Hands Along the Nile offers our heartfelt congratulations to Professional Fellows Program Alum Aziz Taouri from Morocco, who has been awarded the U.S. Department of State’s 2017 Alumni Impact Engagement Fund! This annual grant competition supports community initiatives led by alumni from State Department-sponsored programs, including the Professional Fellows Program.
Aziz posing in front of the Seattle skyline during his fellowship in October 2016
Aziz participated in the HANDS exchange in 2016, where he had the opportunity to travel to the U.S. and work with a community-based organization in Seattle to learn more about how non-profit organizations, particularly those who work with women, are managed and developed. Through his fellowship and additional seminars focused on advocacy and nonprofit leadership, Aziz enhanced his skills in organizational management such as grant-writing, communications, and monitoring and evaluation techniques. Aziz notes that it was these essential skills, and the inspiration from the mentors and colleagues he met along the way, that allowed and inspired him to apply to the Alumni Innovation Engagement Fund the following year.
Southwest Youth and Family Services, Aziz’s host organization in Seattle, hosts a farewell lunch for him and another Professional Fellow from Egypt, Mariam Maged.
With this award, Aziz will work on a project that will empower young women in rural Morocco to be agents of change in their communities. Through training workshops and internships that focus on topics such as leadership, entrepreneurship, strategies of community engagement, and life skills development, they will learn how to utilize their assets to create sustainable change in their communities and across Morocco.
Aziz discusses the challenges facing rural Morocco during a speaking event in Seattle.
Aziz has dedicated the past eight years working to better lives in his community in Afourer, a rural village in central Morocco. At his organization, the Timoulilt Association for Development, Aziz undertakes projects that empower women and young girls in his region, from raising awareness of public health issues, to promoting advocacy and increasing political participation of women in society. With this new award, Aziz will be able to carry out a project that he long dreamed of, but never had the opportunity to make into reality – until now.
Aziz’s project was one of 68 proposals selected for funding, out of over 1000 submissions worldwide. HANDS is proud to work with change-makers like Aziz, who work diligently to bridge the gender gap in the Middle East and North Africa region.
Local family in Seattle hosted Aziz and his colleagues for a lovely dinner during the Professional Fellows Program.
We are extremely grateful to the U.S. Department of State, our partners at World Affairs Council of Seattle, Aziz’s fellowship hosts at Southwest Youth and Family Services in Seattle, and our generous supporters that allow us to continue providing capacity-building opportunities to leaders like Aziz so they can better tackle the challenges they are facing in their communities.