The primary goal of the e-Fez Action Research Project
was to make public services more efficient. In doing so, it has also boosted public accountability and promoted the spirit of democracy in Morocco. For these achievements, the IDRC
-supported initiative has received both national and international accolades, winning Morocco’s e-Mtiaz prize for electronic administration in 2006, and the Technology in Government in Africa and United Nations Public Service awards in 2007.
On the surface, e-Fez’s goal was purely practical: make life easier for the residents of the city of Fez by streamlining the process for receiving documents, particularly the birth certificates required for everything from job applications, to accessing health care, to school registration.
Before, getting documents required waiting while officials searched for the original and hand-wrote each copy. A minor transcription error meant going back and starting over. Now, the system has been computerized so “the service is delivered more efficiently and faster,” says IDRC
senior program specialist Adel El Zaim.
But there were also further-reaching social benefits. Computerizing services meant researchers from Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane had to “restructure the whole business process,” says El Zaim. Introducing open concept offices and self-serve kiosks made the whole process more transparent and reduced opportunities for corruption.
A further spin-off is that the municipal website became interactive so citizens can more easily reach their elected representatives.
These innovations were greeted, El Zaim recalls, “with a kind of pride by both citizens and employees,” and helps explain their adoption by other municipalities. With the help of the project team, the cities of Larache, Ifrane, and Elhajeb are now modernizing their services delivery systems. Morocco’s national government is now also computerizing its services.
IDRC's LASTING IMPACTS > COUNTRIES IN TRANSITION