Water conservation, agriculture, small-business development, and government service delivery figure prominently in our research support in Morocco.
For example, research on rising sea levels and more severe, frequent storms supported government plans to help the farming and tourism industries adapt to climate change. In addition, early research to develop new barley varieties led the country to involve farmers in its plant-breeding program. Together, they identified high-yielding new cultivars, adapted to farmers’ fields.
E-governance improves service
Thanks to our support, government efficiency is also improving. Researchers at Al-Akhawayn University worked with local and national authorities to set up the first wireless telecommunications network for the city of Fez. In the past, citizens endured lengthy waits for birth certificates needed for job applications or school registration. Now they can obtain such records quickly at electronic kiosks.
By mid-2010, the city’s Agdal district was issuing 37% more birth certificates than the previous year. The team’s success has garnered it many contracts and grants to improve local government services throughout Morocco.
Argan oil creates bounty for women
In the late 1990s, researchers in the Faculty of Science at the Mohammed V University of Rabat worked with Berber women to improve methods of extracting oil from the fruit of the argan tree, a species native to Morocco. Faster production methods led the women to form cooperatives to produce and market the rare oil. They became economically empowered. They learned how to read and write, and invest in their children’s future.
This IDRC-supported initiative also provided incentives to protect the argan tree and thus combat desertification. Now a popular cosmetics ingredient, argan oil received a protected geographical indication from the European Union in 2011, in recognition of its unique qualities. In 2010, lead researcher Zoubida Charrouf received Morocco’s Grand Prize for Invention and Research in Science and Technology for her groundbreaking work.
80 activities worth CA$12 million since 1982
Our support is helping
- adapt to climate change in Morocco’s Tensift and Saiss Basins
- strengthen the knowledge base for intellectual property policy, and make needed reforms
- provide insights into protests demanding greater government accountability and legitimacy
- improve rangeland management in the province of Rhamna
- promote policies to protect minorities like the Kurdish and Amazigh communities, who represent 50 million people in the region