Since 1957, the United States and the Government of Morocco have worked together to make substantial improvements in the lives of Moroccan citizens. However, Morocco still faces many complex challenges, including few employment opportunities for youth and an overall literacy rate of only 55 percent. As recent political transitions sweep the region, the Moroccan government has been responsive to its citizens growing calls for greater economic inclusion and better political participation.
In 2014, USAID/Morocco will begin implementing a new Strategy that will focus on workforce development, citizen participation in governance and primary grade educational attainment. Stay tuned to our website and Facebook page for more information about new programming next spring. Today, USAID is providing Moroccan youth with the necessary skills to participate actively in the social and political reforms launched by the Moroccan government since the adoption of the 2011 constitution. USAID has achieved substantial results, most notably in education (providing training to over 5,500 teachers to improve instruction in middle schools), economic growth (reducing the time needed to register a business by five days), and democracy and governance (facilitating an increase in the percentage of women in elected office from less than 0.5 percent to over 12 percent). As the Ministry of Health’s principle partner in family planning and maternal and child health for over 30 years, USAID lowered maternal mortality rates and improved child survival statistics. Investments in microfinance and urban planning resulted in access to credit for thousands of entrepreneurs and infrastructure improvements to urban neighborhoods in northern Morocco that modernized communities while maintaining the traditional social fabric.
Unemployment, particularly among youth, remains a serious social concern and remains an impediment to accelerated economic growth. USAID helps Morocco adopt education and training programs that aligned to in-demand sectors and industries. USAID will also facilitate public-private partnerships and collaborate with local NGOs and business associations to develop demand-driven workforce development services that reach a broad range of young adults and youth about to enter the job market.
WATER & SANITATION
USAID is working directly with local organizations and building the capacity of communities to move beyond aid, and take control of their own future. USAID supports three rural Moroccan NGOs to implement water and sanitation projects. These projects will build waste water treatment plants and sanitation systems to maximize the use of scarce water resources and reduce the rate of water borne diseases. When completed, thousands of people will gain increased access to water resources and improved sanitation conditions in their homes, schools and public areas. USAID promotes environmental awareness and helps ensure the overall sustainability of water conservation investments in communities.
USAID supports the Moroccan government’s education reform efforts by promoting high-quality education for middle school students. Through the provision of school libraries, after-school life skills clubs, and community-based school dropout prevention efforts, students at risk of leaving school early are given additional support. Increased quality of education and linking education to life skills better prepares students to continue their education, access vocational training, or enter the workforce. Childhood literary will be the focus of USAID’s future education programming.
DEMOCRACY AND GOVERNANCE
Morocco’s response to the region’s current political transitions was to draft a new constitution that includes a number of reforms providing greater civic engagement in governance. USAID’s democracy and governance strategy capitalizes on these constitutional reforms with activities that increase the capacities of civil society organizations and political parties in becoming more viable actors in affecting public policy. USAID works with local governments to work more transparently and inclusively with citizens including women and youth. More effective representation of citizens’ concerns combined with institutionalization of civic participation in the public policy process will lead to more democratic and participatory governance. Newly established youth councils supported by USAID are creating unprecedented openings in the political environment for young men and women to engage their elected officials and administration on youth issues.
USAID addresses the needs of the most at-risk youth in Morocco through efforts such as the Favorable Opportunities to Reinforce Self-Advancement for Today’s Youth (FORSATY) program. FORSATY, the Arabic word for ‘my opportunity’ responds to the challenge of youth marginalization and disaffection in selected neighborhoods. The program helps young people stay in school, develop skills needed for employment, and become active participants in community life. The program focuses on youth at risk of getting in trouble with the law and youth on probation.
Last updated: March 23, 2015