What am I doing with the Peace Corps in Morocco?

My primary assignment is to work at the dar shebab (youth center) at my village, as a Youth Development volunteer. Peace Corps Morocco (PC/M) and the Moroccan Ministry of Youth and Sports have a partnership with the purpose that:

“Moroccan youth will be positively engaged and prepared for their roles within family life, community, and the world of work.”

As a result of the Arab Spring, youth development has become a focus for Morocco. According to the Youth Development Project Framework written by the Ministry of Youth and Sports in 2013, Moroccan youth make up 30% of the population and there is a 49% unemployment rate. The major concerns of youth are jobs, the reform of the education system, and housing

There are three goals in Framework with objectives, activities and targets to reach by 2017:

Goal 1: “Life skills/community engagement- Youth will build assets, develop skills, and engage in community development.”

Goal 2: “Healthy Lifestyles- Youth will adopt healthy behaviors.”

Goal 3: “World of Work – Youth will develop skills and assets to enter the world of work.”

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the US Department of Interior, the International Youth Foundation, the International Alliance for Youth Sports, INJAZ Al-Maghrib, Special Olympics, and Operation Smile are some partners in the National Project.

When I am planning activities, workshops, and trainings, and projects I refer to the Framework goals, objectives, activities, and targets. There are some PC, PC/M, and USAID manuals that I can refer to and others that are being developed to cover life skills, leadership, health, environment, employability, and entrepreneurship. I have a Monitoring and Reporting plan to follow that also has useful methods and tools.

Sites are selected by the Ministry and then assessed by PC Regional Managers (RMs). They meet with regional Ministry representatives, dar shebab Mudirs (youth center directors), and local officials to assess safety and security. Gender factors into the final placement, too, since single females can receive too much unwanted attention and harassment. For site matching, I had an interview with PC RMs in which my résumé and aspiration statement were also taken into consideration.

Each province has an Office of Youth and Sports and Délégué (representative of the Ministry) to whom I report. My local supervisor is the dar shebab Mudir. In my community I can partner with individuals, teachers, and members of associations, NGOs, non-profits, agencies, or institutions.

I am happy to be part of the organized Project in Morocco that aims to improve the lives of Moroccan youth.

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