Magharebia (Washington DC)

20 November 2012

Morocco: Kénitra Empowers Youth

Rabat — A new programme encourages Moroccan youth to engage in local government affairs.

Young Moroccans will now have a say in local politics, thanks to a new programme launched in Kenitra on November 10th.

The city began collaborating with the Local Governance Programme (PGL) six months ago on the project when it decided to put forth a renewed effort to empowering their youth.

The commune and PGL took its first steps by reaching out to associations concerned with youth, and encouraged them to submit applications for one male and female.

Of the 102 applications received, 59 individuals were chosen by the selection committee. The new committee is a diverse group of young men and women who are ages 15 to 25, Mohamed Bchini, youth co-ordinator for PGL told Magharebia.

"As part of the local council of youths, seven young men and women were elected to be representatives of the commune," he added.

"The task of the dialogue committee will be to act as a speaker for the youth, and communicate proposals and concerns of Kénitra's youth to the local government and request its implementation."

PGL and the commune will support the new committee by providing training to its young members.

"The aim is to improve youth involvement in the series of dialogue with the commune. This is our eighth committee PGL has organised, and we're working on creating two more in the near future," Bchini stated.

"I decided to take part in this experiment out of my belief in the importance of the critical stage we're currently in and out of my awareness of the problems facing the residents of my town," new council member, Assia Abboudi, told Magharebia.

"I will be focusing on the development of youths' capabilities and encouraging them to take part in local affairs to fend off deviation that many young people face in most Moroccan cities," she added.

Ayoub Rouimi, another member of the new council, recognises the task ahead at reform is difficult.

"We're a council working alongside the elected ones with only advisory powers and the ability to make proposals," he stated.

He has high hopes as far as the effectiveness of the new council is concerned.

Amongst its memberships, the group includes "graduate students, heads of associations, and specialists in a variety of areas. They have all worked with dedication for the associations they belong to," Rouimi said.

Roumi will focus his attention in two areas. First in the arts, specifically in theatre and music, which currently excludes many young people in the commune. His second area of emphasis will be on problems confronted by students.

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) launched PGL in February 2010 in partnership with the General Department of Local Communes with the aim of reaching "intensive involvement on the part of citizens, including young people, in good governance at effective and responsible local communes".

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