Chapter publication: The WFP 1968-72 Rural Housing Program in Morocco

par Clark, Ben ; Fisher, Axel
Editeur scientifique Ferns, Nicholas ; Villani, Angela
Référence Yearbook for the History of Global Development, De Gruyter – Oldenburg, Berlin – Boston, Vol. 3, International Organizations and Global Development, pages 163-204
Publié, 2024-06

Partie d’ouvrage collectif

“This chapter deals with the 1968–72 Rural Housing Program in Morocco, jointly developed by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations’ (FAO) World Food Programme (WFP), the United Nations Development Programme (PNUD), and the Moroccan government. Considered the most important undertaking of the WFP or other UN agencies at the time, its main objective was to modernize rural habitat and local collective facilities using the WFP’s “food-for-work” approach, in order to support the territorial transformations required to meet the agricultural development objectives of the country’s 1968–72 five-year plan. Concurrently, it was also conceived as a practical measure to contain rural exodus and buttress the ongoing agrarian reform. The program envisaged the production of a total of 90,000 dwellings (either newly built or renovated) throughout the country. For this purpose, a dedicated research center formed mostly by foreign experts—the Centre d’expérimentation, de recherche et de formation (CERF)—was specially created in 1967 under the authority of the Ministry of Interior in Rabat and entrusted with carrying out the project. In this chapter, we argue that the Rural Housing Program generalizes and amplifies a set of development actions, intentions, policies, and practices already initiated and promoted in post-war Morocco by various national and international actors: policies based on “self-help” approaches (such as the Promotion nationale, a national program of voluntary participation in public works, or early UN-supported “Community Development” programs); the emergence of “ruralism,” a new technical and ideological approach to rural planning; and the involvement of foreign expertise and international organizations. From this perspective, the WFP 1968–72 Rural Housing Program, an experiment still largely unknown in the literature, epitomizes the climax of rural development-driven approaches reached in the 1960s, known globally as the “development decade” and locally as the “countryside decade.” Its study contributes to the recent interest in the interrelations between the fields of architecture, rural planning, and development history.”