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Africa Loses $79 Billion Annually Due to Youth Unemployment

The African continent has one of the youngest populations in the world, but also one of the highest unemployment rates.

By Yahia Hatim - Jun 11, 2020 Rabat

Africa loses $79 billion of potential revenue every year because of youth unemployment, said the Secretary Executive of the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), Vera Songwe. Approximately 34% of African population is aged 15 to 34, but most of Africa’s youth are unemployed, Songwe added during a videoconference discussion about African youth leaders on June 9. “We are not a continent that can afford to lose $79 billion a year, so we need to find a way to employ ourselves and to harness the incredible innovation of African youth,” she said…………..

Moroccan Scholar Explores Racist, Imperialist Roots of Moorish Identity

Mahdi Blaine digs deep into the historical and present-day depictions of Moors, connecting their imagined identities to concepts of race and power.

By Kristen Gianaris - Jun 27, 2020 Rabat

Mahdi Blaine, a Moroccan-Algerian candidate for a master’s degree in anthropology and Middle Eastern studies at New York University, is raising questions and shedding light on the perceived identities of Moors throughout history. His ideas surrounding the topic make considerable contributions to understanding histories of power and race. 

Originally from Rabat, 25-year-old Blaine began garnering interest around the question, “who were the Moors?” a few years ago. The depths of his interest and inquisitions stemmed from the ambiguous and ambivalent depictions of people who never claimed Moorish as their own identity throughout history.  “If you Google ‘the Moors’ or look at modern representations of the Moors, they are all what we would agree as racially black,” Blaine told Morocco World News. However, there is clear evidence that this has not always been the case. 

Over the years, Blaine contemplated the iconography associated with the word. He said, “I saw this incongruence and I wondered, why?”  As he continues to explore questions surrounding contradictions of Moors made throughout history, Blaine shares his ideas with the Afikra community. Afikra is a grassroots organization intended to cultivate curiosity around Arab history and culture through discussions led by a global community of people interested in sharing intellectual thought around such topics.  In a recent virtual presentation hosted by the organization, Blaine details the ways in which “the figure of the Moor” has been reformulated, reproduced, and used to advance agendas or legitimate positions of power. ……………..
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UNFPA: ‘Harmful Practice’ of Child Marriage Persists in Morocco

Moroccan courts and notaries continue to approve waivers legalizing child marriage despite the family code’s regulations that adjusted legal minimum age for marriage to 18.

By Safaa Kasraoui - Jul 1, 2020 Rabat

Morocco’s Family Code stipulates that the legal minimum age of marriage is 18, except in cases that receive judicial consent. Despite efforts to abolish it, the practice of child marriage has continued, especially in the country’s remote areas. A recent UN Population Fund report shows a 14% child marriage rate in Morocco between 2005 and 2019. The UN report lists this under its “harmful practices” category. Morocco’s government has acknowledged the continued presence of the phenomenon despite advocacy against underage marriage….

A Model to Achieve the Model for Development in Morocco

June 30, 2020  By Dr. Yossef Ben-Meir

There may be irony in Morocco now reconsidering and revamping its development model, which is its national guiding frameworks for social and environmental fulfillment. I have long been and remain a believer in Morocco’s existing frameworks for the people’s development. There is, after all, a lot to like. Municipalities are to create development plans made from the participation of all communities and groups. Environmental management is understood to integrate the local people. Agricultural programs seek to achieve the value-chain with communities of small landholders. Morocco is committed to the goals of decentralization, renewable energy, liberation of women and youth from social and economic hindrances, and well-established southern unity. Multicultural preservation is a non-equivocal national choice.Furthermore, there are a lot more to these initiatives when we consider the innovation within each, and the extra value that can be accomplished when these frameworks operate well in tandem. For example, the Decentralization Roadmap designates the local communities as planners and implementors of development projects, to be buttressed by national level, private, and public support. Decentralization is made even more viable because also part of the Morocco model is its national Municipal Charter, which requires locally elected officials and civil society to plan alongside all community members in the creation of their human development plans. In the model design, this means that the participatory community work of municipalities and their forming of partnerships toward creating projects managed by and for the benefit of the people, contribute to the emergence of a decentralized system. This would have public administrations considerably more aware and directly supportive of the people’s priorities.

For Morocco, these and the other existing frameworks – call them together, model one – are intent upon and could set forward sustainable development initiatives across the countryside. Yet, it is honestly the rare exception when a rural municipality creates development plans genuinely reflective of collective community identification of the needed projects in their area. Rural women and girls are not, for the most part, aware of the Moroccan family code and the human rights that are theirs. Morocco’s unity with its multicultural identity is beautiful and real, but its translation into the critical growth for the populace is insufficient……….
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Aliwaa School: Morocco’s Revolutionary Legacy Under Threat

“I will never forget the day Madrasa-t-Aliwaa opened. It was summer 1961. It was at the beginning of a new Casablanca, a new Morocco.”

By Madeleine Handaji - Jun 27, 2020

Madrasa-t-Aliwaa is part of Moroccan history. It is a symbol of patriotism, of love, and of dedication to community, freedom, and true Moroccan values. COVID-19 could close its doors for good. Our story dates back to 1953, to before Morocco and King Mohammed V had wrested Morocco from France’s colonial claws, to a time of struggle and resistance and a time when patriotic and brotherly love came above all else. Morocco was rising up against the French protectorate, rallying behind the King in exile. The resistance movement swelled, with Moroccans from all over the country joining its ranks. Among them was Ahmed Al-Damoudi, a young Amazigh (Berber) man from the countryside near Essaouira. Al-Damoudi, also known as Ahmed Tildi, was part of a secret organization called Al Hassaniat. ……..
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Moroccan Entrepreneur Launches ‘Sada9a’ Peer-to-Peer Philanthropy App

The application is mainly set for donations such as second hand household appliances, clothing, shoes, and food.

By Taha Mebtoul - Jul 1, 2020 Rabat

Mobile app stores are now offering a new Moroccan application called “Sada9a,” meaning charity, created to facilitate philanthropic donations of money, goods, or services to people in need. Designed by young Moroccan entrepreneur Hicham Kadiri, the application connects individuals in Morocco who are either in need of donations or willing to offer them. The application is mainly set for donations such as second hand household appliances, clothing, shoes, and food. Donations also include services, such as free lessons for school students who cannot afford private teachers……………
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Coronavirus - Morocco: In the midst of coronavirus, USAID/Morocco supports distance learning for deaf and hard of hearing students

News Provided By African Press Organization  June 27, 2020

“When COVID-19 hit Morocco and the schools closed, we quickly shifted to distance learning with the main goal of providing continued learning for our students”, said Mr. Boukili, the inclusive education official at Morocco’s Ministry of Education. “We soon realized we were only focusing on the tip of the iceberg!” In March 2020, Morocco’s Ministry of National Education, Vocational Training and Scientific Research (MOE) shifted to digital learning to ensure continuity of learning for its seven million students in response to the coronavirus outbreak. A variety of distance learning resources were made available for the students. The Ministry quickly multiplied its efforts to make distance learning accessible to all. The Ministry expanded its online TilmideTICE platform which provides content across all subjects and levels, rolled out a Microsoft Teams platform to enable student-teacher online interaction, and launched virtual classrooms to benefit vocational training center students. Then, to reach students with no access to the internet, often in rural or underserved regions, the Ministry went a step further and started filming lessons and broadcasting them on national TV channels to ensure equitable access to all. To all? Not quite. As these distance learning tools were rolled out, concerns were soon raised that deaf and hard of hearing (DHH) students, representing over 2,000 schooled children and youth who count among the 10,000 Moroccan students with sensory impairments, were being left behind.

There remained yet another challenge: the need to translate distance learning materials into Moroccan Sign Language (MSL).
The Ministry was well prepared to rise to the challenge thanks to the USAID project Improving Deaf Children’s Reading through Technology activity (2015 - 2018) which, in partnership with the MOE, has increased recognition of MSL as a language by providing training to teachers and administrators on MSL. The project worked with deaf association-run schools across Morocco to provide teachers with an assistive technology—MSL Clip and Create software—allowing them to both create customized materials that provide MSL translations of written text and generate instructional activities incorporating both MSL and Modern Standard Arabic………
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La Tribu Des Quat’Pattes: A Ray of Hope for Stray Animals in Morocco

The non-profit organization rescues animals and takes care of them, as there is a serious issue of overpopulation of dogs and cats in Morocco.

By Asmae Nakib - Jun 28, 2020

In a country where animal welfare is “limited,” according to World Animal Protection, La Tribu des Quat’pattes presents hope for Morocco’s stray animals.
The overpopulation of cats and dogs in Morocco is a serious problem. Injured, bloody, bruised, and skinny to the point that the structure of their skeletons is clear, stray cats and dogs in Morocco are in a heart-rending condition.  Taking care of a pet is a commitment, a responsibility that comes with several expenses. Sadly, most Moroccans do not have the means to take care of pets, leaving the poor creatures dangerously wandering in the streets. During the COVID-19 lockdown, hunger has become an even more acute problem for Morocco’s stray animals. ………………
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Expulsion of Moors From Spain: A History Morocco Remembers

Over one hundred years of Spain’s “subtle” genocide left a lasting mark on the Muslim world.

By Samir Bennis - Samir Bennis is a political analyst. Jun 29, 2020 Washington, D.C.

As soon as Fray Francisco Jiménez de Cisneros replaced Hernando de Talavera as confessor of the Catholic Monarchs in the early 1490s, he began the process of conversion and acculturation of the Moors, which marked the sixteenth century. Cisneros was bent on converting them at all costs to the Christian faith.
He set an extreme precedent when in 1499 he forcibly baptized 4,000 Grenadians on a trip during which he accompanied the Catholic kings. The clergyman’s commitment to end all aspects of Islamic civilization, coupled with his religious fanaticism, dictated by his missionary spirit, led him, on the same trip, to order that all libraries and archives of the Nasrid kingdom of Granada be burned. He allowed one exception, for medical treatises.

Institutionalizing oppression
Subsequently, Spain entered a long process of forced assimilation. This lasted over a century and culminated with the expulsion of Spain’s new outcasts. Throughout this process, dialogue, respect, and tolerance yielded their place to intolerance, violence, bigotry, and persecution.
Continued persecution and intolerance against the Moors took a dangerous turn in 1525 when Charles V, after having made an oath before Pope Leo X in 1518 to not expel and persecute this minority, asked Pope Clement VII for relief from his oath. The pope favorably received this request and did not hesitate to give the Spanish monarch the green light to set in motion a long process of persecution against the last Muslims in Spain.
After a special meeting that brought together the Councils of State of Castile and Aragon, the Supreme Council of the Inquisition, and the military orders, King Charles V eventually abolished the status of “Mudejar.” This was the name given to individual Moors or Muslims of Al-Andalus who remained in Iberia after the Christian Reconquista but were not converted to Christianity………..
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In Pictures: 10 Most Breathtaking Moroccan Beaches

Morocco’s beaches are favorite destinations for travelers who enjoy the country’s stunning vistas.

By Larbi Arbaoui - Dedicated free-lance journalist with three years of experience as a news correspondent, translator, and editor. Jul 1, 2020 Rabat

Morocco’s diverse natural landscapes make it one of the world’s top travel destinations, and Moroccan beaches are at the center of attraction for tourists and locals alike. The North African country boasts a variety of beautiful resorts and amazing sightseeing that offer peace of mind away from the stress of work and monotony of daily routines. From the mighty Atlas Mountains to golden coastlines to the gigantic sand dunes in the south, Morocco has some of the best natural attractions in the world. ………..
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Restarting ‘Regular’ Life: 8 Tips to Consider After COVID-19 Lockdown

It can be overwhelming to get back to the outside world after months of being under lockdown; will life ever return to how it was? These tips can help you cope as lockdowns lift amid ongoing uncertainty.

By Jihad Dardar - Jun 28, 2020

It has been months since many countries implemented a lockdown to fight against the spread of the coronavirus. It is no question that most of us are already planning what we want to do and where we want to go as soon as the lockdown restrictions are lifted, but it is crucial to maintain adherence to the necessary measures to avoid infection even after lockdown. The fight against COVID-19 is a long-term battle. You might be planning to meet your friends and family after months of not seeing them, going shopping, or heading back to the gym, but it is our responsibility to adapt our return to our social life to respect health precautions, for our own and others’ safety. As lockdown eases up in some places and ends in others, as countries move past the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic, people will gradually gain more freedom to return to their daily commutes in public transport and engage in social activities…………
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Up Your Skincare Game With These Five Homemade Face Masks

Lockdown could be fun if we invest free time in a healthy lifestyle. Get a healthy glow and perfect skin using only natural ingredients.

By Safaa Kasraoui - Jun 28, 2020 Rabat

Lockdown is taking its toll on all of us and I, for one, would welcome a new way to break the monotony. Ladies and gentlemen, one of the ways to keep yourself busy is to look for ways to change lifestyle and take care of your skin! My lifestyle improvement plans have always been a mess as I am a foodaholic, and sometimes my appetite craves fast food more than anything else. However, aside from my diet failures, my personal experiments with skincare and homemade masks have been pretty successful and good fun. In this article, I would like to share some homemade masks with simple ingredients that could be beneficial for your skin. During lockdown, the time we spend in front of TV and computers has more than doubled. As a person who spends more than eight hours in front of the PC working from home, I certainly felt a terrible change in my skin. 
Lack of sun exposure and Vitamin D has given me a pale look and large dark circles around my eyes. And, of course with COVID-19, stress has more than doubled………….
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UN Environment Programme Highlights Morocco’s Ecological Efforts

Morocco’s permanent mission to Geneva is one of the greenest diplomatic representations in the Swiss canton.

By Yahia Hatim - Jun 29, 2020 Rabat

The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) has highlighted Morocco’s ecological efforts, alongside four other countries, within the framework of the “Greening the Permanent Missions in Geneva” initiative. The initiative, aiming to reduce the ecological footprint of diplomatic representations across the globe, analyzed the practices in embassies in Geneva. It selected the Moroccan embassy, along with the Swiss, French, British, and American embassies, as exemplary in their approach to the initiative’s objective. The embassies are an illustration of the environmental policies of their countries, said the initiative’s organizers, Geneva Environment Network (GNE)………….
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‘Project Tablets’ Enables Remote Study for Girls in Atlas Mountains

Education for All launched the initiative to provide high school girls in the remote Atlas Mountains with devices and internet access for remote study amid school closures.

By Ella Williams - Jul 1, 2020

Three weeks ago, Morocco World News shared some stories of life during lockdown for girls living in the remote Atlas Mountains. These girls live in Education for All facilities, an NGO that runs boarding houses for girls in the area, giving them the chance to continue their secondary education. The houses are built close to the only high school in the region and offer food, board, and an internet connection, all for free.

Challenges accessing education
Very few girls from rural communities in Morocco get the opportunity to continue their education beyond primary school. Some of the girls live up to 70 kilometers from school, and with few families owning means of transportation, a daily commute up and down a rocky mountain path that traverses rivers and ravines is simply impossible. As a result, securing a place to live in one of the EFA boarding houses is often a lifeline for these girls, who without the opportunity to study may find themselves married from a very young age.

On March 16, the Moroccan government made the decision to close all schools and boarding houses across the country in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. For the girls at EFA, this meant that the houses, which have become their homes during their high school studies, had to also close. The girls returned to their remote villages in the High Atlas mountains, where they have remained for the past three months……………..
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Moroccan Students Prepare for Baccalaureate Exam with Anxiety, Optimism

With the baccalaureate exam being only a few days away, some students are fully prepared and confident whereas others are completely consumed by fear.

By Asmae Nakib - Jun 29, 2020

Morocco’s baccalaureate exams are around the corner, set to begin July 3. The clock is ticking, and every second is crucial for the 318,917 students preparing. While some students are confident and ready to rise to the challenge, others are anxious, afraid, stressed out of their minds, and unprepared for such long and laborious tests. Morocco World News (MWN) interviewed students in order to get a clear idea of the way they feel as the exam date approaches. A professor also shared pieces of advice to help students prepare for the tests…………….
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An Illuminating Farmer-to-Farmer Story in Morocco

June 29, 2020June 29, 2020 Village Reporter By Yossef Ben-Meir Marrakech

Bill Nichols served as a volunteer consultant to the High Atlas Foundation (HAF) through the Farmer-to-Farmer Program (F2F) for two weeks in January 2020. Originally from New Mexico, now residing in Boston, Bill collaborated as an F2F volunteer with four of HAF’s tree nursery cooperatives in southern Morocco. He was tasked with improving their productivity. One immediate benefit of his visits with Moroccan farmers at these sites is that he was able to share not only his technical and business skills but also to find ways for the four individual cooperatives within the same province to share their own specialized skills with one another.
Farmer-to-Farmer responds to the local needs of host-country farmers and organizations like HAF in developing and transitional countries. It leverages the expertise of volunteers from U.S. farms, universities, cooperatives, agribusinesses, and nonprofits. As an example, during Bill’s visits, he offered guidance to sustainably maximize the quality and quantity of organic fruit trees. This directly coincided with the goals of HAF, the current F2F-implementer in Morocco, to develop project plans with donor partners that local communities determine and manage.

Bill’s assignment was fortuitously timely, as it was during Morocco’s planting season, when partners are driven to plant as much and as well as possible. Early in the season, cooperative members consider the number of seedlings to plant along with the expected returns from their plantings. In response to this need, Bill supported them in their cost-benefit analysis that, along with a reevaluation of tree pricing, informed the nurseries’ operational budgets.
Bill’s work on pricing trees was immediately utilized by the cooperatives in order for them to meet the rigorous project criteria of their donor organization, Ecosia (a German search engine that finances reforestation around the world). As a result, Ecosia now supports planting 150,000 seeds of almond, carob, olive, and walnut trees at the nurseries of the four cooperatives where Bill provided assessments: Tassa Ouirgane, Imdoukal Znaga, Akrich Village, and the Adrar Cooperative. At the latter, he also instigated a soil analysis for the nursery caretaker, who complained of substandard planting soil……………
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IRES: Humans, Nature at the Heart of Morocco’s New Development Model

The 257-page report presents extensive recommendations for Morocco’s new development model.

By Yahia Hatim - Jun 30, 2020 Rabat

The Royal Institute for Strategic Studies’ (IRES) report on Morocco’s new development model has called for revaluing humans and their relationship with nature and putting the two at the heart of the development process. The report, titled “Towards a new development model,” is a contribution by IRES to the discussion on the new development model, in accordance with King Mohammed VI’s directives in his October 13, 2017 speech, calling for the renewal of Morocco’s development model. IRES finished drafting the French version of the report in June 2019 and the English version in August 2019. The institute also submitted the report to Morocco’s Special Commission on the Development Model (CSMD) in February 2020………..
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Morocco’s National Library, Museum Foundation to Digitize Moroccan Art

The partnership comes as both institutions are transitioning into the digital era by making some of their services available online.

By Yahia Hatim - Jul 1, 2020 Rabat

The National Library of the Kingdom of Morocco (BNRM) and the National Foundation of Museums (FNM) have signed a partnership agreement to accelerate the project of digitizing art collections created by Moroccan artists. BNRM Director Mohamed El Ferrane and FNM Director Mehdi Qotbi signed the agreement during a ceremony chaired by Morocco’s Minister of Culture, Othman El Ferdaous, on Wednesday, July 1, in Rabat, said a statement from the national library.
According to the agreement, BNRM is set to accelerate the digitization of Moroccan artwork displayed in the different museums across the country…………………
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