The Peace Corps is an independent United States Government agency that provides Volunteers to countries at the formal request of their governments. President John F. Kennedy officially established the Peace Corps in 1961 to promote world peace and friendship through the achievement of three enduring goals:
- Helping people of interested countries in meeting their needs for trained men and women.
- Helping to promote a better understanding of American people on the part of the peoples served.
- Helping to promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of American people.
The Peace Corps and Morocco
Morocco was one of the first to invite the Peace Corps into its country. After four months of training in the United States, the first group of Volunteers arrived in 1963 at the request of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Throughout the course of this partnership over 5000 Volunteers have served the Kingdom in a number of different capacities.
In 2011 the organization began its official shift to a single sector, Youth Development, working with a single partner organization, the Ministry of Youth and Sport. Volunteers serve in the Youth Development sector and are assigned to a youth, women’s centers operated by the Ministry of Youth and Sport where they will work in close collaboration with and under the supervision of local ministry staff.
The Youth Development program in Morocco aims to positively engage youth and prepare them for their roles within family life, world of work and citizenship through activities, projects and programs geared toward the achievement of three broad yet interconnected goals:
- Positive Youth Development:
Youth will develop or enhance interests, skills and assets to strengthen their personal development and community engagement.
- Health Life Styles:
Youth/women will be empowered to adopt positive behaviors to achieve optimal health and well-being.
- World of Work:
Youth will develop employability skills and assets to participate more fully in the global 21st century.
A typical starting point for Youth Development Volunteers is providing content-based English classes for interested parties. This activity helps Volunteers establish relationships and gain a deeper understanding of the community which will help them design and implement activities, projects and programs that respond to the wants and needs of their communities while encouraging local youth to become actively involved and working toward the above goals as well as those outlined by the Ministry of Youth and Sport.
As with all Peace Corps positions, a Youth Development Volunteer can be involved in a wide variety of activities, for instance they may help organize and/or conduct local camps, clubs, community cleanups, health and environment education activities, and sporting events. They may build latrines or plant trees. They may implement or facilitate education or training programs on topics such as girls’ education, peer mentoring, leadership, youth entrepreneurship, computer literacy, or basic literacy. Just like Peace Corps Volunteers around the world, Morocco Youth Development Volunteers follow the path their community paves for them.
In addition to their community level work, Peace Corps Volunteers in Morocco assist international organizations operating locally such as SOS Village, and in a number of national events such as the Special Olympics, and the Ministry of Youth and Sport Spring, and English Immersion Summer camps.
Peace Corps Morocco Volunteers undergo an extensive training process before they begin and throughout their service. Prior to their departure from the United States Volunteers take an online training course in positive youth development and during the first 9-10 weeks in country they are given intensive training in the local language, predominantly Moroccan Arabic (Darija), survival Berber (Tashlheit or Tamazight), and necessary technical areas such as teaching techniques. They also learn about the local culture, history and etiquette, all while living with a Moroccan host family. During the first year of their two-year service they attend an In-Service Training where they build upon their newly acquired or enhanced knowledge and skills to prepare them for the remainder of their service. Occasionally, Volunteers and their Moroccan counterparts may benefit from thematic workshops responding to their recurrent community needs.
- Length of service is 27 months, which includes an average of 10 weeks of in-country training in areas such as technical skills, local culture, and language, and 14-months of Volunteer service.
- Volunteers receive a living allowance that covers housing, food, and incidentals, enabling them to live in a manner similar to people in their local communities.
- The minimum age for Peace Corps service is 18 and there is no upper age limit.
Peace Corps Volunteer Support:
The Peace Corps office is located in Rabat to maintain a permanent liaison with the Moroccan government and the various ministries with which the agency is partnered, particularly the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Youth and Sport. Staff also provides support and guidance to Volunteers to help them achieve success in their work. Peace Corps staff works with the local host institutions to identify needs that can be met by Peace Corps Volunteers and design project plans to help address these needs.
In addition to their local supervisors, Peace Corps Volunteers are supervised by a Regional Manager. The manager, in conjunction with other staff and ministry personnel, monitor the progress of the Volunteer to ensure adequate performance and appropriate conduct.
Periodically, the Peace Corps reviews each program to see that it continues to meet the priority needs of the host country and the goals of the Peace Corps and makes changes as necessary.
Peace Corps/Morocco Contacts:
2 Rue Abou Marouane Essaadi, Agdal, Rabat 10080
Tel.: (212) 537-683-780
Fax: (212) 537-683-799
Peace Corps Washington DC: http://www.peacecorps.gov/