Expanding the Reach and Voice of Civil Society in Morocco

Morocco has made significant progress over the past several years, but its civil society still needs structure and tools that would help organize and communicate.

The USAID-funded Morocco Civil Society Advocacy Project (SANAD) advocated for citizens, especially the young and poor, and strengthened the sustainability and outreach capability of more than 700 civil society organizations, including 262 PTAs, 40 youth associations and 50 organizations on e-advocacy.

SANAD means “reinforcement” in Moroccan Arabic and refers to the significant progress that civil society has achieved in recent years. Through partnerships with civil society networks and leveraging public funding, SANAD adapted to the changing landscape of dealing with civil society pre- and post-Arab Spring.

With SANAD support, nearly 300 associations from 80 provinces contributed to national and regional forums, creating memorandums for democratic reform associated with the Arab Spring.

The Youth and Sports Ministry was assisted by SANAD in launching a national policy consultation service that reached 40,000 youth. The new government accepted policy proposals from the ministry on youth employment, human rights in school programs, access to rural youth, drug policy and legislative reform.

SANAD helped the Civic Youth Coalition on Reform expand into a national network of 90 youth associations. The network advocates for youth-related topics like political participation, education and employment.

The project helped the formation of Sale Youth Institutional Group’s historic first response service, where local youth can receive counseling for vocational training and employment. The Sale group’s success has led to the adoption of similar groups in Fez, Khemissent and Sidi Slimane.

Our experts were instrumental in bringing together 90 local youth organizations to be a part of the national network, Civic Youth Coalition on Reform.

Through webinars and moderated list servs, SANAD offered economical ways for civil society organizations to learn, exchange, and share information. The webinars were viewed more than 8,400 times. A survey of list serv members revealed that 74% found the emails of great value and 60% had connected with new organizations.

SANAD also partnered with the civil society organization, Tahaddi, to create “Accessible Fez: A City With No Limits,” an online mapping application of Fez. The tool uses a crowd-sourcing approach on its website to allow users to identify public buildings that are equipped for disability access. A national network for disabled people replicated the map in four other cities.

As part of an online advocacy campaign, SANAD supported the production of videos for Transparency Maroc’s Right to Access Public Information campaign. SANAD helped identify messaging, audience, and objectives for the video, which has been watched by more than 20,000 people in French, Arabic and English. The video was released on YouTube and featured at a World Bank Conference on access to public information in the MENA region.

SANAD created the innovative Fez Prefecture Civil Society Capacity Building Program that brings together the Ministry of Social Development, the Agency of Social Development and the Fez Prefecture Human Development Committee. The program supports local governance interaction, organizational development and mobilization of civil society in Fez.

“The Fez Prefecture Program is the product of true partnership and convergence between agencies, the result of more than 80 joint planning and implementation meetings,” said Abdelmajid Makni, Regional Director of the Agency of Social Development and President of the Fez Regional Human Rights Committee.

The program now only uses Moroccan public funds, making it a shining example of how to collaborate between agencies to create a sustainable method for civil society development.

SANAD trained 156 partnering organizations in Fez to participate in local governance and equipped them with interactive e-learning and tools for development and evaluation. A handful of the strongest organizations now train and evaluate more than 100 civil society organizations on their own.

The program’s success has become a model for the Ministry of Social Development and the Agency of Social Development, who have started work in Salé on a similar program.