Morocco Implements Child Safeguarding Action Plan Amid COVID-19 Crisis
Rabat – The Moroccan Ministry of Solidarity, Social Development, Equality, and Family has launched an action plan to protect children in vulnerable situations, in light of the special circumstances of the novel coronavirus crisis.
The action plan kicked off on March 20, as one of several efforts the ministry has undertaken to safeguard vulnerable children since the declaration of Morocco’s state of health emergency.
The plan targets Moroccan children who reside in social welfare centers and homeless children, the ministry declared in a press release.
The ministry aims to provide children with various proximity services, continuous monitoring, and follow-up mechanisms.
These include remote psychological support for children in social protection centers, reporting mechanisms to coordinate efforts in child protection cases, and a communication service for children and their educators at social welfare institutions.
To achieve their goals, the Ministry of Solidarity has started supporting social organizations’ projects serving vulnerable children in the COVID-19 crisis.
Amid the exceptional circumstances, the ministry allowed partner organizations to change the budgetary allocation of their grants to finance relevant and pressing projects, the ministry said.
“Affiliated associations are asked to send the ministry a request attached to the technical file, which can be downloaded from the ministry’s portal (social.gov.ma),” the press release added.
In order to fulfill its responsibilities to homeless children, the ministry has set up phone numbers through its affiliate establishment, The National Mutual Aid Society, for local authorities to declare cases of homeless children as well as their location in the streets.
Authorities can use the number to contact over 25 child protection units, and can coordinate efforts to provide homeless children with accommodations or reintegrate them with their families. Authorities can also work with the protection units to address cases of violence against children.
The National Mutual Aid Society also engaged a team of clinical psychologists to provide remote mental health support for children in social welfare centers, where their phone numbers are openly displayed.
This psychological assistance is for children who are having difficulties adapting to life in the centers. Children can directly call or message psychologists to discuss their situations.
Educators will also benefit from campaigns to raise awareness about the spread of coronavirus and preventive measures, in order to perform their duties towards children in secure conditions.
Minister of Solidarity Jamila El Mossali announced a similar initiative on the radio program “Sabah Biladi” on March 22. The ministry’s operation shelters homeless people in seven Moroccan cities amid the coronavirus outbreak.
The humanitarian action concerns homeless communities in the cities of Oujda, Kenitra, Agadir, Tangier, Casablanca, Inezgane, and Rabat.
“This action comes within the framework of the precautionary measures of an urgent nature taken to confront the exceptional situation in the kingdom,” said El Mossali.
Solidarity does not only depend on financial support, but also on commitment to the procedures and measures of the health emergency, she added.