29 October 2018

School of Democracy: Engaging with Politics, Report of the first training

« The School of Democracy : Engaging with Politics » is a series of trainings  aiming to inspire young adults to engage in a dialogue with politics, with civil society and with each other. They are intended for young adults who are interested in political and socio-economic issues from a democratic perspective and include topics such as the role of the state, society and individual in the country.

Gathering a panel of trainers from different and even opposite backgrounds, it manages to provide the participants with an authentic representation of the main ideologies forming the political landscape of today.

This year’s first training was the result of a fruitful collaboration between NIMAR, the EFF (Eduardo Frei Foundation) the political foundation of the CDA (the Christian-democratic party in the Netherlands), the political foundation of the Dutch Liberal Democrats (VVD), and the think tank of the Green Left Party, De Helling.

The VVD represented by International Officer Gijs Houben collaborates with an international network of liberal parties providing capacity trainings, party structure trainings and are very happy to be part of the School of Democray conducted to motivate youth on how to be politically active.

During 3 days socially active young people from all over Morocco dived into the political system seeking meaning, explanation and a position in it. They worked on identifying challenges that form the adversity that youngsters and elders face in the North African kingdom, and were introduced to different techniques of problem solving.

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Rick Nederend from the VVD was pleased by the energy of the group :

 « The impression I got from the first weekend was very positive. The participants are not only good in what they do, and what they think and how they think, but also good with each other and I believe that it is a very important element in a training. The main strengh of this group is the respect the participants have for one another and I am very pleased to interact with them »

Indeed the participants were selected through a rigorous application process administrated by the NIMAR (Netherlands Institute in Morocco).

Klaas Valkering from the CDJA (the youth organisation of the Christian-democratic party in the Netherlands)  describes the participants as enthusiastic, highly educated and motivated. But he also perceives their way of viewing politics as « sarcastic » and looks forward to change that during the next weekends.

« We can’t change Moroccan politics, but we can maybe point out that politics in the Nederlands have many faults as well and that there are still little light bulbs in the Moroccan system that they can seek. »

The interest some participants showed towards environmental issues was very vivid.  Lisanne Boersma, Project Officer at Bureau De Helling had an interesting exchange with them on green politics and how the green party in the Nederlands and Moroccan parties and organizations work on those issues.

« I’m really happy to see that many people are concerned with climate change and environemental issues. People are also very open to hear and learn from each other. During the walk we did today around Rabat I noticed that they were all interested in one another and I’m really looking forward to the rest of this training »

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Hicham, a 20 year old participant and advocate for clean oceans and the protection of life below water, describes his experience at the Nimar as enriching and structured.

« Hearing stories from inspiring trainers who were involved in democratic processes from an early age demolished the stereotype I always had in mind about old careless people in the Parliament. Being introduced to political theories in such an interactive way was also on of the highlights of this first weekend. »

The next training session will take place from 2 - 4 November 2018.