Merhaba – Welcome to Morocco!

Project description

Title: Strengthening Selected Municipalities in the Management of Migration
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Morocco
Lead executing agency: Ministry delegate to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, in charge of Moroccan Expatriates and Migration Affairs
Overall term: 2015 to 2018

Context

Over the last 20 years, Morocco has increasingly become a transit and host country for migrants and refugees. In view of this, King Mohammed VI initiated a comprehensive draft policy on migration and asylum. On that basis the Government adopted the National Strategy on Immigration and Asylum in 2014, which sets out measures to integrate migrants and refugees in Morocco.

Appropriate economic, cultural and social conditions are required in order to carry out measures at the local level. Integration projects designed to strengthen social cohesion between the Moroccan and migrant populations are being implemented in order to systematically prevent social conflict.

An increasing number of Moroccans are returning from abroad. Moroccan families who have lived in Spain for many years, for example, face numerous integration challenges. These include inadequate language skills and difficulty accessing the labour market.

Objective

The first steps to developing a Moroccan welcoming culture for migrants and refugees and returning Moroccan nationals have been successful. Municipalities are working independently with civil society to plan and implement integration projects, such as intercultural programmes to mark International Migrants Day.

Approach

Merhaba – Welcome to Morocco! With this slogan, GIZ is helping a total of ten municipalities across the country on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) to take the first steps to develop a Moroccan welcoming culture. The project raises awareness among municipal stakeholders of the issues of integration, reintegration and the needs of migrants. New arrivals, for example, need language courses, professional training or legal advice. In addition to migrants and refugees, the measures also integrate returning Moroccan nationals.

The municipalities require special support in their integration efforts. The project assists local governments and organisations with developing and expanding professional and intercultural skills. It strengthens the capacity of municipal stakeholders to integrate migrants and refugees more effectively into local life. Municipal staff are given training, for example, in cultural cooperation, conflict-preventive integration work and measures to combat racism.

The project encourages local governments to build networks with partners at the national and international level with proven valuable experience in the field of integration. On study tours to Germany, Moroccan local government officials learn about successful initiatives which they can subsequently implement in Morocco.

Results

The project supports Moroccan partners in creating an atmosphere of mutual acceptance and dialogue with a view to improving the local integration of migrants, refugees and returning Moroccan nationals. Around 50 local government officials from the ten partner municipalities are being trained in integration and reintegration. They are broadening their knowledge of international migration policy and the importance of international networks, and familiarising themselves with examples of successful integration.

Pilot projects to improve integration of migrants are being developed in participatory planning workshops with municipal stakeholders. The municipality of Oujda, for example, is receiving support in creating a municipal development plan. This strategy document sets out priority measures which the municipality intends to implement between 2017 and 2022. The objective is to mainstream the issue of integration within the plan and to implement it as part of the strategy plan. This ensures that planned actions are focused at all times not only on the local population but also on migrants, refugees and returning Moroccans.

International network-building has begun with the establishment of the Integration Strategy Group. During three working sessions in Germany, 20 Moroccan, Turkish and German decision-makers from the political sphere, civil society, media and business discussed various integration concepts and formulated policy recommendations. The results were presented at an international conference in Rabat with over 80 participants.