Youth Development Specialist
The Kingdom of Morocco is a country located in North Africa and has an abundance of both natural resources and beauty. Morocco is a country in transition politically, socially, and economically, and the youth population in Morocco represents a dynamic demographic with enormous potential. Youth development has become a major focus for the government of Morocco, as youth unemployment is high and many youth are seeking opportunities to advance their skills for their future.
According to the High Commission for Planning (HCP), young people aged 15-24 represent 16.2% of the total population in 2021. In addition, the HCP reports that more than one in four young people aged 15 to 24 years (26% or 1.5 million) is a NEET (Not Employed, not receiving any in Education, not receiving any Training).
Peace Corps Volunteers (PCVs) work with their local community partners on assessing youth needs, empowerment programming with youth as assets, and focus on life skills and civic responsibility. PCVs model and promote volunteerism in their communities and teach communicative English. Much of this work is done through activities in classes, clubs, and camps.
Digital and computer literacy is a priority focus, and PCVs are asked to collaborate on community partner priorities to promote Information & Communication Technology (ICT) education. Digital literacy is recognized as an important life skill to complement and extend the skills and knowledge youth already learn in school.
Another area of interest is entrepreneurship-focused activities and programs that help prepare youth for the educational, social and career challenges of the 21st century. Some Volunteers with business development backgrounds will be asked to collaboratively assist in entrepreneurship programming.
Volunteers live and work in rural, semi-urban, and urban communities throughout Morocco. Communities seeking to work with a PCV include those with at least one institution from the Ministry of Youth, Culture, and Communication, including a youth center (Dar Chabab, literally “House of Youth” in Arabic) or a women’s center (Nedi Neswi). When Volunteers arrive to their assigned community, they are expected to initiate and expand their networks through meeting and collaborating with other local institutions and associations that provide services for youth. Since their work is largely unstructured, they will be responsible for building strong relationships with youth and community leaders to engage youth and establish activities and programs that respond to their needs and interests. It is by investing in connections and relationships that Volunteers’ work will be sustained.
Peace Corps Morocco provides a high-quality language and technical training. During the 10 weeks Pre-Service Training (PST), PCTs will be trained on Peace Corps Approach to Development and positive Youth Development concepts. Trainees will learn community engagement tools. They will be introduced to Morocco’s Youth Development Project and will be trained on two main technical competencies including how to conduct recreational activities with youth and how to facilitate communicative English classes. Trainees will also gain knowledge of the local way of life, develop suitable ways to communicate with Moroccans, and become culturally aware. Volunteers will have the opportunity to get further training in life skills, community engagement, as well as other identified technical training during the course of service.
SPECIAL NOTICE ABOUT CITIZENSHIP: Candidates who are either dual citizens of Morocco and the U.S., who were born in Morocco, or whose parent(s) is a/are Moroccan citizens are not eligible to serve in Peace Corps Morocco. Under Moroccan law, an individual who meets any of these criteria is considered a citizen of Morocco and would have responsibilities (including payment of taxes) and treated as a Moroccan citizen while in Morocco which may limit the Peace Corps' ability to intervene in any legal matter or emergency situation. If you fit any of the identified categories, we encourage you to consider other assignments.
COVID-19 Volunteer Activities
As a Volunteer, you will be trained in how to best protect yourself from COVID-19 exposure and understand the impact of and steps to reduce stigma related to COVID-19. You may also have the opportunity to engage with your community on implementing or enhancing COVID-19 mitigation activities, such as COVID-19 prevention and risk reduction strategies including social distancing, hand washing, mask wearing, addressing myths and misconceptions related to these practices, and vaccine hesitancy. Activities will be tailored to address the COVID-19 circumstances in the communities where you will serve.
Qualified candidates will have an expressed interest in working with youth and one or more of the following criteria:
• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in any field.
• 5 years' professional work experience.
• Formal or informal classroom teaching experience, particularly English teaching.
• Experience working with youth ages 12-29 in after-school activities or other areas of non-formal education. Highly competitive applicants will have experience with youth in summer camps, clubs, sports, music, art, theater, volunteerism, and service-learning.
• Experience using appropriate technology to accomplish work virtually, including technology to support remote learning and youth programming.
• Demonstrated success working in unstructured or informal assignments; experience applying organizational skills in a community.
Required Language Skills
There are no pre-requisite language requirements for this position.
Language is an essential component of volunteer training. Through PST, Trainees will learn Moroccan Arabic (Darija), which is spoken by most Moroccans. They will have the chance to pick up more local Amazigh languages (Tarifit, Tashlhit and Tamazight) later in their service depending on where they will be serving. All Trainees are expected to achieve an Intermediate- Low level of proficiency by the end of Pre-Service Training. Volunteers are expected to build on their language skills throughout the service; ongoing language support is available for them in the form of tutoring and additional online language training.
Morocco is a beautiful country with a rich history, unique traditions and culture, and wonderful cuisine. Communities where Volunteers are assigned vary greatly. They could live in communities located in the desert, mountains, or remote rural villages. They may live in the same types of accommodations that families live in, including apartments and houses. As community members, Volunteers will experience utility availability just as those in their community including electricity, water, and even internet-and they should not expect consistent connectivity.
Pre-Service Training (PST) fosters the integration of Trainees in their communities through learning language and engaging in intercultural activities. The most effective Volunteers are the ones who are most integrated in their communities and its culture. PST includes a homestay with a Moroccan family, and Volunteers will also stay in host families for at least one month after arriving at their permanent communities. Host families offer Volunteers insights into local culture, traditions, and customs and offer an introduction into the community.
Morocco is a traditional, family-centered society with hierarchical and patriarchal leanings, and, at times, fixed views on gender roles and expectations. Therefore, Volunteers must have mature interpersonal skills, a willingness to suspend judgment, and the ability to adapt and maturely navigate local norms and social customs, and abide by local laws throughout their service.
As foreigners, Volunteers may experience a lot of attention in their communities. Same-sex relationships are against the law, and sexual orientation and gender identities are considered taboo topics in Morocco. Volunteers must be discreet about their sexual orientation and gender identity within their host communities. All Peace Corps Morocco Volunteers receive training on appropriate measures to mitigate and respond to harassment. However, in Morocco, people frequently associate Americans with white skin, blond hair, and blue eyes. Volunteers who do not fit these stereotypes often face additional challenges while integrating into their communities.
Volunteers of Color, particularly Black and Asian-American Volunteers, routinely experience high levels of unwanted attention, harassment, and discrimination. Black Volunteers have reported high levels of harassment in all areas of Morocco, and a contributing factor is prevailing Moroccan attitudes toward West African immigrants to Morocco. Asian-American Volunteers also receive unwanted attention because of their appearance.
Peace Corps is committed to creating a supportive and inclusive environment for Volunteers of all backgrounds throughout service. Peace Corps Morocco has a variety of support structures, including a Peer Support Network and a Diversity Committee, to ensure Volunteers are able to discuss their concerns with peers and staff throughout service confidentially, as well as among the Peace Corps community and with their Moroccan contacts. Staff also plan a pre-service call with invitees before departure. Volunteers of a diverse range of backgrounds have been able to serve successfully in Morocco.
As Peace Corps Morocco continues to learn and revise its activities in a new context, it seeks Volunteers who are creative, flexible, and eager to seek out community needs around which to build a program of work. For additional information, please visit the Peace Corps Morocco website: https://www.peacecorps.gov/morocco/
Serving in Morocco
Learn more about the Volunteer experience in Morocco: Get detailed information on culture, communications, housing, health, and safety -- including health and crime statistics -- in order to make a well-informed decision about serving.
The Peace Corps works to foster safe and productive assignments for same-sex couples, and same-sex couples are not placed in countries where homosexual acts are criminalized. At this time, Peace Corps Morocco is only able to place heterosexual couples who are legally married at the time of their arrival to Morocco. During the application process recruiters and placement officers work closely with same-sex couple applicants to understand current placement opportunities. For more information please visit: https://www.peacecorps.gov/faqs/lgbtq/.” Due to Morocco’s national laws and potential safety and security implications relating to relationships outside of marriage, domestic partners who are not legally married also may not serve together as a couple with Peace Corps Morocco.
Heterosexual married couples will live together for the duration of Peace Corps service. During Pre-Service Training and for a time in their permanent communities, couples will live together in a homestay environment.
After the initial mandatory homestay, couples may choose to move into independent housing. Please note that married couples may have separate work assignments with different organizations, but will be placed within the same community.
Before you apply, please review Medical Information for Applicants to learn about the medical clearance process.
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