London MCT team members took part in the regional Child Protection conference held at the University of Agadir in Taroudannt, Morocco, on Saturday, May 11th.
We were joined by the Centre Afaq team, our partner NGO, Groupe Maroc Horizons, and delegates of organisations across Morocco who work with vulnerable children suffering from abuse, mistreatment and exploitation. The conference addressed the current obstacles that these actors face in their mission to protect children.
The Conference started with the arrival of various distinguished guests and child protection duty bearers, including delegates from the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health and Entre-aide Nationale all greeted by members of GMH and MCT.
The Conference began with six presentations from various state and civic actors on their perspectives of the state of children in Morocco. Among these presentations, one was given by the Ministry of Health about physical and sexual abuse, the culture of silence surrounding violence, and the consequences on the development of the child.
Dr. Chris Hands, director of MCT, added an international perspective to the presentations talking about child protection in the UK, including the high-profile cases of Victoria Climbie and Peter Connolly. He also discussed the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. These provided valuable cross-sector insight into the state of child protection policy and practice in Moroccan institutions and elsewhere.
After a short break, the conference attendees broke off into three working groups to discuss the issues of child protection in three domains:
1) Child protection and schools
2) Child protection and social centers
3) Child protection within the family and on the street
The working groups brought together education professionals, social workers, NGOs, police, and government representatives to discuss together the challenges of child protection and how to work together to improve communication, cooperation and services. After discussions, the facilitator of each workshop presented the problems identified and possible solutions.
Abdellah Soussi, Director of GMH, closed the conference with some concluding remarks and thanked everyone who attended. The aim of this conference was to formulate a collective plan of action with local government, social centers and education experts to ensure further success and greater cooperation in the future. The next steps will be set to carry out the recommendations in the GMH/MCT Conference Report.
Please check out the day’s schedule for more details.