• 21 January 2021


    Posteado en : Opinion

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    The constant adaptation of a cooperation project to change

    The MYPOL project has had to adapt to the outbreak of COVID-19 and the current situation in Myanmar in order to continue promoting the reform of its police force. María José Urgel, FIIAPP’s project coordinator, offers us an overview of MYPOL and the reassessment of its aims and activities.

    MYPOL is a FIIAPP-led European delegated cooperation project tasked with providing support to the Myanmar Police, offering a preventive and effective service and respecting international standards, human rights and gender awareness. 

    In order to achieve this ambitious goal, two offices have been set up in the country, one in Yangon and one in Nay Pyi Taw. From the field and in coordination with the FIIAPP headquarters in Madrid, we have focused on several areas of police intervention: improvements to criminal investigation and crowd management, modernisation of human resources and professional training, improved accountability and legal frameworks and ensuring a closer relationship between the police, civil society and the media.   

    For a little over a year and a half, FIIAPP has also incorporated a gender perspective in MYPOL. Today, it has a gender strategy and a women, peace and security programme in place, mainstreaming gender in the five areas of intervention and implementing the entire strategy at the institutional level.    

    Four partner cooperation agencies cooperate on the project– NICO from Northern Ireland, GIZ from Germany, DCAF from Switzerland and CIVIPOL from France – who pass on specific technical knowledge to the Myanmar police with a main focus on training, preparation of procedural guides and protocols and awareness-raising activities.    

    The exchange between public administrations, a fundamental characteristic of FIIAPP, is provided by the Spanish National Police, which heads up the mass management area.   

    In order to understand the context of MYPOL, the country’s history should be taken into account. Much of the current situation has been shaped by long years of military dictatorship, a protracted civil war with various ethnic groups coexisting which is still to be resolved and big social and cultural barriers that hinder the equality sought for women. There is also significant poverty that has been accentuated by Myanmar’s internal conflicts.      

    Since 2011, the country has been transitioning towards democracy, a process that has yet to be consolidated.In recent years, ethnic tension in the north of Rakhine state, better known as the Rohingya crisis (the Rohingya being a Muslim minority in a predominantly Buddhist country), has seen a dramatic increase in violence in the area, adding to tensions between the international community and Myanmar.   

    COVID-19 and the initial underestimation of its impact took us by surprise, representing an additional challenge. Within a few months, many of the training activities had to be temporarily suspended due to restrictions imposed by the government. This also affected the joint dialogues between the representatives of MYPOL, the police and the authorities.   

    In addition, in recent months, the MYPOL project has had to work within a complex political climate prior to the elections held in Myanmar last November, with mobility restrictions due to COVID-19 and continued violence in some areas of the country.   

    Nevertheless, the ability to adapt to change and the creativity employed by the entire team in order to adjust the strategy for MYPOL has ensured that the implementation of our activities represents an important contribution to the country, without losing sight of the project’s initial objectives. After a great deal of internal reflection, the decision was made to focus efforts on the following areas, among others: 

    – The strengthening of our capacity within MYPOL in gender matters, seeking to ensure that the experts who lead the different thematic areas of the project identify the most important gender aspects on which to work and measure their impact. As part of this institutional reinforcement, we have implemented our own sexual harassment and discrimination policy which is mandatory for all MYPOL personnel and which has been accompanied by a series of awareness-raising courses. 

    – The preparation of information brochures and the consolidation of police action coronavirus protocols which have been distributed throughout the capital. 

    – The provision of virtual workshops to replace face-to-face activities. 

    – The preparation of election orientation guides for police trainers that have focused further on the protection of freedoms and human rights, respect for the media and the provision of a safe environment, especially for women. 

    – The preparation of forensic action manuals and protocols to apply gender perspectives in police interviews. Guidelines have been drawn up regarding police arrest, following international security and human rights standards. 

    – The creation of new bodies in MYPOL, including the Critical Incidental Management Team which is responsible for analysing the COVID-19 situation in the country and its impact on the evolution of the project. 

    – The renovation of police unit training facilities and the provision of the equipment required to carry out criminal investigations correctly. 

    As part of this drive to adapt to change, we have kept two elements very much in mind – the importance of establishing local alliances and the need to strengthen relationships with our four partners.    

    Local alliances have helped us understand the consequences of all these changing circumstances. We have increased the number of national advisers and advisers specialising in police and gender matters as well as strengthening our alliances with civil society, especially with women’s organisations that have worked on gender awareness within the police for many years.    

    Strengthening relationships with our counterparts has helped us to better understand how the different approaches and specialist areas of our partners can be used in a more strategic way in the face of the current situation.    

    FIIAPP has taken advantage of all the opportunities for improvement that have presented themselves, even in the most difficult moments for the project. We have learned that taking advantage of difficulties has helped us to learn lessons from the social change processes undertaken and identify our achievements, limitations and potential in order to improve our work, this being an area we will continue to be committed to.    

    María José Urgel, coordinator of the FIIAPP MYPOL project 

  • 30 December 2020


    Posteado en : Opinion

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    FIIAPP in 2020: Innovating and growing in the face of adversity

    During 2020, more than 200 COVID initiatives have emerged in FIIAPP on migration, security, gender and social cohesion issues, among others.

    In January 2020 we started another year with the hope that it would be, at least, a little better than the previous one, both on the personal and professional levels.

    At FIIAPP, we had plans for many trips, events and important activities related to our projects. We had no idea what was coming, what we would have to deal with, just a couple of months later.

    By March, we were dealing with a global pandemic. There was talk that this virus would change everything in every corner of the planet: the way we mobilise, the way we relate to one another, and, of course, the way we work.

    One of FIIAPP’s main activities is the exchange of experiences between Spanish civil servants and their counterparts in the partner countries with which we work. What will happen from now on? How do we keep working? Fortunately, at FIIAPP we have grown in the face of adversity and we have shown our most ingenious side.

    At FIIAPP, more than 200 COVID initiatives have been promoted on various topics such as social cohesion, reducing inequalities, the fight against climate change, gender equality, security and development and of course digitisation, among many others.

    Under the motto “Team Europe”, the European Union and the Member States are working on a global response to the pandemic. One of the initiatives framed under this slogan are the COVID Round Tables. An exercise launched and coordinated by FIIAPP to combat COVID-19 worldwide through cooperation, which has come to stay and to nurture political dialogues through cooperation.

    These Round Tables have started with three pilot experiences, in Argentina, Ecuador and Costa Rica, in order to identify the demands resullting from the health emergency, channelling them in a structured and coordinated way to promote a response strategy.

    Gender-based violence has escalated with COVID-19 and the restrictions on mobility. Cooperation projects such as EL PAcCTO: Support to AMERIPOL and EUROsociAL+ have promoted initiatives that support women and girls exposed to violence.

    The pandemic has also given human traffickers more opportunities to exploit their victims. Rising poverty has multiplied the opportunities for criminal organisations to mislead more victims with promises of a job and a better future. The European project ATIPSOM draws on specialists from the National Police to combat trafficking and the illegal smuggling of migrants in Nigeria. The project has carried out various actions to mitigate risks for the victims, such as the creation of tweetchats, conversations through Twitter. In addition, information and public awareness have been promoted through the media, such as the weekly broadcast of a local radio program: “A-TIPSOM voice”.

    State security forces and bodies are front-line personnel in all countries. European projects such as EUROFRONT and MYPOL, among others, have trained people in managing confinement and the application of disinfectants, as well as delivering the necessary healthcare materials to fight COVID such as masks, gloves and disinfectant gels.

    The pandemic has shown us how much we depend on digital technologies to continue our daily lives; digitisation has come to stay and during 2020 FIIAPP has been involved in more than 70 actions through its projects and programmes in Latin America, the Neighbourhood and Sub-Saharan Africa. Projects including EL PAcCTO, Bridging the Gap, ARAP Ghana and ICRIME, as well as numerous Twinning projects have carried out specific activities related to digitisation such as Higher Education in Algeria or Civil Execution in Turkey.

    In addition, projects such as EU-ACT and Cuba-EU Expertise Exchange have delivered computer materials to the countries in which they are working so they can modernise and connect virtually to the activities being carried out. Likewise, FIIAPP itself has created the connect.fiiapp platform to give all the projects managed by the Foundation the possibility to carry out their activities remotely, in addition to making telecommuting possible for nearly 300 people from one day to the next.

    Spain has positioned itself as a key partner in European cooperation and the Foundation’s Board of Trustees stresses the fundamental nature of FIIAPP’s work. Work that, through its regional programmes in Latin America and the Caribbean, its cooperation projects in Africa and Twinning, contribute toward achieving the Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda, with the aim of leaving no one behind.

    The role of the public administrations and their staff is fundamental to our work. This year more than ever, all the institutions we work with have made an extraordinary effort to rise to the occasion. And looking at all that has been achieved, it is blindingly obvious that, between us all, we have met our stated objectives, in addition to the new ones that have arisen due to the pandemic, with great adaptability.

    It has been a hard, intense year, with many new situations to be faced both personally and professionally. But let’s remember the words of the poet Khalil Gibran: “No matter how long the storm, the sun always shines through the clouds again”.

  • 29 October 2020


    Posteado en : Reportage

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    Team Europe, the European response to a decade marked by the pandemic

    Faced with the global debacle caused by the pandemic, the European Union launches a forceful response that meets the emerging needs of partner countries and strengthens their institutions to cooperate and work hand in hand in the fight against COVID-19 and its consequences

    Although it is not a war, many specialists already equate the consequences of the pandemic with those of a war. Putting debates about whether it is appropriate to use warlike language on hold, there is no doubt that the beginning of 2020 was something more than just the beginning of an ordinary year. A new decade had begun, one that will be marked by a global pandemic, the likes of which, in Spain, we were aware, due to the seriousness of the situation in our country in March. The outbreak of the pandemic will mark the 2020s just as great challenges have marked so many decades in the past. COVID-19 has meant that things have been upended, to a greater or lesser extent, in the lives of everyone and regarding the situation of each continent.

    The case of Latin America is especially worrying. Coronavirus is a global threat which, although it does not distinguish between borders, has a differentiated impact due to the context of each region. Historical and structural challenges in Latin America have turned the continent into the global focus of the pandemic, which shows the need for solidarity and multilateralism to face this problem.

    On 8 April, the European Commission adopted the European Union’s global response to COVID-19 to support its partner countries and leave no one behind in the fight against the pandemic, establishing the so-called Team Europe. It is an initiative based on the necessary joint work between the European institutions, the Member States and their implementing agencies, together with the development finance institutions.  The political backup came from the Council of the European Union (EU) in its conclusions of 8 June.

    Since last spring, the EU has mobilised around €36 billion, redirected in record time to meet the new needs created by the pandemic[1].

    The activities carried out within the framework of Team Europe focus on the three priorities of the Commission. These are to provide an emergency response to the health crisis and humanitarian needs, to support the strengthening of research, health and water systems and, thirdly, to address the economic and social consequences.

    These three priorities show that the European contribution to the global response to COVID19 does not only seek immediate solutions, but is focused on addressing the emerging needs of the recovery in the medium and long term. All this, with special attention on the achievement of the 2030 Agenda Sustainable Development Goals, with this year marking the 5th anniversary since their adoption and the beginning of a decade of action, as indicated by the UN. Thus, the European Green Deal and the Digital Agenda provide the backbone of the EU’s response to ensure that the recovery is also green and digital, based on sustainable human development.

    In this context, FIIAPP, as part of the Spanish and European cooperation effort, is also an institution that is part of Team Europe. Furthermore, as a member of the European Practitioners’ Network, the Foundation is actively participating in strategic dialogue with its European partners, and within the network, with the European Commission. An exercise focused on contributing to the reception of Team Europe, for example, through the mobilisation of knowledge from the public sector.

    Through this approach, FIIAPP, together with Spanish state bodies, has accompanied partner countries in their response to the pandemic and its consequences. More than 96 activities have been carried out in Latin America, the European Neighbourhood and the Sahel, mostly aimed at supporting vulnerable people and health systems, reinforcing the rule of law and strengthening economic systems.

    In the Eastern Neighbourhood, FIIAPP supports the Georgian authorities in the preparation of a document analysing the economic impact caused by the COVID19 crisis. In Morocco, FIIAPP has supported the analysis of the impact of the pandemic on the inclusion of migrants, and in Nigeria it has organised an exchange of experiences on the impact of COVID-19 on female victims of trafficking. In Macedonia, for example, FIIAPP has supported the postal service to improve the protection of its workers against the coronavirus. In Latin America and the Caribbean, support has been given to the fight against misinformation about the pandemic, the acquisition of health and campaign material for border posts; as well as fiscal policies against the coronavirus. FIIAPP has also supported countries in Latin America and the Caribbean in the promotion of a sustainable recovery after COVID-19 through the EUROCLIMA+ programme.

    All this has taken place in a context marked by mobility restrictions that have created a race against time to adapt to the circumstances without stopping cooperation. In this sense, FIIAPP has rapidly adapted to online medium by launching tools such as ConnectFIIAPP. It has been able to continue its Twinning and TAIEX (Technical Assistance and Information Exchange) activities and make valuable contributions to the Team Europe approach. In addition, this digital advance will enable the complementing and enriching of the current offer of institutional support, as well as strength the resilience and adaptability of the Twinning and TAIEX instruments.

    To help respond in a structured way to immediate needs in partner countries, and from the Team Europe perspective, FIIAPP, together with other organisations from the EU Member States, is supporting the international cooperation service of the European Commission in the identification and prioritisation of demands. The inter-institutional dialogue methodology of the current regional programmes of the EU in Latin America has been capitalised on for this exercise, which is called COVID Roundtables. In a joint and coordinated manner from the EU Delegations in the countries, work is being done to detect these needs. Working together with partner public administrations in order to articulate support the EU and its Member States will be able to offer them from their ongoing technical cooperation actions. In a first pilot exercise, three “COVID Roundtables” have been established in Argentina, Ecuador and Costa Rica, with FIIAPP being the main facilitator of the latter two.

    The work has been intense, but there is still a long road ahead. FIIAPP faces the situation with the conviction that international cooperation is vital to ensure that no one is left behind in this decade marked by a global pandemic, which undoubtedly requires a global response to which FIIAPP is fully committed so that the recovery can be green, digital and inclusive.

    Silvia Prada and Myriam Erquicia, specialists in the FIIAPP Strategy and Communication area at the Brussels Office

  • 28 May 2020


    Posteado en : Entrevista

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    FIIAPP Expatriates: José Manuel Colodrás

    José Manuel Colodrás, Police Chief Inspector and coordinator of the FIIAPP-managed and European Union-financed EU-ACT project, tells us about his experiences and his day to day life working and living in Ukraine.

    How was your arrival in Ukraine? Do you have any anecdotes from that time?  

    My first contact with Ukraine was in March 2017, although my final deployment did not take place until May that same year. I was surprised by some Ukrainian customs, relationships and attitudes, among other things, the apparent coldness of the Slavs. It must be said that this was a first impression, since as soon as you earn their trust, you can find friends here who trust in you as much or more so than in Spain, even with the barrier that the language represents.  

    An anecdote that caught my attention is that the national dish in Ukraine is «сало» pronounced | salo | (bacon) sliced and accompanied by raw garlic and pickles (mainly pickled gherkins). It is usually had as an accompaniment to vodka or other similar drinks (whiskey is as popular here as gorilka, which is what Ukrainian vodka is called. I was surprised, as I did not think that culinary traditions that have totally vanished from many countries in Europe, like that of making salo and pickles at home, were maintained. Family relationships are also something that, while a little differently from how we do it in Spain, are cultivated in Ukraine with meals on Sundays or outdoor barbecues. 

    And the adaptation period? What were the most and least difficult things for you? 

     The adaptation period was fast. City life is relatively easy. The hardest thing for me (and I still find it difficult) is adapting to the bureaucratic mentality, inherited from the Soviet tradition that permeates not only the administration but even the work of private companies.  Any management task is complicated and the procedures for hiring, for making a simple bank transfer, or requesting a certificate make it extremely difficult to implement our international cooperation projects and, sometimes, also daily life.  

    Is this your first experience of living outside Spain? Is it proving to be very different from your previous ones? How long have you been there and how much time do you have left? 

    I have had previous experiences, but only for a few months (in West Africa: Nigeria and Senegal). As I mentioned, I have been here for 3 years and I have, in principle, a few months still to go, until December 2020. 

    What is your work like, your daily routine? Is it very different from the routine you had in Spain? 

     Yes, it must be said that the routine is very different. In Spain as a Chief Inspector with the National Police Corps, personal relationships, both with subordinates and colleagues, and with other institutions and people, occupied most of the time. 

     In the EU-ACT project, on a day-to-day basis, even before this COVID-19 mandated quarantine, a very significant part of the work was carried out over the internet, especially interaction with other project members: calls, emails, messages and the use of our own project platform that allows us to share all the material in the cloud. In that sense, the work is very different and has made the transition to these times, when teleworking is mandatory, quick and relatively easy. 

     Personal relationships with beneficiaries (Ukrainians) and with other international partners also take a long time and, in this case, they are also very different. It is necessary to put yourself in the position of being a collaborator and facilitator, rather than trying to be a protagonist in the activities, this makes for a very interesting and enriching change of perspective. 

     From the point of view of institutional representation, I now represent not only Spain, but the entire European Union, and that, of course, also broadens the vision we have of our work. There is a clear awareness that the EU is a whole and that, from the outside, we are increasingly seen as “Europeans“.  

     What is the relationship with FIIAPP like?  

    My relationship with FIIAPP has always been very positive. I would simply say that most of my colleagues are also friends, especially the colleagues who provide support from Madrid, who have made my job much easier and from whom I have learned enormously. What I hope is that this relationship with FIIAPP, which started before this project, will continue when this project ends. Of course, I consider FIIAPP to be a key instrument for the international projection of the Spanish administration, something that historically we have lacked compared to other countries. 

    How would you rate your experience of working as a FIIAPP expatriate? 

    As I have commented, it has allowed me to get to know a new work methodology, new areas of knowledge (socio-health issues, public policy development, the operation of international projects) and finally, it has given me a broader vision of my police work. From a personal and even family point of view, it is turning out to be a great experience that not only will I remember all my life, but it will certainly have a great impact on my personal and professional development. It is an opportunity for which I have to thank the Spanish administration and it motivates me to give the best of myself in every activity, event or meeting that I hold within the framework of the EU-ACT project. 

  • 12 March 2020


    Posteado en : Entrevista

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    A new generation of Myanmar women is determined to move up

    We interviewed Diana Achard, Senior Advisor to the Community Police in the Myanmar Police Reform Support Project (MYPOL)

    Diana Achard is one of the three highest-ranking women in the Myanmar Police and works on the Myanmar Police Reform Support project. The project is managed by the FIIAPP and funded by the European Union. 

    Achard joined the police academy in 1984 and was assigned to the Taunggy police force in 1985, before being transferred to narcotics. There, Achard managed domestic and administrative work, but she quickly became an undercover agent. 

    In 1994, she was transferred to southern Shan, to an area known as the ‘golden triangle’ due to drug trafficking. During this stage, she was named leader of the narcotics team for southern Shan. 

    In 2008, she was promoted to captain based on her excellent record and major drug seizures under her command. This was the year when she joined the Yangon Financial and Narcotics Investigation Team (NTI). At the NTI she collaborated with all the bilateral agencies (Australian, ASEAN, India), sharing information and participating in major operations. 

    By 2012, Achard had been promoted based on an impressive track record of seizures and she was transferred to the International Relations Division within the Narcotic Drugs Division. 

    In 2017, she was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and was transferred to the Transnational Crime Division (DTOC, based in Napyitaw), a unit with 110 sub-departments, including narcotics, cybercrime, human trafficking, environmental crime and part of the criminal investigation department. 

    Achard represented the Myanmar Police Forces (MPF) and Myanmar in all narcotics-related matters. 

    What was it like being a woman in the beginning? 

    Almost from the beginning I was assigned to undercover duties and handling information and confidants since there were only two women in the unit. When I left the MPF in 2018, there were twelve women in the Transnational Crime Division (DTOC), but they were mainly assigned to administrative and secretarial duties. 

    Have you faced challenges and obstacles to achieve recognition for your work? 

    It is difficult for any police officer to get a promotion, but it is particularly difficult for female officers. I was a lieutenant for seven years because I am a woman despite being responsible for major drug seizures. 

    What can women contribute to the MPF? 

    Regarding narcotics, I believe that obtaining reliable information is crucial, and civilians and informants trust women far more than they do men. What’s more, it used to be unusual to find women in undercover operations, so, we had an additional advantage. These days, it is far more common. In general, I would say that women are more persistent workers, are more meticulous and excellent at negotiation and mediation. 

    How is the MPF advancing in terms of gender integration in the police service? 

    Well, when I started in ’85 there were 2.2% women in the police force and there are now 9.6%. Little by little, women are getting recognition for their comparative advantages and skills. 

    Female investigators have now been appointed in most Yangon districts as focal points for crimes involving women and children. There are also many women in charge of mediation, negotiation, and intelligence gathering. 

    Generally speaking, I would say that women are better educated and better equipped, since the entry requirements are more rigorous (at least a two-year degree is required). On the other hand, women in the police also have more opportunities to integrate non-traditional police branches. 

    What is the main barrier for women in the MPF? 

    Access to dominant roles; no matter how capable you are, this is still dominated by men. 

    How do you see the future of women in the MPF? 

    Given that women have to choose between having a married life or the MPF, I doubt that the situation will progress in the short term. However, there may be some hope for the future. Although it is a slow process, a new generation of Myanmar women is determined to move up. 

  • 30 January 2020


    Posteado en : Reportage

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    “Education is one of the most important things in the life of any human being”

    With the 2030 Agenda in mind, the FIIAPP manages European cooperation projects in Algeria and Morocco to improve the educational systems of both countries

    When Albert Camus won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1957, he wrote a letter of thanks to one of his primary school teachers. Without you, without the affectionate hand you extended to the small poor child that I was, without your teaching and example, none of all this would have happened, wrote one of the most significant writers of the twentieth century. Albert Camus was born into a humble family of French settlers in Algeria.  His mother was almost illiterate and his father died during World War I when he was little. However, despite the poor little child that he was (his words), his teacher, a man named Louis Garmain, made sure to guarantee Camus’s right to education. A right to which millions of minors do not have access.  

    According to UNESCO, there are more than 260 million children in the world who do not attend school and 617 million children and adolescents who cannot read. We can unequivocally affirm that there are not enough Garmains to remedy this. But it is necessary to mention that there are public institutions, agreements, the will of countries and international cooperation. And, fortunately, guaranteeing inclusive, equitable and quality education and promoting lifelong learning opportunities is one of the sustainable development goals that the international community has set out in the 2030 Agenda and to which the work of the FIIAPP Contributes actively.  

    The FIIAPP and education 

    Aware of the value of education in ensuring the sustainability, peace and development of societies, the General Assembly of the United Nations proclaimed 24 January International Education Day. Committed to this reality, the FIIAPP manages several projects funded by the European Union that work in Algeria and Morocco in this dimension.  

    “Of the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals signed in 2015 in the 2030 Agenda, number four is the quality of education and I think it’s the most important one because all the others in one way or another depend on it for solving poverty in the world, achieving peace and bringing about the well-being of all the inhabitants of this planet,” explains Pilar Garcés, vice-minister of universities and research of Castilla y León and head of the two twinning projects financed by the Union European, and managed by the FIIAPP in Algeria and Morocco. 

    The FIIAPP in Algeria  

    Professor at the University of Valladolid, Antonio Bueno coordinates a project managed by the FIIAPP in Algeria in  support of the Algerian Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research. Bueno works hand in hand with the professor of the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research of Algeria, Amina Benbernou, to improve Algeria’s academic potential. “The aim is to reinforce the teaching skills of teachers in research and improve the administration’s management skills,” says Benbernou. 

    A twinning between Spain and Algeria is established for this purpose, through which various specialists travel to Algeria to work alongside the Algerian institutions. Efforts focus on improving the governance of higher education institutions, in line with the standards of the Bologna Process and the European Higher Education Area. In this way, the project provides the necessary tools to improve higher education in Algeria.  

    For Bueno, “Sharing educational ideas is based on the reality that all citizens who receive them have the same rights and duties and are called to the same mission: that of the progress of humanity.”  Through this project, Spain brings the work of highly qualified professionals to Algeria.  Spain is well positioned at the level of pedagogy and monitoring in digital education and synergy. The contribution it can make to Algeria is to support this topic with high-level specialists,” says the Algerian professor.  

    The project is funded by the European Union, and has the participation of specialists from the Agency for the Quality of the University System of Castilla y León (ACSUCYL).  

    According to Bueno, the fact that international cooperation allocates resources to education is very significant for societies: Education is surely one of the areas in which cooperation offers the best results in the short, medium and long term, and although wealth may not be immediately perceived, the truth is that it produces it in abundance.” 

    The FIIAPP in Morocco 

    Improving university education in Morocco. With this objective, the FIIAPP manages a twinning project with Morocco. Higher education has its shortcomings, there are many more private than public universities, which can lead to a kind of “decompensation” and produces a certain inequality among the population,” says the head of the project and Deputy Minister for Universities and Research of Castilla y León, Pilar Garcés.  

    Through the work of specialists, the project not only promotes improvement in educational organisation, management and legislation, but also explores solutions to the problem of overpopulation in the Moroccan higher education system. There should be more infrastructure to be able to have a really important and strong higher public education,” says Garcés. 

    Therefore, specialists from the Junta de Castilla y León work with their Moroccan counterparts on introducing techniques, methods and tools that serve to support the higher education system in Morocco. Among the objectives of the project financed by the European Union is the implementation of an ECTS system to assess qualifications, and the accompaniment in the development of a new national strategy in this area. 

    For Garcés, “education is one of the most important issues in the life of any human being, because it provides social peace and well-being and enables people to get out of poverty, or reduces violence.” Therefore she agrees with Bueno and very much appreciates the European and Spanish institutions’ financing and development of cooperation and twinning projects: “I think it’s a very important duty that governments should take it even more seriously than they are at the present time, because although it’s true that the economy is important for a country to progress, education is even more so,” she concludes.