There are many Moroccan charities and NGOs that gratefully receive donations from members of the public in order to continue their beneficial work. Whether you want to help street animals, ease the burden for working animals, support camels, purchase goods from ethical vendors, assist children’s charities, be kind to the environment, or something else entirely, there are many ways to lend a hand when in Morocco. If you want to take a more hands-on approach, have relevant skills, and have the time to spare when visiting the kingdom, how about volunteering with one of these organizations too?
SPANA is an international organization that seeks to protect and assist working animals. There are several centers around the country, including in Marrakech and Casablanca. The Veterinary Volunteer Program offers qualified vets to help improve the lives of Morocco’s many working animals, including donkeys, mules, and camels.
Volunteers can trade experience and expertise with qualified Moroccan vets, and can also assist with mentoring for local veterinary students. Foreign volunteers are valuable in that they can also assist with promotional campaigns and raising awareness of the plight of Morocco’s working animals, and can encourage cultural and language exchanges with the existing team.
Placements are generally in Marrakech, though people who stay for longer may also be sent to more rural parts of the country. The organization prefers vets that can commit to at least two weeks. It is possible, though, for vets to stay for up to four months, and accommodation is provided.
Education for All Morocco
Founded in 2006, Education for All Morocco is a charity that aims to enable girls from remote rural areas to continue their education through the state school system at high school. To facilitate their education, the charity establishes boarding schools close to schools, providing a safe, clean, secure, and supportive environment where the girls can stay. Located in the High Atlas mountains, the boarding houses are in Asni, Talat n’Yacoub, and Ouirgane.
Volunteers help in various ways, including assisting the girls with homework and language practice (French and English), helping the girls to develop IT skills, introducing new games and activities, and leading various sports and craft activities. Duties also involve helping out in the local community, for example, clearing rubbish from the river, fruit picking, sorting waste for recycling, and assisting local women with diverse chores.
The program fee covers accommodation and meals. Because of the nature of the program, it is only open to female volunteers. Volunteers must be able to speak at least basic French, though fluent French speakers are preferred. Volunteers should also have some past experience of working with young people, either as a teacher, youth worker, or similar. The minimum commitment length is three months, though volunteers can stay longer if desired.
Childreach International regularly runs a program called The Big Build Morocco. Benefiting local children, volunteers do not actually work with young people, but instead alongside local experts to help to improve schools and other educational facilities in a much more labor-intensive way.
The program lasts for at least 11 days and it takes place in a rural community in the Atlas Mountains. Volunteers help with the construction of language centers and other places of learning for children in villages that may not have other feasible educational options. There is a cost to join the program.
Located in Marrakech and known for its beautiful henna designs created by local women and its top-notch fare, the Henna Café is a terrific place for anyone interested in reaching out to the local community. Although females will probably feel more comfortable in the women-focused environment, anyone is welcome to volunteer here. No particular skills or experiences are needed; it is more about cultural exchange and inspiring locals to do a variety of things.
Volunteers can operate courses, one-day events, or a short workshop session. It’s then entirely up to locals to choose whether or not they want to attend. People with experience in language, arts, maths, or science instruction are especially welcomed, especially if they can commit to running a longer course.
Help the Street Animals of Morocco
Located in the beach town of Essaouira, Help the Street Animals of Morocco (HSAM) seeks to improve the lives of local strays. Several such shelters and programs operate around the nation. The team at HSAM places a strong focus on vaccinating and sterilizing street cats and dogs. Animals are released, whenever possible, back to the place where they were found. Creatures that cannot be released are provided with a home.
Modern, sterile, and up-to-date equipment is used by experienced animal-care professionals. As well as providing a better quality of life for the animals, the program also reduces the threat of rabies and other diseases to the community and helps to stop the numbers of strays from hugely increasing. HSAM welcomes volunteers who are qualified vets, veterinary nurses, and animal handlers to assist with its valuable work.
Regular medical volunteering projects are operated in the Moroccan capital of Rabat by Projects Abroad. Staying with a host family, volunteers work alongside qualified local team members to both learn and assist. Volunteers may be placed in either a hospital or a health center. The primary areas covered are surgery, pediatrics, and gynecology. Placements last for a minimum of three weeks, and all candidates must be able to speak at least an intermediate level in French and have finished a minimum of one year of medical training. All people are assigned to a supervisor, who decides on specific tasks and level of responsibility. You may be left with a nurse to spend time with a particular patient. This could be a good way for people studying in the medical field to get more experience and learn in a different environment.
Known globally and with a presence in many countries around the world, the Peace Corps offers a variety of volunteering opportunities for American citizens in Morocco. Placements are generally related to teaching languages and youth development work. Projects are usually in rural villages or in semi-urban areas; don’t expect to be placed in one of the country’s large cities.
The goal is to empower and inspire youths and help them to develop skills required for work or entrepreneurship. This generally involves working closely with the community and offering outreach services, including after-school and extra-curricular activities. Many volunteers offer language practice for the whole community. Work can include elements related to environmental, health, business, and creative concerns.
Volunteers must have either a bachelor degree or five years’ of relevant work experience. Skills in teaching English as a second language are desirable, as is past experience of working with young people or within local communities.
Volunteer Morocco is a charity that seeks to improve conditions within communities and helps people to become more self-sustainable. This may be by improving access to quality healthcare, transportation, and education, helping small enterprises to develop, and assisting with farming tools and techniques. Projects are largely located around the areas of Agadir and Imsouane. Volunteers can sign up for diverse programs, including those related to medical care, dental care, farming, education for youths and adults, IT, sports, and research. Volunteers are required to have certain minimum qualifications and experience relevant to their chosen project.
Based in Tangier, the Moroccan Association of Ibn Battuta seeks to preserve and promote the country’s history, heritage, and culture while honoring the famous traveler. Part of the organization’s vision is to encourage greater tourism to the area, and for tourists to engage more with cultural events. By association, this should also help the local economy. Furthermore, the group seeks to promote cross-cultural understanding and appreciation. Volunteers interested in cultural exchange and forging links with the local community are welcomed. Tasks are diverse, though will generally include involvement in activities and community events and the promotion of local causes.
Volunteers who have a minimum of four weeks available can apply to join Love Volunteer’s program for the empowerment of women. It is located in Rabat. Volunteers must be at least 18 years old and have an up-to-date police clearance. Duties and expectations are varied, though the organization will tailor your experience depending on your skills and qualifications. There is a cost to take part in the program, and accommodation and meals are included.
The program’s goals are to educate females who have no other educational opportunities, and to equip them with useful knowledge and skills so as to be more able to enter the workplace and live in a self-sustainable and independent manner. Volunteers largely assist with skill-based workshops, literacy, numeracy, and communication. There are also opportunities for people with a background in counseling, social work, education, and women’s development to take on a more in-depth role.
Deciding whether or not to volunteer, in Morocco or elsewhere, can be tricky. Though many people want to somehow help the local community, there are many ethical considerations to ponder first. Will your presence take a job away from a local? Does the opportunity ultimately lead to abuse through a demand for voluntourism? Are you qualified to do the job well? Is the opportunity simply a money-making venture rather than actually assisting? Do projects encourage assistance on outside aid? Does the organization seek to influence the local culture or religious beliefs?
These issues are not unique to Morocco, but are things everyone should give plenty of thought to before volunteering. Adequate research is essential before taking up any voluntary work but, with the right preparation, volunteering in Morocco can be a wonderful way to have a new experience, make new friends, and help the community in various fields.