GETTING TO KNOW CIVIL SOCIETY IN BOUJDOUR

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

I first saw the operations of civil society agents of Boujdour Province at the workshop room at the Associative Space, where the INDH training started on Tuesday. Wednesday was the second day of the first training session, which was organized by Boujdour Province within the framework of INDH and in implementation of the Provincial plan of Trainings for the Year of 2012, for the benefit of local associations and coops. This first training session was lead by Mohammed Mustapha Ben Daoud, a member of Expert’ Networks of INDH. There were two groups each one at a room. For the first training session, I attended with the group Animated by Mr. Mustapha Ben Daoud.

Mr. Mohammed Ouhmidou, the president of Social Action Division “ DAS” stated that this first training session was under the title “ The Financial Management of Associations and Coops” taking into consideration a series of remarks presented by the committee of monitoring the financial reports of the Associations and Coops.  These remarks emphasized that local associations and coops should be learn the proper form to write financial reports correctly.

After Mr. Ouhmido’s words, Mr. Ben Daoud asked the participants, “What do you want to get from this workshop, what are your goals?” After a while of brainstorming, it became clear that the general objective is the development of participants’ administrative and associative capacities/competences. He quoted Elmahdi Elmanjra, the great Moroccan scholar and said: “Development will not be achieved only when science becomes culture.”

The workshop’s activities came out of the brainstorming and answers to the following questions:

  • – What is a coop?
  • – What is an association?
  • – Why do we need to found/ create a coop/association?
  • – How to guarantee a successful participatory work between the members of association/coop?

Mr.. Ben Daoud also explained the hierarchical structure of the coop associations, which is as follows:

  1. 1) The General Assembly
  2. 2) Board Members, which includes the president, general secretary, and the treasurer
  3. 3) The administration for better management through planning, organization, orientation and monitoring, including a discussion of the two types of administrative management: passive and positive.

The trainer showed examples of administrative documents and their classification, including: general administrative documents, administrative documents for notification, administrative documents for demonstration, administrative documents for local authorities.

Each day of the training concludes with a learned lesson. Today’s was “Change your tools/means when things don’t go right, and bear in mind that means are changed according to the situation, time place and people.”

Thursday, November 29, 2012

It was the third day of the first training session. At the beginning, Mr. Ben Daoud had mentioned many theoretical notions about financial management. This helped participants understand budgets, accounting, the use and the exploit, consumption, storage, conservation, maintenance, repair and monitoring for better investment in the association  or coop. The leader distilled five principles of the good financial management: simplicity, clarification, transparency, credibility and monitoring. Following these principles brings about successful projects for both the associations and coops.

In the second part of the workshop, the participants were divided into five smaller groups taking the names of five continents (Africa, Asia, Europe, America and Australia). They were asked to do an exercise in which each group presents a project with its budget after 60 minutes. From this exercise, the participants learned how to develop the budgeting of their project and also how to present the coop/ association financial report at the end of the year by providing them with samples of financial and project charts.

After delivering some handouts to the participants, the day concluded with one of Thomas Edison’s wise sayings: “Most failed situations in life were made by those people who didn’t perceive how near they were from success when they finally surrender”

Highlights of attending the first training session

For me, attending the first training session was a huge value-added for my stay in Boujdour. It was a great opportunity for me to get to know the civil society members from different groups of local communities of Boujdour Province. It was really the best moment of getting to know each other, to share discussion, ideas, tea breaks and of course contact information. I am grateful for this time to build trust and friendly relationship with this new heterogeneous community.

I appreciated the generosity, the word “Merhba” (welcome), of Sahrawi people whenever I ask them questions. I also appreciate being familiar with Hassanian language and learning from the community when talking together. It is really amazing!

I would like to thank Mr. Larbi Touijer, the Governor of Boujdour Province, Mr. Abdelkarim, the president of Interior Affairs Division, Mr. Mohammed Ouhmido, the president of the Social Action Division “DAS”, Mr. Mouloud, staff member of “DAS” and Mr. Khalid, a staff member at the Associative Space of Boujdour for offering me the chance and help to be with these wonderful people.

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