A socio-cultural center to support the emancipation of women in Morocco

The condition of women in Morocco is changing surely but slowly. They are still particularly exposed to difficulties due to their low level of education: 90 % of women in the province of Essaouira are illiterate. Faced with this observation, the President of AFOULKI France, Christian Cursol, is conducting a long-term initiative.

The condition of girls in rural Morocco: A deep-rooted cultural issue

The Air Liquide Foundation supports Afoulki, a Franco-Moroccan association that fights for children’s right to education in rural areas in the province of Essaouira, the second poorest province in the country. Over time, Afoulki’s team became aware that it was not just the perception of education that needed to change; a whole cultural context needed to be understood, as the President explains: “We noticed that there were related problems. Low levels of school attendance affect girls in particular, for whom the parents are not convinced that school is useful. And girls soon become old enough to marry, which removes a financial burden from families.”

A socio-cultural center for the Foundation’s fourth year of support

In the province of Essaouira, the condition of women is even harder for single mothers. This situation is the result of a difficult past, many being divorced or widows of fishermen. Families then fall into abject poverty. As an extension of Afoulki’s objectives, the association has undertaken the construction of a training center intended for women, in order to facilitate their professional insertion with individual support. Thanks to the support of the Air Liquide Foundation, this ERP-classified building * 450 m2 was inaugurated in January of 2015. The ground floor is made up of a dining area and meeting rooms intended for the center’s teams and the women. Upstairs is devoted to reading, writing and management lessons, as well as vocational courses with modular workshops in Berber tapestry-work, cheese-making, basket-weaving, soap-making, etc. There is also a shop that sells these products. Culture is also at the core of the center, with a library, a media bank, and the organization of cultural events.

Promoting women’s independence

Everything is done to preserve the organization’s independence: “20 women are currently being trained. They are empowered right from the start and are involved in managing the center’s activities. The sale of their craft-work helps to pay for part of the raw materials, operating costs, and training.” And Christian Cursol doesn’t intend to stop there. He now wants to help disabled people on the site, without forgetting the creation of a cooperative day-care center to look after children while their mothers are in the workshops. Afoulki has gained the recognition of the authorities and the region’s inhabitants: the center works in support of development initiatives conducted by the state.

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To find out more

Afoulki Association’s Website : www.ass-afoulki.org

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Etablissement Recevant du Public – building open to the public

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Testimonials

Moroccan women in rural areas increasingly manage their own companies, although their socio-economic input remains unrecognized. It is concentrated in very small-scale, low-productivity, and low-profit activities. Afoulki’s aim is to train these women and help them organize themselves collectively as cooperatives. This wonderful association deserves the support of companies whose ethics and values take a concrete form in the field.

Mehdi El Akroud
Regional Sales Manager - South
Director of the Agadir Site, Air Liquide Morocco