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Cablegate: Mepi Update for Morocco

VZCZCXRO1894
RR RUEHTRO
DE RUEHRB #1724/01 3121857
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 081857Z NOV 07
FM AMEMBASSY RABAT
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 7734
INFO RUEHCL/AMCONSUL CASABLANCA 3666
RUEHTU/AMEMBASSY TUNIS 9435
RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS 4581
RUEHTRO/AMEMBASSY TRIPOLI 0223
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO 2218
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT 0516

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 RABAT 001724

SIPDIS

STATE FOR NEA/FO-PATTON, NEA/MAG, NEA/PI AND DRL/NESCA

SIPDIS

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

REF: A) Rabat 0399, B) 06 Rabat 2509

1. Summary: This cable highlights MEPI programs and initiatives in
Morocco from July 1-September 30. A large MEPI grant (USD 450,000)
made possible the first international observer mission in the
history of Moroccan elections. Other activities included an
election survey by Akhawayn University and visits by representatives
from MEPI's Regional Office in Tunis, and a congressional staffer.
Highlights from existing programs included activities by the
Advancing Learning and Employability for a Better Future (ALEF)
literacy project, MEPI Alumni Network, International Research and
Exchanges Board (IREX), American Bar Association (ABA), Financial
Services Volunteer Corps (FSVC), Moroccan Center for Civic Education
(MCCE) and MEPI Youth Summer Leadership Institute. Implementers are
partnering with local NGOs at the grassroots level to support
numerous programs committed to reform in the four MEPI pillars. End
Summary.

------------------
ELECTION OBSERVERS
------------------

2. MEPI funding of USD 450,000 made possible a significant
pre-election assessment by a congressional staff delegation in early
September, followed by the participation of a 45-member
international elections observer mission. Coordinated by the
National Democratic Institute (NDI), this landmark effort was the
first time in history foreign observers had been invited to watch
Moroccan elections. The mission concluded that the elections were
conducted transparently, free from systematic fraud or widespread
irregularities.

---------------
ELECTION SURVEY
---------------

3. In the weeks before the September parliamentary elections, a
MEPI small grant funded a public opinion survey conducted by
students of Akhawayn University, supervised by faculty, which
quantified attitudes toward electoral participation in sample urban
and rural areas. The survey results corroborated anecdotal findings
about public ambivalence toward political parties and detachment
from the political system.

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

4. MEPI's Tunis Regional Officer Deputy Director Kirk Wolcott and
Grants Financial Analyst Nadim Kourda visited Rabat on September
10-13 to conduct monitoring site visits. They discussed programming
issues with MCCE, ABA, NDI, MTDS-Tanmia, and hosted a reception for
steering committee members of the MEPI Alumni Network. Kourda
performed monitoring activities at the Association Action Jeunesse,
Joussour and MTDS-Tanmia. The Tunis visitors also visited Al
Akhawayn University, an ALEF literacy site near Casablanca and
Tanmia's Community Access Center in Sale. They also provided
training on MEPI issues for new emboffs as well as discussed ways to
improve coordination efforts in MEPI programs.

5. Congressional staffer Michael Phelan from the Senate Foreign
Relations Committee visited Morocco from September 2-12. Initially,
he participated as a member of MEPI-funded international
pre-election assessment and election-day observation team. Then,
Phelan spent his last three days discussing USG assistance programs,
including MEPI, with emboffs and representatives from the Prime
Minister's office and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

---------------------
ALEF LITERACY PROJECT
---------------------

6. The ALEF Project had numerous activities within its MEPI literacy
portfolio, most of which involved the start of close-out efforts,
anticipating the program's end in early 2008. ALEF worked with
consultants, the State Secretariat for Literacy and Non-formal
Education (SSLNE) and several implementing partner associations to
finalize its trainer guides and learning manuals. The SSLNE was
very impressed with the program and will adopt its teaching
techniques in its ongoing work, representing a large vote of
confidence for the ALEF Project. Test data from ALEF students
consistently showed significantly better levels of literacy
acquisition and retention. The Director of the Regional Education
and Training Academy for Casablanca has officially requested that
ALEF help him to adopt the pilot program for use with about 24,000

RABAT 00001724 002 OF 003


women and men who will be participating in the Academy's new
literacy initiative.

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

7. The MEPI Alumni Network in Morocco was officially launched on
July 13 at a gathering of more than one hundred MEPI alumni from
businesses, NGOs, political parties and development associations.
Ambassador Riley spoke at the event. The goal of the network is to
support MEPI alumni in their efforts continue to promote reform in
Morocco. During the quarter, the network organized workshops for
MEPI alumni members that discussed grant writing, job hunting,
stress management, and marketing. Each workshop was attended by
20-25 participants.

-----------------------------------------
MARKET RESEARCH SURVEY FOR MOROCCAN MEDIA
-----------------------------------------

8. On July 16-17, IREX hosted a meeting for independent media
organizations to discuss the findings of a market research survey it
financed to help Moroccan media companies better understand and
identify target audiences. The goal was to provide data on
audiences and markets to media outlets, advertising agencies and
advertisers; and to train these groups in the use of market research
to better understand and respond to their audiences and advertisers.


---------------------------
WORKSHOP OF JUDICIAL ETHICS
---------------------------

9. ABA's MEPI-funded Legal and Judicial Development Project
orchestrated the participation of six members of the Moroccan
National Judges' Association to attend a regional meeting of judges
in Algeria. The gathering focused on Algeria's recent success in
adopting a charter of judicial ethics and Morocco's steps to realize
a similar judicial ethics charter. ABA convened a meeting of judges
from Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia, during which the participants
raised, for the first time, the suggestion of forming a Maghreb-wide
judges' association. ABA considered this development to be a
significant step forward in sharing experience among judges of the
region and for helping the respective judges' associations assume
increased institutional effectiveness and influence.

------------------------------------------
WOMEN'S RIGHTS JUDICIAL CURRICULUM PROJECT
------------------------------------------

10. During the quarter, ABA and the Institut Superieur de la
Magistrature, finalized the e-learning judge training modules of the
MEPI-funded Women's Rights Judicial Curriculum Project. Judges in
Rabat and Marrakech tested the computer-based teaching modules. The
judges were impressed with this new learning technique. Even those
with little computer experience found them to be easy to navigate.
Morocco's innovative e-learning judicial curriculum will be shared
with judicial counterparts in Algeria, Bahrain and Jordan during the
next few months

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

11. In July, FSVC organized a workshop for Bank Al-Maghrib (BAM)
supervisory staff on international accounting standards (IAS) issues
for financial securities. The volunteers advised BAM supervisory
staff on accounting methodology to classify and value securities
portfolios under the International Financial Reporting Standards,
which is being applied by BAM to the banking sector. The advice
supported BAM's formal accounting guidance governing bank portfolio
valuation, and application of IAS, now a regulatory requirement by
BAM. IAS implementation seeks to bring Moroccan accounting
practices into line with international standards and improve
transparency. FSVC also provided similar bank regulatory accounting
oriented training to the Chartered Accountants Association, whose
membership is responsible for auditing bank accounts.

----------------------------------------
THE MOROCCAN CENTER FOR CIVIC EDUCATION
---------------------------------------

12. MCCE organized the third Project Citizen pre-service Summer
Institute from August 28-September 1. The institute involved 22

RABAT 00001724 003 OF 003


recent graduates of teacher training institutes who have just been
placed by the Ministry of Education (MOE) in middle and high schools
throughout Morocco, and six university students who are actively
engaged with youth NGOs. The workshop featured training sessions in
Project Citizen concepts and presentations by MOE officials and
Emily Higgs, Program Coordinator at the Center for Civic Education
in Washington D.C. The event has attracted much media attention
despite coinciding with the parliamentary elections.

--------------------------------------
MEPI YOUTH SUMMER LEADERSHIP INSTITUTE
--------------------------------------

13. Eight Moroccans traveled to the U.S. to participate in a
six-week leadership training program for undergraduate students --
the MPI Youth Summer Leadership Institute. They each cme from
underprivileged families and had proven eadership skills. The
Institute consisted of ledership training workshops, academic
sessions, site visits, community service projects, optional home
stays, cultural activities and other opportunities for interaction
with Americans peers. The program ran July 5-August 19 and included
a two-day orientation in Washington D.C., a four-week academic
residency program at a U.S. university or college, and a two-week
eductional study tour to other regions of the U.S. There will be
follow-on activities of this program, with a MEPI grant to be
awarded to the student with the best design of a community
assistance project.

14. A detailed description of MEPI programs in Morocco can be found
on the Mission unclassified internet web page at www.usembassy.ma.

JACKSON

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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