Democracy at the local level

Project description

Title: Strengthening citizen-centred local government
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Countries: Morocco
Lead executing agencies: Ministry of the Interior / Directorate-General for Local Communities  (DGCT)
Overall term: 2015 to 2021

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Context

Several reforms have taken place in Morocco over the past decade. Almost all of them have aimed to align services more closely with public demand and to tailor public administration services to citizens’ needs. This has even been the case in municipalities, where the resources available are limited. 

Efficiency, transparency and a focus on users are the principles of various Moroccan reform agendas, especially for municipal and local government. In-demand services, such changing residence or certifying documents, are still hampered by time-consuming processes and unclear responsibilities. Citizens are rarely involved in planning processes, and women and young people in particular are often excluded. In addition, information about administrative processes and proactive communication with the population is inadequate in many regions.

With the new 2011 constitution, responsibilities are gradually being decentralised to the regions, provinces and municipalities. In addition, citizens at all these levels are to be better involved in planning and political decision-making. Municipalities face high expectations and are looking for ways of improving municipal services, transparency and opportunities to participate. 

Objective

In the partner communities, services for citizens are more efficient, transparent and accessible. At the same time, participation processes are helping improve social cohesion.

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Approach

The project is an integral part of the work plan of the Directorate-General for Local Communities . It aims to develop good practices for pilot cities and municipalities that can be transferred to others in the country. 

One of the project’s three fields of action is improving the quality of municipal services. To achieve this, the project works together with political decision-makers and administrative staff from nine medium-sized cities, which are home to between 60,000 and 500,000 inhabitants. The aim is to improve the administrative processes of the services in most demand. Building on this, it is planned that citizens’ advice bureaus will be set up or expanded. In these centres, citizens receive advice and information about the services on offer and the administrative processes, and are also referred to the relevant departments. 

In the second field of action, the project improves communication with citizens, enhancing the transparency of local government work. In this context, the partner cities work together with non-governmental organisations, clubs and associations to develop communication strategies and complaint and suggestion management systems. Public relations work receives appropriate support via radio broadcasts, websites, newspapers and magazines.

In the third field of action, together with the partner municipalities, the project develops processes of citizen participation which it then implements. For example, strategies and measures are developed for rarely used public buildings and socio-cultural centres, or for maintaining green and public spaces. The project involves future users in both these instances. To ensure better use of public spaces, the project is supporting the partner municipalities in implementing 20 pilot projects. These increase the transparency of administrative procedures and political decision-making, and thus improve the quality of life in selected urban districts.

Results

Nearly 1,500 municipal stakeholders have been trained, including 500 women.

More than 1,600 citizens, representatives of non-governmental organisations, associations and clubs and private-sector actors have taken part in 31 civic participation campaigns. Of these, 30 per cent were women and 17 per cent were young people. 

Almost 100 civil society organisations with a focus on women and/or young people are involved in decision-making processes.

Around 1.3 million Moroccans are benefiting from the measures implemented by the project.

The project is helping improve satisfaction among inhabitants regarding municipal services, enhancing relations between local authorities and citizens and thus also strengthening confidence in state institutions.

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