The beginning of a beautiful friendship: EDC partners with CARE in Morocco

Within my first week of arriving to the North African breeze of Morocco, I realized how motivated and eager CARE International Morocco (CIM) is to have me hit the ground running. As part of the Export Development Canada (EDC) and CARE Canada partnership, “Beyond Exports”, four employees are deployed every year to a Care International Country Office to provide technical support during a four month period. I was fortunate enough to be selected as one of the EDC-CARE cohorts, and soon after, I shipped my knowledge and expertise to Casablanca, Morocco.

Within the first three days I met the Board of Administration of CIM and sat in on the semi-annual board meeting which provided me with a synergetic look at the inner workings of an International NGO (Non-Governmental organization) like CARE. As an economist at EDC, with experience only private sector environments, I see the potential for the very close partnership between NGOs and the private sector. The Board Members bring a corporate knowledge and technical expertise to CIM that complements the organization’s strengths of truly understanding the needs on the grounds and how to meet them. Both see the world from a different angle but with the same aim. The Board of Directors and CIM are mandated to work towards ending poverty in Morocco while ensuring the financial sustainability of CIM. Not a small feat.

Skip to day 7. I was audience to a momentous convention signing at the Salon National de l’Économie Social et Solidarité (National Economic and Social Solidarity meeting). On October 17 2015, six NGOs were selected, including CIM, to sign a convention with the Honourable Minister Ms. Fatema Marouane, the Minister of Crafts, Social Economy and Solidarity. The signing between Mr. Ismail Douiri, the President of Board of Administration of CIM, and the Ministry was tantamount to providing CIM national credibility and to secure the organization’s mandate of working in partnership with the government to provide better sustainable quality services to the public. As one CIM Director put I,t “Sustainability of initiated actions through synergy of opportunities and linkages with governmental action plans are key to enabling the target population to keep going and extend the project length. We hope this convention provides a framework that enables this approach.”

Partnerships are at the core of CARE’s mandate. At CIM, the emphasis of finding and working with the best partners to fight global poverty is at the base of its strategy. The official partnership between the Minister of Crafts, Social Economy and Solidarity will not only provide a wider audience and increased visibility to CIM’s projects in Morocco, but it will also increase the amount of tools and resources available to the women and their families that benefit from projects such as village savings and loans associations (VSLAs), in the region of Meknes and Oriental. It is in collaboration with associations and partners on the ground, such as REMESS – a principal partner on the VSLA project – that women are provided with the means, but also the confidence to achieve economic independence. At the root of these partnerships, as I have witnessed, is a deep sense of respect and commitment to the cause. With partners like CIM, the Ministry and REMESS, each CARE project and action counts in improving education, health, and gender equality challenges within Morocco. In the end, one cannot do it alone.

I want to thank the team at CIM and CARE Canada for allowing me this opportunity. I would also like to thank CIM Project Manager Brahim Ait Sri, REMESS Coordinate Mr. Mohamed Salhi and the field team for allowing me to see first-hand the projects on the ground and the women they are impacting. I look forward to my partnership with CIM and Morocco, and to the friendships that are building.

Andrea Gardella
Export Development Canada (EDC)

Learn more about corporate partnership opportunities with CARE Canada.