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Empowering Rural Participation and Partnerships in Morocco’s Sustainable Development

Updated: Jul 14

By Yossef Ben-Meir

HAF President


This essay explores the vast potential for participatory and sustainable human development in Morocco. Though Morocco is a country with many diverse resources, it remains burdened by severe levels of poverty and illiteracy, and now growing social discord. There have recently been increased public calls for participatory development programs designed and implemented by and for local people. The essay identifies six existing Moroccan Frameworks intended to initiate decentralized human development programs, and critically examines their efficacy. Ultimately, the purpose of the article is to suggest a new model to implement these Frameworks with maximum impact. The six Frameworks deal with municipal development plans, a sub-national funding agency, decentralization, environmental protection and agriculture, women’s rights, and youth engagement. Each of these Frameworks present positive ideals which are not fully being capitalized on currently because they lack sufficient resources and momentum individually. By integrating the six Frameworks to function in tandem, Morocco could achieve its goal of initiating widespread decentralized, sustainable development programs that truly impact local communities in positive ways.

Author Bio(s)

Yossef Ben-Meir is co-founder and president of the High Atlas Foundation, a Moroccan-U.S. nongovernment organization dedicated to sustainable development. In Morocco, he was also a Peace Corps Volunteer (1993-95), Associate Peace Corps Director (1998-99), Research Fellow at the American Institute of Maghreb Studies (2003-4), and Assistant Professor at Al Akhawayn University at the School of Social Sciences and Humanities (2009-2010). Dr. Ben-Meir holds a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of New Mexico (2009) where he also taught, an MA in international development from Clark University (1997), and a BA in economics from New York University (1991).

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