Morocco is developing a constituent-services model for its elected representatives. With the help of the US, a pilot program resulted in over 30,000 constituency office visits by citizens:
Morocco’s hierarchical political culture has not traditionally encouraged members of parliament (MPs) to engage with citizens about their priorities. Nor do citizens have much experience or confidence in raising concerns with their elected officials. This constituent gap has undermined the development of more representative and responsive government in Morocco.
Since 2013, the National Democratic Institute (NDI) has worked to address this problem by assisting 14 MPs to establish local offices across Morocco to engage directly with their constituents. In March, as part of this ongoing effort, NDI brought together Moroccan elected officials, political party leaders, and members of the international community for the launch of its new constituency outreach manual, Getting Closer to Citizens: A Manual on Outreach for Elected Officials (English, Arabic). The manual captures the lessons learned and best practices for constituency outreach, based on the experience of the 14 MPs and their assistants who were trained by NDI under a two-year program supported by the U.K. Foreign Commonwealth Office (FCO).
Constituent outreach is a central role of elected officials. Engaging with citizens to learn about their concerns and priorities helps elected leaders represent public interests in decision-making, and develops public trust. NDI assisted the MPs in applying constituent outreach techniques to directly engage with citizens and to advocate on their behalf. Through one-on-one office meetings, public events and door-to-door canvassing, the MPs became more closely tied to to citizens’ needs. Each MP was supported by an NDI-trained constituency office assistant, who was responsible for receiving constituents in the local office, managing casework, and liaising with the MPs…[FULL STORY]