“Political parties want to regain our trust. We demand access to information; this is the way for them to get back our trust,” said Houyam, a student from Al Akhawayn University. Through NDI’s Ajiw Tcharko, or Come Participate program, Houyam and his fellow students were able to express their demands through policy recommendations.
Last month, NDI held a graduation ceremony for students engaged in the Ajiw Tcharko program. This marked the end of multiple civic education sessions over a period of six weeks, during which 66 eager students, 71 percent of whom were women, engaged in a debate and discussion on key civic topics. At the graduation ceremony, students drafted and presented a series of recommendations to members of parliament and civil society activists, ranging from civic education to voting laws. Recommendations included:
- Amending the Elections Law and Political Party Law;
- Establishing election day as a public holiday to facilitate voting for the working population;
- Allowing for proxy voting for citizens who do not live near their registered residence to accommodate the mobile youth population;
- Making civic education a mandatory subject at high schools and universities and facilitating corresponding visits for students to public decision-making institutions;
- Requiring university students to undertake 2-month internships at civil society organizations; and
- Enhancing political parties’ transparency in platform design and candidate selection.
NDI invited the top 25 students in Ajiw Tcharko to present policy recommendations to the government spokesperson.
On May 22, a day before the graduation ceremony, NDI organized a session with members of the Moroccan parliament for the 25 top-performing Ajiw Tcharko students to deepen their knowledge of the legislative process. Following their graduation, students were able to consult with youth experts and bring their list of recommendations to parliamentarians, with a specific focus on enhancing youth participation in politics.
At the graduation ceremony, students were joined by Omar Belafrej, a member of parliament from the Democratic Left Federation, Lahoucine Harrich, a member of parliament from the Justice and Development Party, and Hatim Beggar, a member of the executive bureau of the Popular Movement party. The group was impressed with the level of discussion and the maturity of recommendations. “I am always happy to see youth engage in political discussion and involved in the development of their country and I am impressed by the quality of recommendations,” said Belafrej.
Students engaged in NDI’s Ajiw Tcharko program celebrated their achievements at their graduation ceremony.
As a part of the Ajiw Tcharko program, students from three universities, Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane (AUI), the Ecole Nationale de Commerce et de Gestion de Tanger (ENCG) and the International University of Rabat (UIR), took part in civic education sessions and a youth forum. Students engaged in NDI’s Ajiw Tcharko program celebrated their achievements at their graduation ceremony.
Before revealing their recommendations to members of parliament, students were able to gain feedback from prominent experts in youth activism, including Anouar Zyne, Aimane Cherragui and Rachid Rokbane. Experts spent a couple of hours with the students, helping them sharpen, structure and prepare their arguments. One of these experts, Aimane Cherragui, president of the civic platform Nouabook said:
I was impressed by the level of knowledge of the students; they are so aware and they know what they want.
NDI arranged for a panel of youth experts to assist students in refining and honing their policy recommendations.
Before Ajiw Tcharko, I knew nothing about politics. Now, I have absorbed so much information, I feel I have an immense background.
- Hiba El Mechatt, UIR student
In the coming months, students will compile a memorandum of the recommendations, which will be distributed to government officials, ministers and secretary of states, as well as members of parliament who have expressed interest in youth issues. NDI will also facilitate training and guidance to student groups on advocacy tools and strategies, equipping them with the tools to follow up with decision-makers and launch issue-based advocacy campaigns.
The Ajiw Tcharko program could not have been possible without the support of USAID.