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Articles by Morocco

Delivering SRH services to seamen to enhance their health and reduce sexual and gender-based violence in Morocco

On 27 October 2020, an inauguration ceremony was held in Agadir for the new IPPF Japan Trust Fund (JTF) project launched by Associationi Morocaine de Planification Familiale (AMPF), IPPF’s Member Association in Morocco, with the support of the Government of Japan. The JTF project aims to improve the health of men working at sea and prevent sexual and gender-based violence in communities around the port of Agadir in central Morocco. AMPF works with port associations and fishermen, who are vital to the local economy and usually have limited access to medical services. AMPF delivers sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services and information to seafarers and fishermen and provide psychosocial care to reduce sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV). We will also implement awareness raising activities at workplace and local fisheries stakeholders to achieve SRHR. The inauguration ceremony was held with support from Sousse Massa Regional Office. Participants included officials from the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries. There was also a press conference for local media. His Excellency Takashi Shinozuka, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to Morocco said: "Gender-based violence is one of the most widespread human rights violations. As one of the leading advocates for SRHR, and in particular for family planning, the Government of Japan has made substantial financial and technical support in this area. I believe the success of this project, in which an organization as high-profile and well-established as AMPF collaborates with the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, which has a long history of cooperation with Japan, on a common goal of ending human rights violations, is a promise. I am proud of this project to be implemented in Morocco where steady progress has been made in enhancing women’s status under the guidance of His Majesty King Mohammed VI." Dr Latifa Mokhtar JAMAI, President of AMPF, said:  "We are grateful to AMPF for this initiative to promote the right to health for the poorest and most hard-to-reach people in Morocco. I would like to thank the Government of Japan and the people of Japan for allowing AMPF to carry out this work to promote the right to health for the poorest and most hard-to-reach populations in Morocco." This project will last for two years till 2022. Please stay tuned for the future of the project. For further information, please contact Hiroko Takazawa at [email protected] or Yuri Taniguchi at [email protected] at IPPF. Pictured above: H.E. Takashi Shinozuka, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to Morocco and Dr Latifa Mokhtar JAMAI, President of AMPF, IPPF’s Member Association in Morocco, at the JTF project launch ceremony

Fadoua Bakhadda
25 March 2020

COVID-19 Impact: What we know so far – Morocco

An interview with Fadoua Bakhadda, the Executive Director of the Moroccan Family Planning Association (AMPF), on the impact of COVID-19. How has Morocco been affected by the coronavirus? So far Morocco (as of 24 March) has 170 infected cases. In total, 685 people have been tested – there have been five deaths and six people are recovering. Morocco has taken a series of safety measures including school closures; imposed a state of emergency across the country, and people need authorization to be outside their home. What impact is it having when it comes to sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR)? There is more demand for condoms. People are stressed and have many questions about whether the virus can be sexually transmitted. Today everyone wants contraception with no prescription. Pregnant women are also afraid about delivering babies, and whether they will be born with the virus. Which services have been the worst hit so far? The biggest impact so far has been on pregnancy care – both prenatal and antenatal. Are frontline staff still able to go into the community? They are still going into communities – they don’t have a choice because we need to act. Although they are in the communities with fewer transmission prevention materials because of market shortages. What are you doing to keep providing services to people in Morocco? We are keeping fixed clinics open. There will be phone calls for urgent consultations, and we are trying to get the message out there that people really need a self-care system when it comes to SRHR, as much a they can. Our two compounds, almost 800m² each, will be under Ministry Of Health control in case of need to serve as emergency care for people by coronavirus. What message do you have for people/your staff in Morocco when it comes to SRHR and coronavirus? Trust yourself, we can do this – women and children need us to do our jobs.

fadoua bakhadda
06 March 2020

Women in Leadership: Fadoua Bakhadda, Morocco

For the last eight years, Fadoua Bakhadda, has been fighting for changes in the law in her role as the Executive Director of  the Moroccan Family Planning Association (AMPF). Many see her as a pioneer for sexual health and reproductive rights.  How did you get into sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR)? When I left school I went to study medicine in Senegal but in my second year I became very ill with typhoid and was forced to return to Morocco. At that point I started a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration in Morocco.  But I promised myself that if I could survive my health problems, I would do something to help others. Senegal was the first place where I had seen poverty, experienced hardship, and understood what it means to be desperate. It made me want to engage in social action and I started teaching orphans. After graduating, I briefly worked in business but quickly returned to social activism. After completing a Master’s in Business Administration I joined AMPF in 2012.  What was AMPF like when you started? When I arrived, the association was almost bankrupt but I started running AMPF like a social enterprise. Today, our income is three times what it was. We now have 73 staff, over 82 volunteers, and 909 young members.  After joining AMPF, I did a PHD about rural women social empowerment, where I emphasizes the correlation between SRHR and women empowerment. Which is when we started the fight to bring about a new law on abortion in Morocco, working with the Ministry of Health and the Moroccan Human Rights Council. The new law has now been stated by the King and is awaiting ratification from the parliament. What was it like growing up in Morocco when it came to SRHR? For me it is deeply personal. My great-grandmother died giving birth to her 11th child because she had no access to family planning.  But I fight for SRHR because it affects everyone regardless of their nationality or age – these rights are the basic needs of human beings.  What taboos were there growing up? Even today, sex outside marriage is still illegal in Morocco, but no one cares about it – it is not enforced, at least not by the police. A lot of people in rural communities are still controlled by the taboos around these things, but they are much more afraid of their communities than of the law or religion.  People are still having sex outside marriage but there remains a social cost – people risk losing their social power. We are campaigning to prevent sexually transmitted diseases, sexual violence, unsafe abortions, unwanted pregnancies, and so on. The fact that taboos exist around these subjects make all of these problems much worse, as these topics cannot be discussed and take place in the dark.    What problems does this cause? The situation leads to ridiculous contradictions. The Ministry of Health gives out condoms for free, yet the police can arrest an unmarried person who is found carrying condoms, as it is assumed that they are on their way to have illegal sex. This reflects a more general attitude in Morocco, where a lot of public policy is about avoiding political change and social unrest. A lot of the authorities think of it as a compromise: we will let you have this, but don’t demand that we change the law.  Overall, there is less of a taboo around sex today. People and families are becoming more and more open to talking about sex. This is even more the case with reproductive matters, as it concerns married people too, so fewer taboos are involved. How would you asses SRHR in Morocco now? I am reasonably pleased with the state of reproductive rights in Morocco, but when it comes to sexual rights we still have a long way to go.  Regarding sexual rights, we are far behind where we need to be. Ministry of Health and other institutions studies have shown that boys become sexually active at 16 and girls at 18. On average, men get married at 31 and women at 28. So there is more than a 10-year gap here of potentially unsafe sexual practices that are not even officially recognized in law. What are we saying? That no one is doing anything for 10 years? We need to open our eyes.  What about Comprehensive Sexual Education (CSE)? There is no CSE in school. There is one class, of about two hours in total, that covers sexual anatomy. That’s not enough and has to change. We are striving to create comprehensive sexual education in the school curriculum so we can fill the gaps that we see in society when it comes to sexual health.  This is starting with an observatory which we are running in partnership with the Faculty of Education Science at the University of Mohammed V in Rabat and the support of UNFPA. What are you going to do to celebrate international women’s day this year? In March we will be signing a new partnership between ourselves (AMPF), UNFPA, and a national coalition of ladouls. Ladouls are the authorities that sign marriages into law in Morocco. We will be working to develop a guide and tools to enable young people to marry and have safe sexual relationships. Other than that, I will be hanging out with my husband, our three kids, and our dog, Rocky.

Association Marocaine de Planification Familiale

The Moroccan Family Planning Association (AMPF) is a non-governmental organization, created in 1971 and recognized as being of public utility in 1972. AMPF is under the Honorary Presidency of Her Royal Highness Lalla Meryem and the effective Presidency of Mrs. Zahara Meziane Ammor.

The Moroccan Family Planning Association (AMPF) is a member of the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) since 1971. Thus, it is part of a civil society movement, present internationally and managed locally and nationally, that provides and facilitates access to sexual and reproductive health services and advocates for the rights of all individuals without discrimination or stigmatization: women, youth, and men, especially the underserved and marginalized groups.

AMPF's mission is to promote Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR), provide comprehensive and quality sexual and reproductive health services, and facilitate access to SRH services for the population, especially the underserved and vulnerable.

This mission is part of a global vision of a Morocco where all individuals enjoy their SRH rights and exercise free, informed choice without stigma or discrimination.

Our values are:

  • Accountability
  • Social Inclusion
  • Volunteerism
  • Diversity
  • Commitment

AMPF has 8 branch committees, about more than 110 active volunteers, several branch youth committees with 1000 youth in total, 27 Service Delivery Centers and an offer of 398,000 various services performed for the benefit of the population in 2019.

The main services we offer are gyneacological consultations, ultrasound, screening tests, and biological tests and family planning counselling. Other types of consultations are also available to meet the needs of our beneficiaries.

 

Delivering SRH services to seamen to enhance their health and reduce sexual and gender-based violence in Morocco

On 27 October 2020, an inauguration ceremony was held in Agadir for the new IPPF Japan Trust Fund (JTF) project launched by Associationi Morocaine de Planification Familiale (AMPF), IPPF’s Member Association in Morocco, with the support of the Government of Japan. The JTF project aims to improve the health of men working at sea and prevent sexual and gender-based violence in communities around the port of Agadir in central Morocco. AMPF works with port associations and fishermen, who are vital to the local economy and usually have limited access to medical services. AMPF delivers sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services and information to seafarers and fishermen and provide psychosocial care to reduce sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV). We will also implement awareness raising activities at workplace and local fisheries stakeholders to achieve SRHR. The inauguration ceremony was held with support from Sousse Massa Regional Office. Participants included officials from the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries. There was also a press conference for local media. His Excellency Takashi Shinozuka, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to Morocco said: "Gender-based violence is one of the most widespread human rights violations. As one of the leading advocates for SRHR, and in particular for family planning, the Government of Japan has made substantial financial and technical support in this area. I believe the success of this project, in which an organization as high-profile and well-established as AMPF collaborates with the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, which has a long history of cooperation with Japan, on a common goal of ending human rights violations, is a promise. I am proud of this project to be implemented in Morocco where steady progress has been made in enhancing women’s status under the guidance of His Majesty King Mohammed VI." Dr Latifa Mokhtar JAMAI, President of AMPF, said:  "We are grateful to AMPF for this initiative to promote the right to health for the poorest and most hard-to-reach people in Morocco. I would like to thank the Government of Japan and the people of Japan for allowing AMPF to carry out this work to promote the right to health for the poorest and most hard-to-reach populations in Morocco." This project will last for two years till 2022. Please stay tuned for the future of the project. For further information, please contact Hiroko Takazawa at [email protected] or Yuri Taniguchi at [email protected] at IPPF. Pictured above: H.E. Takashi Shinozuka, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to Morocco and Dr Latifa Mokhtar JAMAI, President of AMPF, IPPF’s Member Association in Morocco, at the JTF project launch ceremony

Fadoua Bakhadda
25 March 2020

COVID-19 Impact: What we know so far – Morocco

An interview with Fadoua Bakhadda, the Executive Director of the Moroccan Family Planning Association (AMPF), on the impact of COVID-19. How has Morocco been affected by the coronavirus? So far Morocco (as of 24 March) has 170 infected cases. In total, 685 people have been tested – there have been five deaths and six people are recovering. Morocco has taken a series of safety measures including school closures; imposed a state of emergency across the country, and people need authorization to be outside their home. What impact is it having when it comes to sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR)? There is more demand for condoms. People are stressed and have many questions about whether the virus can be sexually transmitted. Today everyone wants contraception with no prescription. Pregnant women are also afraid about delivering babies, and whether they will be born with the virus. Which services have been the worst hit so far? The biggest impact so far has been on pregnancy care – both prenatal and antenatal. Are frontline staff still able to go into the community? They are still going into communities – they don’t have a choice because we need to act. Although they are in the communities with fewer transmission prevention materials because of market shortages. What are you doing to keep providing services to people in Morocco? We are keeping fixed clinics open. There will be phone calls for urgent consultations, and we are trying to get the message out there that people really need a self-care system when it comes to SRHR, as much a they can. Our two compounds, almost 800m² each, will be under Ministry Of Health control in case of need to serve as emergency care for people by coronavirus. What message do you have for people/your staff in Morocco when it comes to SRHR and coronavirus? Trust yourself, we can do this – women and children need us to do our jobs.

fadoua bakhadda
06 March 2020

Women in Leadership: Fadoua Bakhadda, Morocco

For the last eight years, Fadoua Bakhadda, has been fighting for changes in the law in her role as the Executive Director of  the Moroccan Family Planning Association (AMPF). Many see her as a pioneer for sexual health and reproductive rights.  How did you get into sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR)? When I left school I went to study medicine in Senegal but in my second year I became very ill with typhoid and was forced to return to Morocco. At that point I started a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration in Morocco.  But I promised myself that if I could survive my health problems, I would do something to help others. Senegal was the first place where I had seen poverty, experienced hardship, and understood what it means to be desperate. It made me want to engage in social action and I started teaching orphans. After graduating, I briefly worked in business but quickly returned to social activism. After completing a Master’s in Business Administration I joined AMPF in 2012.  What was AMPF like when you started? When I arrived, the association was almost bankrupt but I started running AMPF like a social enterprise. Today, our income is three times what it was. We now have 73 staff, over 82 volunteers, and 909 young members.  After joining AMPF, I did a PHD about rural women social empowerment, where I emphasizes the correlation between SRHR and women empowerment. Which is when we started the fight to bring about a new law on abortion in Morocco, working with the Ministry of Health and the Moroccan Human Rights Council. The new law has now been stated by the King and is awaiting ratification from the parliament. What was it like growing up in Morocco when it came to SRHR? For me it is deeply personal. My great-grandmother died giving birth to her 11th child because she had no access to family planning.  But I fight for SRHR because it affects everyone regardless of their nationality or age – these rights are the basic needs of human beings.  What taboos were there growing up? Even today, sex outside marriage is still illegal in Morocco, but no one cares about it – it is not enforced, at least not by the police. A lot of people in rural communities are still controlled by the taboos around these things, but they are much more afraid of their communities than of the law or religion.  People are still having sex outside marriage but there remains a social cost – people risk losing their social power. We are campaigning to prevent sexually transmitted diseases, sexual violence, unsafe abortions, unwanted pregnancies, and so on. The fact that taboos exist around these subjects make all of these problems much worse, as these topics cannot be discussed and take place in the dark.    What problems does this cause? The situation leads to ridiculous contradictions. The Ministry of Health gives out condoms for free, yet the police can arrest an unmarried person who is found carrying condoms, as it is assumed that they are on their way to have illegal sex. This reflects a more general attitude in Morocco, where a lot of public policy is about avoiding political change and social unrest. A lot of the authorities think of it as a compromise: we will let you have this, but don’t demand that we change the law.  Overall, there is less of a taboo around sex today. People and families are becoming more and more open to talking about sex. This is even more the case with reproductive matters, as it concerns married people too, so fewer taboos are involved. How would you asses SRHR in Morocco now? I am reasonably pleased with the state of reproductive rights in Morocco, but when it comes to sexual rights we still have a long way to go.  Regarding sexual rights, we are far behind where we need to be. Ministry of Health and other institutions studies have shown that boys become sexually active at 16 and girls at 18. On average, men get married at 31 and women at 28. So there is more than a 10-year gap here of potentially unsafe sexual practices that are not even officially recognized in law. What are we saying? That no one is doing anything for 10 years? We need to open our eyes.  What about Comprehensive Sexual Education (CSE)? There is no CSE in school. There is one class, of about two hours in total, that covers sexual anatomy. That’s not enough and has to change. We are striving to create comprehensive sexual education in the school curriculum so we can fill the gaps that we see in society when it comes to sexual health.  This is starting with an observatory which we are running in partnership with the Faculty of Education Science at the University of Mohammed V in Rabat and the support of UNFPA. What are you going to do to celebrate international women’s day this year? In March we will be signing a new partnership between ourselves (AMPF), UNFPA, and a national coalition of ladouls. Ladouls are the authorities that sign marriages into law in Morocco. We will be working to develop a guide and tools to enable young people to marry and have safe sexual relationships. Other than that, I will be hanging out with my husband, our three kids, and our dog, Rocky.

Association Marocaine de Planification Familiale

The Moroccan Family Planning Association (AMPF) is a non-governmental organization, created in 1971 and recognized as being of public utility in 1972. AMPF is under the Honorary Presidency of Her Royal Highness Lalla Meryem and the effective Presidency of Mrs. Zahara Meziane Ammor.

The Moroccan Family Planning Association (AMPF) is a member of the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) since 1971. Thus, it is part of a civil society movement, present internationally and managed locally and nationally, that provides and facilitates access to sexual and reproductive health services and advocates for the rights of all individuals without discrimination or stigmatization: women, youth, and men, especially the underserved and marginalized groups.

AMPF's mission is to promote Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR), provide comprehensive and quality sexual and reproductive health services, and facilitate access to SRH services for the population, especially the underserved and vulnerable.

This mission is part of a global vision of a Morocco where all individuals enjoy their SRH rights and exercise free, informed choice without stigma or discrimination.

Our values are:

  • Accountability
  • Social Inclusion
  • Volunteerism
  • Diversity
  • Commitment

AMPF has 8 branch committees, about more than 110 active volunteers, several branch youth committees with 1000 youth in total, 27 Service Delivery Centers and an offer of 398,000 various services performed for the benefit of the population in 2019.

The main services we offer are gyneacological consultations, ultrasound, screening tests, and biological tests and family planning counselling. Other types of consultations are also available to meet the needs of our beneficiaries.