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IRI and NDI Launch Women’s Campaign Training in Morocco

March 21, 2009

Rabat, Morocco – The Morocco offices of IRI and the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI) today launched a program to train women candidates for the June 2009 local elections to run strong campaigns and get elected to address the priority issues of Moroccan citizens.

The participation of women in the political process and elections is of great importance.  Through numerous initiatives, Morocco has continued to demonstrate its willingness to make women’s participation a priority.  The speech of His Majesty King Mohammed VI delivered at the opening of the fall 2008 parliamentary session emphasized the importance of a meaningful presence of women in municipal councils.

These efforts have led to a quota for a minimum of 12 percent of seats for women in the upcoming local elections and the mobilization of political actors, including the government, political parties and civil society to succeed in this challenge.

To support these efforts, IRI and NDI have joined to launch a new program that aims to reach a large number of women candidates in different regions and provinces across the Kingdom.  The IRI and NDI Women’s Campaign Training Program will help women who will potentially seek candidacy in the 2009 local elections to enhance their skills in public policy, messaging, voter outreach and getting out the vote.  Parties are actively seeking women candidates to meet the quota, and, consequently, this election is the first time many women will be running as candidates.  The training provided by IRI and NDI is intended to help these new candidates, as well as women who have run before, to succeed in the elections and serve as strong representatives of their communities.

To maximize impact, IRI and NDI have organized this effort geographically.  NDI, which has been working with its Moroccan partner association Women for Women (Les Femmes Pour Femmes) to prepare the training sessions, will conduct trainings in the southern region of Morocco.  IRI will be working with women in the north of the country.

“This is an historic opportunity for NDI and Femmes Pour Femmes to be able to assist women in Morocco” said NDI’s Resident Country Director, Felix Ulloa.  “NDI is very excited to be a part of helping these women to succeed in the elections.”

The program will consist of a combined 40 trainings, which will be held across the country, from large cities to remote areas.

“For most of the women running in this election, this will be their very first time as a candidate, and we are committed to ensuring that women are given the skills they need to succeed in the upcoming local elections,” said Jamie Tronnes, Resident Country Director for IRI Morocco.  “It is an honor to be able to work with so many talented Moroccan women as part of this project.”

The IRI and NDI Women’s Campaign Training Program is funded by the U.S. Department of State via its Middle East Partnership Initiative.

In welcoming the launch of this project, Robert P. Jackson, Chargé d'Affairs, a.i. at the Embassy of the United States of American in Rabat stated: "In many democracies, even my own at one time, opponents of women’s political participation argued that a 'woman’s place' was outside of the political sphere: at home, in selected jobs, but not as voters, and certainly not as elected representatives…  I hope that as women seize this opportunity, and make their voices heard, either as candidates or as voters, that if someone should ever ask if you know your place, you will say 'yes...my place is everywhere.'"

IRI and NDI are both non-profit and nonpartisan nongovernmental organizations that are dedicated to advancing democracy worldwide.