The Practical Imperative of Youth Participation A Moroccan Perspective

Marrakech – Historically and socially, Moroccan youth have been deprived of a meaningful participation in political, economic and social life. They lack basic access to information and education and/or are considered unfit for leadership positions in their communities. This lacking is contradictory to the desire most young people have to be active in their environment.The belief that youth have a rebellious attitude and a chaotic mindset has been refuted by the sense of citizenship and engagement many young people show. Today’s youth try to access and participate through working hard and engaging in their society. Still, the political will does not correspond with these aspirations. And with these two at odds with each other, coupled with the high rates of unemployment and illiteracy, Moroccan youth are in a dire situation.Experiencing most of these youth hindrances enhanced my interest in youth participation. So, I analyzed the government’s attitudes towards this situation. I concluded that its measures are shy and the mechanisms to promote young people are either not very clear or not activated. My curiosity further led me to research the relevant World Bank reports. At first sight, I was amazed to learn how the World Bank as an independent foreign institution view Moroccan people like me. Then, I realized that it is a very detailed description of the situation of youth in Morocco.Based upon my research and experiences, it seems that the key to any positive change in Morocco is considering youth as a critical group. Young people must have more access to proper education and decision-making positions.   A 2012 report by the World Bank (No. 68731 –MOR entitled: Promoting Youth Opportunities and Participation, June 2012) stresses that education is an important factor in the economic development of young people and the economy of Morocco in general since youth constitute a majority of the population.The urgency of this topic is clear because, as the report mentions, youth exclusion lead to high-risk behaviors, which leads to higher unemployment rate and pressure on wages. The probably result shows the need to increase youth participation and involvement in good citizenship practices.The solution can be found in: 1- Promoting employability and maintaining the link with the labor market and entrepreneurship. 2- Enhancing participation of youth in the ‘programs’ and in designing youth policies, considering that the interventions adopt a sensitive gender and age categories approach. Another key is expanding the coverage of well-designed intervention to leave greater impact.Synergy must be created to maintain and strengthen good cross-sectoral cooperation. Critical need for youth inclusion in the quality of services and accountability is highly recommended. Youth participation must be recognized by giving allowance for their work. Their participation should be taken through institutional channels.Transition to employment is done through reforms in education partnership between public agencies, the government, and promoting training youth centers. Transition to citizenship is done through interventions such as increasing youth abilities to have ‘voice’ and helping them design their own programs. The key areas for intervention are :Promoting employment and entrepreneurship( through training + comprehensive programs…)Promoting active youth participation and citizenship ( providing support to youth-led organizations and initiatives + youth volunteering programs and services.)To be continued…© Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed read more

Haitis fragile electoral process shows gains UN says

With a significant number of voters and with candidates representing a broad range of political opinion gearing up for upcoming elections in Haiti, a credible vote is possible but the Transitional Government must take further measures to ensure success, a new United Nations report says. “Haiti is at a critical juncture,” UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan says in the report to the Security Council on the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). The security environment in Haiti has improved in recent months, with MINUSTAH helping the Haitian National Police to develop a reform plan aimed at enhancing professionalism and technical skills. But the report warns that the potential for a resurgence of violence remains and continued preparedness will be crucial, particularly during the electoral period. On the question of security for voting, the Secretary-General calls for outside assistance. “Given the possible increase in tensions during the next phase of the electoral process, a useful message of reassurance and deterrence could be provided if one or more Member States indicated their readiness to back up the capabilities of MINUSTAH through the deployment, if required, of an offshore presence during this period.” Meanwhile, to create a level playing field for the elections, it is vital that the Transitional Government take measures to make them inclusive and participatory. “It is essential to avoid any perception that the judicial process is being used in a way that could adversely affect political participation,” the report says. In this regard, the prolonged detention of former Prime Minister Yvon Neptune is widely perceived as symptomatic of political interference in the judicial system, it says. “In addition, the recent release of Louis Jodel Chamblain, second-in-command of the paramilitary group known as the Front révolutionnaire pour l’avancement et le progrès d’Haiti, convicted in absentia and sentenced for his involvement in various crimes in 1993 and 1994, tarnished the credibility of the justice system,” the report says. It is difficult to ensure that the political process is not tainted by two events: admitting candidates seen by the public as criminals, or closely linked to gangs, and not addressing the suspicion that electoral campaigns are being financed, at least in part, by funds of dubious origin. The report says that providing public financing to political parties would help reduce the latter risk. read more