The Fight to Free the Slums in Morocco

Hannah Medina
3 min readMar 15, 2021
Photo from Associated Press

“I live with my son, who is sick, and my granddaughter. I do not have any income.” In many areas of Morocco, the poverty disparity has continued to grow, leading individuals such as Rabia, who lives in the slums of Casablanca, to stress every day over finding a way to even pay for her five-euro bedroom.

For some, the idea of having something as simple as running water and a proper roof over their heads is immeasurable and unattainable.

For some, this type of circumstance has begun to subsidize itself through the government’s housing aid program, which started in 2004. Its goal was to assist the people living in the slums and move them into funded housing. The idea was to have all slums gone by 2012. For reasons concerning lack of land, urban planning, and the fact that many of these slums are located near the city centers, the push to achieve these goals is lofty and proving to be much more challenging to bring to completion.

As of 2018, only 58 of the 85 targeted cities within Morocco were considered “slum-free.” This percentage of only 68% completion has created tension as it does not correlate with the updated constitution was produced in 2011. As Leger discusses in Morocco World News, the current constitution states that “Moroccan citizens have an essential right to housing, water, a healthy environment, healthcare, and social security.”

Although members of these communities, such as Mina Abujaman, describe the living situations as “It’s as if we’re eating straight from the gutter.” This in lies the problem.

The living situation within these so-called shanties is less than optimal by almost every standard. The government chose to finance half of this $3 billion-dollar project, with the other portion funded by private individuals.

According to residents such as Chihab, “Remote villages, and even some of the medinas, or historic town centers, can offer worse living conditions than the slum shanties. But the slums are just such a crying image of misery that the government has made them a priority.”

The efforts that have been continually put into this project have made a difference in the percentage of slums located around the country. The problem is now, where do these communities move into?