Josie Hadden, a Global Fund donor and an avid supporter of our work, attended the recently concluded GFW-AWID conference in Marrakech, Morocco and blogged about her experience of meeting with our Moroccoan grantees and learning about the important work they do:
The Global Fund for Women-AWID conference in Marrakech ended. All the hugs and cheek kisses from new friends and sisters had been shared and good-bys made. The next phase of our trip would be site visits.
But first, we spent a day in Marrakech doing a little sightseeing and exploring the Medina, the old city with its maze of alleyways, souks (shops), and crush of people, and emerging at Jamaa al Fna (the large market square) in the late afternoon to the chaotic, fascinating scene of produce venders, outdoor grills, monkeys, snake charmers (be sure to look down. I almost walked right through the middle of the snakes at one point), drummers, dancers, motor scooters and more people.
For the next week we visited Global Fund grantees in Marrakech, Ouarzazate, Rabat and Fez. We met with groups who are explaining the new, more liberal Family Code (Mudawana) to women all over the country. They use van caravans to reach remote villages to present skits demonstrating women’s rights under the new law, and working to get the new rights implemented. Others work at the advocacy level trying to get the police and judges to actually operate by the Mudawana, lobbying for broader coverage without restrictions, evoking CEDAW. Having rights codified is an essential first step, but society and culture do not change easily. Some groups use media and professional theater to effect change.
Other groups offer school for unregistered children, others provide literacy and vocational training for the women. Almost everyone provided “listening centers” where women who are victims of violence can talk about their experience and work through their feelings. One group is working with other groups to build a 200 bed women’s center with a full range of services including longer term shelter.
I had made this trip with the Global Fund because I wanted to verify my positive impressions about the work the Fund does. I wanted to see how their peers reacted to them at the conference and to see how their grantees interacted with them. My instincts were completely validated. I support the Global Fund wholeheartedly and am delighted to be a dedicated and enthusiastic donor.