HAF's Project Manager Abderrahim Ouarghidi reports:
Approximately 60% of rural Moroccans now have access to clean drinking water, up from 14% in 1995. During that same period, however, access to house connections and improved water sources had extremely modest gains. Clean drinking water projects remain a top project priority expressed by High Atlas Mountain communities. Nationally, infant mortality rates are 26.49 per 1,000 — more than 4 times higher than the United States — and are significantly higher in rural areas. Too often, there seems to be a disconnect, as in this case, between the national human development figures that show marked improvements, and the reality of Morocco’s mountain communities which have been left behind.
NOTE:Time spent to procure what is often non-potable water (in addition to fuel wood) is a burden on women and girls — and prevents their participation in education. While a 2001 World Bank survey showed that girls’ enrollment in school increased 16% in communities that benefited from the installation of clean drinking water systems, interestingly, this project priority often does not appear among the suggested projects from the women's participatory planning meetings. One possible reason for this, as HAF has observed in a different community, is that the time spent fetching water is also an opportunity during the day for women and girls to socialize together.
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President of the High Atlas Foundation
NYC, NY (US) and Marrakech, Al Haouz (Maroc),