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Soulaliyate Women in Morocco: leaders of a grassroots mobilization for land rights

Thursday, 25 June 2015 16:07 Written by 
  • Location(s): Comoros
  • Type(s): Solution
  • Theme(s): Democratic Governance, Land Management, Women Empowerment
  • SDG(s): 5. Gender Equality
  • Locations in the Arab States: Morocco
  • Types in the Arab States: Solution
  • Themes in the Arab States: Democratic Governance, Land Management, Women Empowerment
  • SDGs in the Arab States: 5. Gender Equality

The Soulaliyates movement is a grassroots women`s social movement launched in 2007 that advocates for recognition of the land rights of Soulaliyates (women of collective lands). The majority of Soulaliyate women are illiterate, poor and economically dependent on male members of families despite their own substantial contributions to land productivity and due to lack of recognition of their rights to collective lands.

With the support of the Democratic Association of Moroccan Women (ADFM) NGO and UN Women the Soulaliyates women organized themselves into interest groups and get empowered to promote and protect women`s rights to collective land. Started from the interest group the Soulatiyates women have managed to transform into a national social movement that fights against injustice, gender-based discrimination and patriarchal customs and traditions in access to land. 

Initiatives of the movement led to the Government of Morocco to bring legal changes in terms of ensuring formal access of the Soulaliyates women to land by issuing the relevant rulings. 

With thanks for contribution and input of the long-term advocacy and sensitization campaign, in March 2013 for the first time in Morocco the Soulaliyates women from urban districts of Mahdia received land plots of the equal size and entitled to the equal land rights as men

As a result 867 females benefited from distribution of 128 hectares of land and thus, became landowners and attained control over land.

The success of the Soulaliyates is based on the well-structured methodology and holistic approach adopted by the ADFM which include coalition-building, mobilization, capacity-building, and advocacy and enable to achieve the following outcomes:

  • The rights of the Soulaliyates women to collective lands have been recognized by the Ministry of Interior which had issued ministerial decrees on the matter;
  • The capacities of the Soulaliyates women has been strengthened and with improved skills and better knowledge of their rights they are enabled to be the change-makers who can mobilize and reach out effectively the decision makers.

The Soulaliyates' movement helped to initiate a discussion over collective lands as a national heritage and contributed to reveal the complexity and difficulty of issues related to the management of collective lands such as diversity of practices, the flawed legislation, alarming loss of land and natural resources. The Soulaliyates has prompted the Government to ensure that these issues are reflected in concrete solutions, mechanisms and actions.

The Soulaliyates' ability to work in solidarity in order to constitute an influential force and to interact with officials for the purpose of making their voices to be heard, has allowed the emergence of an exceptional leadership. 

Partners: Forum Marocain de l`Action Social, ANARUZ: the National Network of Counseling Centers for women survivors of gender-based violence, Local coalitions of Soulalyates 

Contact details: 
Mrs. Saadia Drissi Amrani
Member of the ADFM Board
Campaign Leader, Advocacy for women
Tel: +212 (0) 6 61 62 54 96
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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