On Monday 15th September 2014, a group of more than twenty professionals and volunteers from the youth field gathered in the Moroccan capital of Rabat. In a four-day study visit, coorganised by the Italian National Agency for the Erasmus+ Program and SALTO EuroMed and Good Practices Resource Centre in cooperation with RCBS (Regional Capacity Building and Support Unit for the EuroMed Youth Programme IV) and the Moroccan Thaqafaat association, the participants learn about youth work and youth participation on local level in Morocco. Even though Morocco hasn’t witnessed revolutions like in Tunisia, Libya and Egypt, there has been major developments in recent years, such as the adoption of a new constitution in 2011. Young people and the youth sector are affected by these developments. This study visit therefore offers a unique opportunity to learn about these developments and to explore further cooperation for young people on both sides of the Mediterranean.
On the first day, the participants were welcomed at the Moroccan Ministry of Youth and Sports. In several presentations the group was widely informed about the national youth policy, which has very recently been integrated in a national strategy for the next fifteen years. The government officials stressed the importance of better opportunities for young people, who together constitute over 30% of the Morocccan population. Presentations by various local and national youth NGOs showed the amount of work which has been done in the last ten years. New initiatives concerning local youth councils, voluntary service and women’s rights were discussed.
Till now, the group visited two local NGOs in Salé, Rabat’s twin city on the other side of the river. In a beautifully decorated art gallery and café litteraire, Ms Asmaa Benachir presented her social enterprise ’Au Grain de Sésame’, which empowers women from the local medina - young and old - using art and handicraft as a tool. The second visit led to the ’Amal Sale’ association (’Hope for Salé’), which in ten years developed from a local initiative for small-scale community services to an educational centre in which young people get a second chance to finish their vocational education.
For the next days, the programme includes visits to local NGOs in the cities of Meknes and Larache and a local youth council in Assilah. It will give the participants an insight into the Moroccan reality of young people, youth work and youth participation.
By the beginning of next year, RCBS and SALTO EuroMed will publish a publication about youth work and youth participation in Morocco, which will be part of the series ’Youth work in ...’ dedicated to Youth work in the Mediterranean partner countries.