Morocco: Women taking the lead for earthquake recovery

In September last year, Morocco was struck by one of the most destructive earthquakes in its history, which killed 3,000 people, left 6,000 injured and destroyed over 59,000 homes.


Thanks to ActionAid supporters, the emergency response provided food packs and hygiene kits across rural areas, helping make a difference to over 4,000 people whose lives were turned upside down.

ActionAid continues to provide recovery support across 14 affected areas, alongside local partners.

Samira is the director of one of these partners, Tamghart Noudrar (The Mountain Woman), a women-led local organisation. Samira makes regular trips to affected rural communities to distribute food, dignity kits and shelter supplies.

“I love voluntary work and associations. The main aim is to improve conditions for women in rural areas. I’ve been working on this for a long time.”

Another key aspect of the response is the creation of safe spaces for women – to speak freely, hold leadership workshops, raise awareness for women’s rights and offer psychosocial support. Tamghart Noudrar uses safe spaces to train women leaders to create and run initiatives for their community and lead the recovery progress. 15-year-old Siham spoke to us about her experience from the leadership workshops:

“I’ve gained more confidence, the ability to talk in front of people and express myself…I learnt how to understand myself better and how to communicate with people. […] I learnt that we should not let down our rights…”

ActionAid’s emergency response is focusing on people’s immediate needs, especially the needs of women and girls, and supporting women-led responses. However, the recovery process is still ongoing. Siham voices the ongoing impacts from the earthquake:

“The earthquake impacted us a lot, my aunt died and it was a shock to see our home destroyed. We were separated from it, from my aunt and from school, it left us in shock and with fear. When the ground shakes just a little bit, we go out screaming.”  

Psychosocial support and educational services are vital necessities for these communities, as many children have been unable to attend school and the identified cases of people in need of mental health support continues to increase. Samira, the Director of Tamghart Noudrar, stresses the need for these continued efforts stating:

“They said it was an emergency job lasting 9 months or a year. But we need a bigger project, lasting longer than a year. We’ve already done some things for people, but there’s still a lot to do.”