Rabat - Liz Fanning is a practical dreamer. Her dream is to redefine the notion of development through helping Africans help themselves. She has the expertise, she has the drive, she has the belief and she has the ambition, all the necessary ingredients to make her dream come true.
Rabat – Liz Fanning is a practical dreamer. Her dream is to redefine the notion of development through helping Africans help themselves. She has the expertise, she has the drive, she has the belief and she has the ambition, all the necessary ingredients to make her dream come true.
, including the American Civil Liberties Union, Schoolhouse Supplies and the Near East Foundation, and she has served on numerous Boards of Directors. She was a founding Board member and Vice President for six years of the High Atlas Foundation, a nonprofit institution set up by former Peace Corps volunteers from Morocco. Liz has a BA in Economics and History from Boston University and a Masters in Public Administration with a concentration in Finance from NYU’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.
Her new project is called CorpsAfrica. The idea germinated in her mind when she was doing Peace Corps Volunteer service in Morocco. Moroccan youth were always asking her if they could join an international development agency. She consequently wondered that if these people have this willingness to serve why not help them serve in their country and be instrumental in its development.
After much reflection, she came up with CorpsAfrica: an ambitious self-development project that will kick off soon in Morocco for three years, and it will then expand to the entire African continent. The concept is so generous and so simple in its philosophy and its approach, yet complex and difficult in its implementation. The organization is lacking in funds but rich in ideas and concepts. What it needs is philanthropists that also have a dream to serve humanity. The marriage of the two parties will make development possible, or make the redefinition of development possible, as the catch phrase of CorpsAfrica goes.
So what is this development organization all about?
CorpsAfrica is an institution that will be providing young adults across Africa the opportunity to serve as “Peace Corps Volunteers” in their own countries and help drive solutions to poverty at the community level, a sort of“AmeriCorps” for African countries. Men and women will be recruited to move to high-poverty communities and initiate projects that fulfill key needs and whose impact and success can be carefully measured and monitored. “Graduates” of the program can go on to serve in other African countries. CorpsAfrica will serve as a model for national service and participatory, collaborative and accountable community development across Africa.
CorpsAfrica has set up very ambitious objectives to serve African communities with the intention to help alleviate poverty, empower the local population and introduce African citizens to concepts of self-help and self-development. The fellows working on the program will seek to achieve the following general goals:
To give Africans the transformative and career-boosting benefits of the Peace Corps. Build up pride and confidence through national service. Promote community and cross-regional volunteerism.
To provide training, job skills, and an understanding of poverty that only comes from living it. CorpsAfrica Volunteers will be the next generation of NGO staffers, government officials, academics, business leaders, journalists, philanthropists, parents, etc
To reduce poverty (#1 objective – hands down!) Training will focus on identification, measurement, causes, and manifestations of poverty. Volunteer placement will be based on need. Projects will address unique factors of poverty affecting individual communities.
To promote collaboration and shared best practices of diverse development partners, including host country government (at all levels), civil society, private sector (domestic and international), academia, donors and foundations, mass media, Diaspora, etc.
To actualize and demonstrate the multiplied effect of focusing on women and girls.
To serve as a model follower of best practices for measuring impact – and to share
results and lessons learned with development partners that follow our work.
To serve as an example of accountability and transparency – and to encourage bolder philanthropy toward poverty in Africa.
For CorpsAfrica, human capital is the most valuable resource in Africa. As a development organization it aims to empower women and girls, an action that has a magnified impact on creating lasting social change within African societies. Its goal is to serve as a model for public service and community development and applies the most effective approaches to international development. It is committed to encouraging bolder philanthropy toward poverty in Africa.
CorpsAfrica is starting a three-year pilot phase to focus on creating and perfecting the organization’s model in Morocco and two sub-Saharan countries, before expanding its operations to the rest of Africa. CorpsAfrica’s Founder, Liz Fanning, moved to Rabat in February 2013 to build the CorpsAfrica/Maroc headquarters. She has succeeded in recruiting the first group of ten Fellows to start training this September.
CorpsAfrica/Maroc is positioned to collaborate with a wide range of development partners. It is inviting NGOs, government officials, academics, social entrepreneurs and others to recommend candidates and give presentations about the issues they work on and their experiences to the trainees. It will ask its development partners to provide a three-week internship to a Fellow as part of the training process. Later on during service, once the Fellows help the communities identify their highest priority needs, it will invite an appropriate development partner to collaborate on the design and implementation of the projects.
The development partners of CorpsAfrica/Maroc are as follows:
Al Akhawayn University (AUI)
AMIS DES ECOLES
Anarouz Social Enterprise
FOMEJE – The Mediterranean Forum for Youth
Institute for Leadership and Communication Studies (ILCS)
International Youth Foundation (IYF)
Ministry of Youth and Sports
Neighborhood Association IDMAJ
Like Peace Corps Volunteers, CorpsAfrica Fellows (young Moroccan college graduates) will move to high-poverty communities across Morocco for one year to facilitate demand-driven development projects. They will help communities identify their highest priority need and then invite an appropriate NGO to work with them to design and implement the project.
Soon, this month, Liz Fanning’s dream will become a reality in Morocco and then later on, hopefully, in the rest of Africa. This will be the catalyst for reinventing and redefining development in a different light for the social welfare and progress of Africans here and all over this continent, a region in desperate need of such bold and courageous initiatives.
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