With most of its 33 million citizens under age 30, Morocco’s growth depends directly on its youth. This message resonates throughout the California-sized country, but especially among its government: National policies now put youth at their center, and the new National Youth Strategy aims to increase youth participation across the economic and political spheres.
The focal point of these efforts is the Ministry of Youth and Sport. In 2015, through World Bank funding, it launched the Microenterprise Project for Disadvantaged Youth–an ambitious new campaign to deliver small business training to more than 5,000 young men and women. Targeting at-risk 18 to 30 year-olds across the country, the project responds to the urgent need for entrepreneurship support among the growing numbers of youth who haven’t finished school.
Services for participants are provided by 14 “Master Associations”, which deliver training and mentoring to youth for 18 to 24 months—offering key support at a crucial juncture. However, many associations are in remote locations and have little daily contact with Ministry staff. As a result, gathering good data on young Moroccans’ training needs—and sharing information in real time–has been a challenge.
Now that reality is changing: This month, the Ministry of Youth and Sport launched the country’s first-ever national youth database platform, designed and built by international development implementer MSI and Souktel. The custom-designed platform lets Ministry staff track youth center visits and service use, through interactive dashboards. It also lets the Ministry and partners send news alerts to thousands of young Moroccans’ cell phones.
The result—for the first time ever–is a clear feedback loop that helps the government plan resource allocation in real time: By the end of 2016, the Ministry aims to deliver better training programs and more targeted support to the 5,000-plus participants, thanks to data collected through the platform.
Michael Buret, MSI’s Morocco Country Director, sees significant potential ahead: “Today, the launch of this monitoring and evaluation platform has reached its final stage: The system is now accessible to 118 partner organization staff across Morocco. Going forward, we see a huge range of possibilities for this platform in the field”.
Mahmoud Shayeb, Souktel’s COO, added: “This was an exciting opportunity for our team. Developing a nation-wide platform from the ground up was a huge initiative, but well worth the time and effort: By working directly with MSI and the Ministry, we were able to build everything to meet users’ exact needs. The end result is a platform that’s scalable, sustainable, and isn’t going to sit on the shelf: Across the country, youth and Ministry staff feel ownership over the product, because they led the design process”.