Sustainable Development Success Stories

Integrated development project of Karyan El-Oued

Location Salé, Morocco.
Responsible Organisation ENDA Maghreb  (Moroccan branch of ENDA Third World).
Description The project started in March 1993 in Karyan El-Oued, a shanty town in the outskirts of Salé. Initially ENDA sat down with the local population to find out what would be the most appropriate way to intervene and improve the living conditions in the community. A number of research projects were undertaken together with the local population, to tackle the neighbourhood's solid and liquid waste management problems. In particular the need for a rubbish dump and sewage system was identified, since the lack of these facilities was causing serious health problems for the local residents.

ENDA faced a number of constraints: local authorities refused to provide basic sanitation services to the residents who, although owners of their shacks, were considered illegal as the land on which the shanty town lay remained the property of the local authority. The local authority was planning to move the residents to a new site, which meant that residents as well as having to pay for the new site would also lose the money that they invested in the old site. The costs entailed by the displacement could not be met either by the local authorities or by the community. The population was largely illiterate, without the experience, the solidarity or the confidence to act. The population clearly needed a structure in which to organise themselves. Women from the district, mostly emigrated in 1980's from the rural areas to Salé to find jobs in the textile sector (lately not prosperous anymore) were identified. A number of those women turned to the production of rugs from used materials, to sell to the families in the district. An ENDA field worker organised a meeting with these women to discuss the potential of this work to generate complementary income to pay for other social activities such as literacy, technical training and waste management programmes. Originally 12 weavers (and later increasing to 40) organised to form a women's co- operative to make rugs, bags, carpets and related products. ENDA organised training programmes - with financial support from the Foundation de France, French Embassy, Canadian Co-operation, UNICEF and American Women s Association - to help the women structure their work and improve its quality.

Issues Addressed Poverty and changing consumption and production patterns; Education, Awareness raising and Capacity building.
Results Achieved
  • Local population motivation in dealing with the economic, social and environmental issues, including revitalisation of traditional skills.

  • Development of a successful business using local knowledge and recycled material. Women started collecting - in an organised fashion - the waste products from the local households and factories to produce the carpets, bags and rugs.

  • Improvement of production methods and quality control with direct health benefits.

  • Creation of new job opportunities and reinforcement of women s knowledge and the confidence of the local population in dealing with the wider community.

  • Women started to undertake research to develop their product, both in terms of artistic design and the range of goods being produced. With the success of the initiative, ENDA gained the trust and respect of the local community (used to being marginalised by the authorities).

  • Women also started a literacy programme, a community micro-credit programme and a child care centre. After consultation within the community an association was set up - with two of the eleven seats reserved for the women from the project - to deal with the local authorities. Furthermore, it has provided a forum that promoted communication and solidarity at district level, leading to the recognition of the local community by the local authorities.

  • The savings from the sale of the products helped start a micro-credit programme with a social fund. The social fund aims to help the women in times of financial hardship and is based on the rate of sales of their products. To date the community micro-credit programme - with managerial support provided by ENDA Maghreb - aided 46 people to start or expand their businesses, with a 100% repayment rate.

  • The production and training initiatives have been expanded to other women (40 to date) and young girls in the district (15 to date). A young girl - formerly unemployed - graduated from the district has been employed on a part-time basis to providing literacy classes. This programme now provides classes in Arabic and French for 61 women and young girls and has a waiting list of 50 due to its success.

  • Other achievements include the installation of a sewage system to clean up the waste caused by nearby military base and construction of a landfill for the local area. The campaign organised to clean up the district has also helped to promote environmental awareness. However, their right to stay on this plot is not as yet being resolved and we continue to lobby the local authorities to provide a basic level of housing for the community and to integrate them into the wider economy.

Lessons Learned Targeted through the local women, the project improved their position also thanks to their permanent representation in the local association. The increased saving contributed to the establishment of the micro-credit initiative. The initiative - through solidarity and business fund - provided the local population with a low interest form of finance that can fund small business and contribute to a social security system for a marginalised community.

The experience enhanced the capacity of the local population to negotiate with the authorities through the new districts association. Our aim is to facilitate forward the participative planning taking into account the local context and the necessary partnerships with the different actors.

Contacts Dr. Magdi Ibrahim, Programme Co-ordinator
James Stapleton, Information Analysis Officer
Berti Shaker, Egyptian Volunteer from the project
ENDA Maghreb, 196 Quartier O.L.M., Rabat-Souissi, Morocco;
Tel: (212) 7 756414/15; Fax: (212) 7 756413;
E-mail: endamag@mbox.azure.net or enda@endamaghreb.gn.apc.org