Would 2015 be a chance to change history? UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told the Youth Forum organized by the UN’s Economic and Social Council that “[You are] “the first generation with the potential to end poverty and the last generation to avoid worst effects of climate change”. It was his message to fully engage young people in the post-2015 MDG (http://www.un.org/en/ecosoc/youth2015/).
However, what is the situation of children and young people in Africa today. The Children’s situation in Morocco gives some idea about what we may expect in this part of the world. Morocco has made vast improvements in the past decade. The child and infant mortality rates were greatly reduced, the net primary school enrolment rates have been increasing rapidly. However, net secondary school rates are still extremely low: 37% for boys and 32% for girls.
A large number of children are vulnerable and there are still many harmful traditional practices. The children are especially affected by the custom of early marriage. Although reforms (2004) have raised the minimum age of marriage for women from 15 to 18, judges are still authorize marriages before that age, including girls as young as 13. The child early marriages is increasing, between 2009 and 2010 were in total of 33,253. Though forced child labour is prohibited, it remains a critical challenge as it concerns 9% of children aged 5 to 14 years. Girls as young as 6 or 7 years old from rural communities are recruited to work as child maids in cities, and often experience conditions of forced labour. Boys experience forced labour as apprentices in the artisan and construction industries and in mechanic shops. In education teachers and parents still believe children should fear them to work and behave better, so “violence is often socially-accepted and approved”. In addition, children are vulnerable by armed conflict and natural disasters. Morocco, for example, suffered 32 events during the period 1980-2010, affecting on average 17,000 persons per year.