The American delegation has recently returned from their program trip to Tunisia and Morocco, as a part of Professional Fellows Program (PFP).

In Morocco they visited different NGOs and Cooperatives as well as delivered trainings on project planning, proposal writing and capacity building in Rabat, Marrakech, Agadir and Taourirt. Even though the Moroccan program was very intensive, delegates enjoyed meeting with PFP Fellows and learning about their follow-on projects and how it changed their community’s life for better.

Arthur Cutler during the training on "Organizational Management, Strategic Planning and Resource Development” in the Bridges Center, Rabat.

Arthur Cutler during the training on “Organizational Management, Strategic Planning and Resource Development” in the Bridges Center, Rabat.

Jo Nelson recalls program: “It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The highlights of the trip were spending time with the actual recipients of the services created by the fellows–particularly the women’s cooperatives. The Moroccan NGOs have been able to do an amazing amount of work through volunteer efforts.”

Brooke Stedman also mentioned a visit to the Women’s Cooperative in Oudaya and the Women’s Argan Oil Cooperative in Agadir as highlights of the program.

“I found their work very inspiring and was grateful for the opportunity to give something back, whether it be through professional development training or financial support”.

Jo Nelson together with women-participants of follow-on Project “Show me the market place” , implemented by PFP fellow Sara Ait Mouh

Jo Nelson together with women-participants of “Show Me the Market Place”, a project implemented by PFP fellow Sara Ait Mouh

 

American delegates got a chance to experience Moroccan life in big cities and rural areas, learned about Moroccan NGOs needs and current problems they face. Brooke Stedman:

“In Morocco I realized there is a significant disparity in the needs of women to be empowered within their communities. These capacity-building needs ranged from learning how to read and write, to changing society’s preconceived notion of gender roles within society.

From what I gathered, these needs were based on the individual’s socio-economic status and level of education. I walked away realizing that any development or governance programs geared toward Moroccan women need to be individualized to fit the needs of the target community (i.e. going to rural areas to teach leadership training isn’t helpful if illiteracy rates are high and the sole concern is providing food for the family). I also learned that the needs of NGOs in Morocco were quite fundamental and with a few trainings/workshops on basic skills they would be able to make great progress in their work”. Arthur Cutler added: “I also learned more about the struggles of starting up a democracy in its infancy”.

American delegates meeting with over 80 women from Women’s Cooperative in Oudaya.

American delegates meeting with over 80 women from Women’s Cooperative in Oudaya.

It was true exchange of knowledge, experience and culture between Legacy, American delegates and PFP Fellows, Moroccan NGOs and people. We believe it will lead to successful cooperation and significant positive changes in the future.

The Professional Fellows Program (PFP) links community leaders from the United States and four countries in North Africa. It is a two-way citizen exchange program designed as a capacity-building and professional development initiative that serves civil society development in Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco. The program is for early- to mid-career professionals with strong leadership skills, who are committed to making a lasting positive impact through their work in the civil society (NGO) sector.