Friday, January 8, 2010


Fesser: to account for. That’s as close to accountability as I can get in Darija. Hmmmm.

Why does this come up? Just an observation. Something that’s sorely lacking in Morocco. And I don’t reserve that for Moroccans-true for Peace Corps here as well. Interesting.

It’s bugged me all along that Peace Corps doesn’t require any goal setting on the part of PCVs. I set my own goals, communicate them to my Delegate and counterpart. However, none of this is ever requested by PC Morocco program staff. Oh we have reporting. We are, after all, a quasi-government agency. All of our reporting is after-the-fact activity reporting. Activity alone. Body counts, ie; how many people came to a training or a program. The sort of info that Congress wants when they make their funding decisions. Oh, and a sprinkling of good success stories to liven up the numbers. OK, that sure sounds cynical. Sorry, but it’s the truth.

I ran across this with Heifer as well. When I started volunteering on the Development side, I was curious as to what their benchmarks were, how were they assessed, how did they measure success? Apparently this was something that just wasn’t done. Is this a non-profit/volunteer thing?

Fast forward to Morocco. How can there be so much corruption? I think lack of accountability can be one of the factors. If Associations aren’t held accountable, ie; for grant monies spent, people may take advantage.
So I find it most interesting that there’s been a push to move Associations that deal in any aspect of sales to switch over to a Cooperative model.

I sat in on a meeting yesterday of a women’s honey Association switching over to a Cooperative. What does this mean? Certainly more accountability. Reporting their (accountant certified) financials annually to their ministry. Transparency among the Cooperative members as to how the monies are collected and used. It is a big transition, and one not easily understood. Do they realize that the structure is changing, not just because the government said so, but to also help the members build a collective business faster than they could individually? Can they get on board with looking forward and planning and investing in one another for a greater good? It was not obvious from the confusion and questions today. Time will tell. The good news is that they were, in fact, taking the first step to get the organizational structure in place that better represents their enterprise. Game on.

This leads me to another form of accountability, that is, quality. First of all, how to introduce and adopt quality standards? Then, how can Cooperative members hold one another accountable for the quality of the products they each produce, esp. when they are making their products in their respective homes? How can they be objective and learn to provide meaningful feedback to one another if someone’s work doesn’t meet these standards? I’ve yet to see a good model of this practice in place. It is one of the topics I want/need to introduce. Hopefully we can make progress on making what the customer will buy, not what they want to make or buy themselves.

OK, so on a lighter note…

I’ve become more tech-savvy here-out of necessity, of course. It’s not like there’s a help desk somewhere to call. This includes the all-important practice of finding and downloading video for entertainment, preferably of the free and legal variety.

So far, my little dark secret is my affinity for Reality TV. Specifically Survivor, Project Runway, Amazing Race and Top Chef. Sad, I know, but there it is-it’s out there and I can’t take it back! However, I’ve also taken a shining to a few other series-so nice to be able to watch w/o commercial interruption, and sit and watch more than one at a time. Since the evenings are pretty much alone, and reading gets tiring and internet boring, and I don’t have a TV, these downloads are really great. Think I’ll watch some this afternoon-it’s Friday, the Coop is closed and it’s snowing and blowing like crazy out there-don’t wanna go anywhere else today. Rest up, warm up, ‘cuz I’m meeting friends in Fes for a long weekend, beginning tomorrow.

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