Intercultural relations between young migrants and Moroccans experienced through a video lens
There are many tensions between Moroccans and Sub-Saharan migrants. In 2012 and with the support of the Swiss Embassy, SFCG Morocco created an innovative intercultural project using multimedia as a tool to enhance intercultural relations.
The 2012 Innovative Intercultural Awards from the UN Alliance of Civilizations and BMW Group were given to ten finalists from over 500 international candidates. SFCG Morocco was one of the ten finalists to receive the award for innovation and for encouraging dialogue and cooperation among people from different cultural backgrounds using unique and creative methods.
As a finalist, SFCG Morocco becomes a member of the “World Intercultural Facility for Innovation” (WIFI). The WIFI, a program initiated by the UNAOC in cooperation with the BMW Group, will help winners to become more efficient and to expand, as well as enable their transfer to other contexts or settings where they might be relevant. The top five will benefit from one-year support and consulting from the UNAOC and the BMW Group. SFCG Morocco attended the Award Ceremony, which also featured honored guests UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and tenor Placido Domingo, in Vienna on the 26th February 2013.
Accepting the Award on February 26th in Vienna
To learn more about this project, including links to many of the videos, click here.
Increasing Civic Participation among Marginalized Urban Youth in Morocco
SFCG promotes civic participation of young people and strengthens their constructive participation in local governance. Young people can realize their sense of civic responsibility, conduct dialogue processes, make positive changes in their own neighborhoods, and inspire other young people to engage civically through competitions, online social media, and through the radio and television.
This two year project, funded by USAID, started in September 2012 with the involvement of partner organizations in six Moroccan cities:
- Association Chouala pour l’Education et la Culture in Casablanca;
- Organisation Marocaine de l’Enfance et la Jeunesse (OMEJ) Meknès;
- Association Initiatives de Développement Humain (AIDH) Marrakech ;
- Association des jeunes méditerranéens pour le développement du Rif (AJMDR Jeunesmed), Al Hoceima;
- Raid Souss pour le Développement, Agadir.
In total, 150 youth (twenty-five per city and ranging in age from 18-30 years old) establish 6 youth councils, who, alongside policy makers and elected officials, will benefit from a program of intense training in alternative methods of conflict resolution, social entrepreneurship, and citizenship.
They choose five local governance issues that are priorities for youth, and then work in a democratic and transparent manner to participate in Round Table debates, with local decision-makers to achieve tangible results of change in their communities.
Alternative Dispute Resolution and Mediation in Morocco: Merging Islamic and Contemporary Approaches
This SFCG project is working to promote a culture of constructive conflict resolution, which combines the alternative methods of dispute resolution and mediation with tradition aspects that are inspired by Islam.
This project is supported by the Norwegian Embassy in Morocco and is in partnership with Rabita Al Mohammada of Oulemas, an institution mandated in Morocco to interpret the Islamic Charia and to spread values of tolerance, respect and moderation. These values are intrinsic to the Islamic message, as well as to the partnership with the Ministry of Justice.
In order to prevent cultural violence, to increase understanding and better appreciate the potential to constructively resolve conflicts through alternative approaches, particularly mediation, this project links conceptual research with capacity strengthening of individuals and organizations in Morocco.
First, expert researchers will analyze possibilities to synchronize the conceptual plurality of conflict resolution methods in contemporary and Islamic understandings in Morocco. Next, a nation-wide debate will discuss possibilities and recommendations, as well as share ideas on how to institutionalize mediation in Morocco. SFCG and the Rabita Mohammadia of Oulemas organize training sessions regarding alternative methods of conflict resolution and mediation, in order to strengthen capacities of individuals, civil society and local communities in this field. The results of this project will be presented in Tunisia in order to explore avenues of future institutional cooperation.
Multimedia & Intercultural Relations
In 2012, SFCG Morocco trained 100 youth, 50 Moroccans and 50 sub-Saharan migrants in video techniques and how to produce short films during six cycles of multimedia in Rabat and Casablanca. These young people learn and work together to discovering and respecting each other. They discuss aspects of intercultural relations, and to counter stereotypes and intolerance, they produced over one hundred short films with positive messages of sharing and mutual respect. These films are available on the Internet, projected at local and national festivals and were submitted to international competitions.
Through this project, SFCG is contributing to creating spaces for dialogue on intercultural relations, as well as disseminating communication tools and strengthening the leadership capacities of youth, migrants and Moroccans alike. This project received the 2013 Innovative Intercultural Award by the United Nations Alliance of Civilisations.
Conflict Transformation in the Penitentiary System
Search for Common Ground is working in partnership with the Mohamed VI Foundation for the Rehabilitation of Detainees and the General Delegation of the Penitentiary Administration to reduce levels of conflict in prisons throughout Morocco, and encourage constructive approaches to conflict resolution. SFCG-M and its partners will train prison staff and detainees in the techniques and mechanisms of conflict management and resolution, including mediation and negotiation. The program also aims at improving the detainees’ ability to manage conflicts and disputes following their release, which should reduce levels of recidivism.
The Moroccan government has made efforts to improve the prison conditions in Morocco, but a recent report by the Moroccan Observatory of Prisons (OMP) stated that prisons remain overcrowded, prone to violence, and fail to meet international norms. Prison mates are vulnerable to poor sanitation and living conditions, and are prone to co-option into radical thinking. According to some reports, recidivism rates are as high as 50% to 64% depending on the prison and region. With the intent to reduce levels of violence in prisons and to counter radical militant recruitment by establishing a culture of conflict resolution within Morocco’s penitentiary system, Search for Common Ground Morocco (SFCG-M), in partnership with the la Fondation Mohamed VI pour la Réinsertion des Détenus (King Mohamed VI Foundation) and the General Direction of the Prisons Administration and Reinsertion (DGAPR), has just launched a project which will:
provide conflict management training to prison staff throughout Morocco;
conduct a Training of Trainers (ToT) for key prison staff;
provide conflict transformation training for prisoners throughout Morocco; and
conduct a training retreat for prison directors.