History of the Peace Corps in Morocco
From Peace Corps Wiki
|History of the Peace Corps|
|Since 1960, when then Senator John F. Kennedy challenged students at the University of Michigan to serve their country in the cause of peace by living and working in developing countries, more than 182,000 Peace Corps Volunteers have served in 138 countries all over the globe.
Morocco was among the first countries to invite the Peace Corps to assist in its development process. A group of 53 surveyors, English teachers, and irrigation supervisors arrived in Morocco in 1963 at the invitation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Since then, more than 3,800 Volunteers have served in the Kingdom of Morocco in areas such as lab technology, urban development, home economics, commercial development, education of the blind and deaf, rural water supply, vocational education, maternal child health, natural resources management, youth development, marine and inland fisheries, small business development, sports, beekeeping, architecture, and English language training.
Future of Peace Corps Programming in Morocco
In collaboration with governmental partners, Peace Corps/ Morocco works in four primary areas: youth development, health, environment, and small business development.
In 1995, education Volunteers began teaching English in community youth centers (Dar Chebab), enabling youth to practice the English they learned in school. While content-based English teaching is still widely used, the program today focuses on youth leadership, strengthening youth networks, capacity-building of professionals who work with youth, and promotion of girls education. Volunteers work with local professionals and youth to promote volunteerism and youth leadership through activities such as sports, study of world geography, libraries, exercise classes, environmental projects, project management training, thematic English teaching, and self-esteem activities for girls.
The Peace Corps/Morocco health project focuses on promoting health and hygiene practices through various activities, including: 1) educating individuals (men, women and children) on nutrition, vaccination, dental hygiene, hand-washing, water purification/disinfection, proper storage of drinking water, proper waste disposal, STD-HIV/AIDs awareness and prevention; 2) training health services providers (traditional birth attendants, nurses) to reinforce their ability to deliver quality service and improve their communication skills; and, 3) training and coaching local NGOs and development association leaders to build and sustain their capacity in assessing community needs, planning and writing health-related project proposals (e.g., water, sanitation, waste disposal, HIV/AIDs awareness), searching for funds, and training youth leaders in life skills. Health Volunteers work at the Ministry of Health and are assigned to rural communities throughout Morocco.
In 1985, the Government of Morocco invited Peace Corps to assist with environmental monitoring and management of Moroccoâs national parks and biological reserves. Today, Peace Corps/Moroccoâs environment sector collaborates with the Department of Water and Forests, the Ministry of Rural Development, and other non-governmental organizations (NGOs). They address natural resources management and rural development issues in Morocco as well as the needs of rural communities living in or near protected areas. Volunteers work with community leaders, local community groups (menâs, womenâs or joint associations), and other counterparts and partners to initiate activities to sensitize the communities to the importance of their local environment.
This is done by promoting environmental education programs and eco-tourism. They work on socio-economic projects such as improving arboriculture, potable water, and agriculture; developing aromatic and medicinal plants; decreasing the impact of erosion; and restoring habitat. Volunteers also promote the use of renewable energy sources and the use of appropriate technologies to improve living conditions. Support is provided to local women, in particular, though training opportunities, income-generating projects, educational opportunities, and literacy programs.
The small business development project began in 1999 in cooperation with Moroccoâs Ministry of Social Economy and Artisans (now the Ministry of Tourism, Artisans and Social Economy). Volunteers advise and train small-craft businesses, providing assistance with marketing, accounting, basic finance, quality control, and creating feasibility studies and business plans. In addition, Volunteers help NGOs develop and improve their organizational skills and fundraising techniques.
Peace Corps/Morocco will continue to work with Moroccan government partners to address the expressed needs of the Moroccan people. The program will increase its efforts to integrate gender activities across all sectors and continue to improve the effectiveness of pre-service training through closer integration of programming and training.