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Cablegate: Mepi Update for Morocco

VZCZCXRO4116
RR RUEHTRO
DE RUEHRB #0434/01 1351314
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 141314Z MAY 08
FM AMEMBASSY RABAT
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 8567
INFO RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS 4785
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO 2365
RUEHTRO/AMEMBASSY TRIPOLI 0311
RUEHTU/AMEMBASSY TUNIS 9623
RUEHCL/AMCONSUL CASABLANCA 4086

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 RABAT 000434

SIPDIS

STATE FOR NEA ? DAS PATTON, NEA/PI, AND NEA/MAG
TUNIS FOR MEPI OFFICE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID ECON PGOV SCUL EFIN KMPI MO
SUBJECT: MEPI UPDATE FOR MOROCCO

REF: 07 Rabat 1724

1. Summary: This cable highlights MEPI programs and
initiatives in Morocco from January 1-March 31.
During the quarter, NEA DAS Kent Patton visited
Morocco and post approved a new local grant proposal.
Highlights from existing programs include activities
by the Advancing Learning and Employability for a
Better Future (ALEF) literacy project, the American
Bar Association (ABA), the MEPI Alumni Network, the
MEPI Student Leaders program, the Moroccan Center for
Civic Education (MCCE), the Economic Justice Regional
Program, and the Financial Services Volunteer Corps
(FSVC). Implementers are partnering with local NGOs
at the grassroots level to support numerous programs
committed to reform in the four MEPI pillars. End
Summary.

-------------
MEPI VISITORS
-------------

2. NEA?s DAS Kent Patton visited Morocco January 16-
19 with the Director of MEPI Regional Office in Tunis
Peter Mulrean. The two visitors had a wide-ranging
meeting with the MFA?s Director of Bilateral Affairs
Youssef Amrani; reviewed election results with
political party leaders, MEPI implementers and civil
society members; discussed the issue of press freedom
with prominent journalists and met with members of the
Moroccan MEPI Alumni Network. They also met with
emboffs to discuss the new Democracy Working
Group/Goal Team program and ways of improving
efficiency of MEPI programs

3. MEPI Washington sent two monitors from Management
Systems International to Morocco March 9-April 10 to
evaluate the effectiveness of the MEPI program. The
monitors evaluated 15 separate projects and met with
local implementers, the Ambassador, DCM and numerous
emboffs to review lessons learned and best practices
of Morocco?s MEPI projects over the past four years.
While the evaluation was generally quite positive, it
was important to learn from projects that did not meet
expectations. Increased communication with post,
improved coordination between Washington and post, and
utilizing post?s knowledge of local conditions were
among the elements identified as helping raise the
level of effectiveness of MEPI programming in the past
year. The visit highlighted Arab Civitas as worthy of
additional funding.

--------------------
NEW MEPI SMALL GRANT
--------------------

4. In March, post approved a new MEPI local grant to
Association Action Jeunesse (2AJ). The USD 19,790
grant continues 2AJ?s highly successful project to
raise awareness about the democratic process by
holding student elections in five local schools,
organizing democracy round tables, and planning music
festivals and sports tournaments to attract large
numbers of young people to expose them to the idea of
participating in the democratic process.

-------------
ALEF LITERACY
-------------

5. An evaluation of the ALEF literacy training
program?s initial results by the GOM?s Literacy Agency
(Direction pour la Lutte Contre l?Analphabetisation -
DLCA) was very positive and recommended the adoption,
on a national basis, of the materials and methods
developed in partnership with the USAID ALEF Project
supported with MEPI funding. In total, 8,130 women
completed training through this program. In addition,
230 literacy teachers and supervisors were trained to
develop and apply texts to inform women on human
rights and the Moroccan Family Code, and to integrate
the concepts of autonomy into literacy programs.

--------------
ABA ACTIVITIES
--------------

RABAT 00000434 002 OF 003

6. During the quarter, ABA organized the second of a
series of three roundtables designed to solicit the
views of the country?s judges regarding the adoption
and the substance of a national charter of ethics.
This roundtable was attended by more than 200 judges.
The discussions were led by panelists from key
judicial institutions including the National Judicial
Training Center (Institute Superieur de la
Magistrature), the High Judicial Council (Conseil
Superieur de la Magistrature) and the Ministry of
Justice. The goal of these roundtables is to prepare
for the adoption by the Independent Judges Association
(Hassania) of a national charter of ethics.

7. ABA also organized three events designed to
strengthen the Hassania. In January, ABA organized a
retreat for the 24 board members of the Hassania in
Marrakech to enable them finalize the strategic plan
that they had previously started with ABA?s
assistance. In February, ABA convened a day long
training for the Hassania leaders on advocacy skills
to help them promote the charter of ethics to other
judges and to judicial institutions. Finally, the
ABA organized a five-day study to the Netherlands,
where the Hassania leadership met with members of the
Netherlands Judges and Prosecutors Association (NVvR)
and participated in a series of working sessions with
various other Dutch judicial and legal organizations.
These sessions dealt with topics such as judicial
ethics, independence, internal organization and
communication, fund raising, and international
cooperation. As a result of the study tour, the
Hassania has signed an agreement of cooperation with
the NVvR.

------------------------------
MEPI ALUMNI NETWORK ACTIVITIES
------------------------------

8. The MEPI Alumni Regional Summit was held in
Jordan, on February 13-14. The summit attracted over
250 MEPI alumni from 15 different countries in
addition to experts and professionals in the fields of
civic and economic reforms. The Moroccan delegation
members presented five panel discussions including the
topics of: Podcasting: An Effective Way to Reach Out
to and Engage Young People, The Independent Press and
its Role in Expanding the Margins of Public Freedom
and Fighting Extremism, and the Dangers of
Democracies Without Citizen's Involvement: Analysis
and Perspectives. They also led three working groups,
among which the Women?s Economic Empowerment working
group was awarded a MEPI grant to be implemented in
Morocco.

-------------------------------
MEPI STUDENTS GATHER IN MOROCCO
-------------------------------

9. Nearly 100 students gathered for a conference in
Marrakech from February 4?8, to discuss civic activism
and mobilization, grant writing, fundraising, and
media campaigns. The students were 2007 alumni of
MEPI?s Student Leaders Program, representing 15 Middle
Eastern and North African countries and territories.
Participants had the opportunity to hear from the DCM
and PAO and to meet their American peers, engage in
local community and service activities, and learn
about the United States. The MEPI Student Leaders
Program is an intensive six-week course for students
from the Middle East and North Africa to develop
leadership skills and expand their understanding of
American civil society and democracy.

-------------
MCCE PROJECTS
-------------

10. A number of training sessions in the Project
Citizen and Foundations of Democracy projects took
place across Morocco. In addition to the workshops,
the MCCE has been approached by many institutions,
schools and universities, NGOs, and teacher training
institutes to present its experience in dealing with
Project Citizen and Foundation of Democracy curriculum

RABAT 00000434 003 OF 003


whose main goals are to educate younger generations to
become responsible, effective and active citizens
committed to democratic principles. Hundreds of
student groups have been working on community issues
such as lack of adequate infrastructure, dropping out
of school, sanitation and drug abuse. They have
researched the problems, evaluated the existing public
policies and proposed alternative solutions that they
will present in May and June 2008.

---------------------------------
ECONOMIC JUSTICE REGIONAL PROGRAM
---------------------------------

11. In March, the Solidarity Center met with the
Democratic Confederation of Labor (CDT) to discuss a
Plan of Action for the Moroccan portion of a Regional
MEPI grant on Economic Justice. During this meeting,
the CDT and the Solidarity Center worked to identify a
region and an industrial sector in which to initiate
the project. CDT representatives from around the
country attended the meeting and provided input on
where and how best to implement the project which
would concentrate on encouraging active participation
of current union members and increasing membership in
the future. While the MEPI project will be localized
in one region, the long-term goal would use the Plan
of Action developed in this project to repeat the
process around the country. The project is currently
slated to continue until July 2009 in Morocco and
December 2009 for the region.

-------------
FSVC PROJECTS
-------------

12. In January 2008, FSVC organized a seminar for
Bank Al-Maghrib (BAM) Banking Supervision Department
examiners to help them assess current liquidity and
interest rate risk measurement and analysis tools, and
to recommend improvements. This event also included
discussion on supervision methods, as well as U.S.
regulatory agencies proposed guidance on liquidity
risk management. Federal Deposit Insurance
Corporation (FDIC) Volunteers advice helped BAM
advance its ongoing reforms for quantitative
management assessments for liquidity.

13. In February, FSVC assisted USAID implementer
Development Alternatives, Inc. (DAI) in developing key
lender support for market-oriented registry reporting,
by enabling exchanges with major lenders to develop
benchmarks. FSVC organized two roundtables in
collaboration with DAI for senior financial sector
managers.

14. A detailed description of MEPI programs in
Morocco can be found on the Mission unclassified
Internet Web site at www.usembassy.ma.

RILEY

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