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e-volunteer - Education Support for Girls in Morocco (EV)

Location: Morocco
Project type: e-volunteer
Price from: £0 - details below


This project helps girls from remote villages to continue with their education.Link up from home with the girls and their house-mothers, help to improve their language skills and their confidence in speaking English.Learn about Berber culture


Skills required

We work closely with the local people who manage this project, and they have identified their primary volunteer needs for the e-volunteer programme.

Volunteers will be welcomed with any of the following skills and experience:

  • people willing to take part in regular conversation sessions in English
  • people able to provide support for the girls in English composition and grammar 
  • English teachers 
  • French teachers
  • TEFL / EFL / TESL experience would be especially welcome
  • teachers/classroom assistants in all subjects who could work with 11-18 year olds in small groups
  • life skills - particularly mentoring and supporting the girls in their studies and preparation for leaving school
  • skills in art, crafts and/or music
This programme offers the opportunity to volunteer from home for little or no cost.

Main project details

"If you educate a girl you educate the next generation as well".

This project is working with a charity that builds and runs girls' boarding houses near secondary colleges and lycées in the High Atlas Mountains, providing the opportunity for selected girls from villages across the region to continue their education.

Through the project's provision of boarding houses, girls gain access to a secondary education and the chance to fulfil their potential in an environment that promotes academic study and social understanding. The goal is to make a difference to the lives of these girls now, and thus change many more in the future.

In March 2020 the schools closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the girls had to leave their boarding houses and go home to their remote villages.  Good online teaching was available but many girls had no laptop or Internet access so were missing out on vital education, even though the older girls were still expected to return to school to sit their exams.  After a very successful appeal, the charity provided tablets for all girls in exam classes to enable them to continue their studies.  Throughout the lockdown volunteers provided support to the house-mothers through online English conversation sessions.  When the girls return to their boarding houses this will be extended so volunteers can also work with some of the girls.  Our partners in Morocco say:

'This crisis hasn't stopped our volunteers who always provide us with support from a distance!  Since the beginning of the lockdown we have been hosting English conversation sessions remotely to help our house managers improve their English level.  It's a real sucess and we plan to extend these sessions so our girls can enjoy them too!'

This innovative project is also working towards Goal 3 of the United Nations Millennium Development Goal (MDG), specifically: to promote gender equality and empower women. The MDG Goal 3 target is to eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education, and in all levels of education no later than 2015.

As is often the case, the need for accommodation is greater than can be realistically provided. There are three criteria for each intake:

  • Poverty - the family is too poor to consider other options;
  • Distance - the family lives too far from the college for their daughter to travel every day;
  • Academic potential - each girl is assessed for her potential to succeed at college if she were to be given a place in the house.

The boarding houses are more than just a place to stay! The girls are offered activities and experiences to support and enrich their education, beyond what they learn at school, such as:

  • Regular, well-run, daily programmes that provides much-needed structure for the girls to succeed in their studies;
  • Individual support and attention to their academic progress from their housemother, who liaises closely with the college;
  • Educational talks and activities from regular visitors to the house, ranging from environmental awareness, to careers talks, to art sessions or sports; and occasional visits to places of interest, broadening the girls' very limited experience of travel within their own country.

The first boarding house opened in Asni in 2008. In September 2009 a second house was opened in Talat n'Yacoub (100km from Marrakech), and in 2011 a third house opened in Ouirgane.  Each of these houses caters for girls aged 11-14 and enables them to attend the college which is within walking distance of their house.  By 2013 the houses were providing homes for more than 100 girls and it was clear that there was a demand for places not only to enable 11-14 year olds to attend college but also for 15-17 year olds to complete the next stage of their education at the lycée.  In 2013 the first EFA girls received their baccalaureate and went on to university, and two more boarding houses were opened in Asni, providing places for 92 girls to study for their baccalaureate, with Asni 2 opening in 2013 and Asni 3 in 2015.

The volunteer programme is based at the houses in Asni, though volunteers may also spend some time at Dar Ouirgane which is only a 20 minute taxi ride away. Latifa (the first house mother and now in overall charge of all the houses) welcomes volunteers to help her in providing pastoral and educational support to the girls. The goal is to enable the girls to reach their potential - whether they choose to return to their villages, to continue with further education, or enter employment.

"Without the boarding houses it would be impossible for these girls to attend secondary schools - they all come from remote villages high in the Atlas Mountains.  They are all so keen to make the most of the opportunity they have been given.  They work incredibly hard as they are determined to pass their exams, and they also enjoy living in the supportive and caring atmosphere which the boarding house provides.  It was a privilege to work with them." Dianne

To learn more about how the volunteer programme works with this project click here

Context

Very few girls from rural communities in Morocco continue their education after primary school. The secondary colleges are too far away from the villages for the girls to travel every day. Their parents are too poor to afford lodgings near to the colleges, and available accommodation is usually over stretched and inadequate. Parents do not have the confidence in any of the facilities to entrust their daughters to be away from their rural communities.

Morocco is a country in transition and with an increasing proportion of youth.  Slow but steady economic growth has helped reduce poverty rates, but, in most rural communities, there is still real economic poverty and a dearth of available opportunities for education. School dropout rates are high in Morocco (about 38 per cent for both elementary and secondary levels according to UNICEF). Literacy rates have improved in the past few years, but remain very low for women, at 38 per cent.(UNICEF)

The High Atlas features some of the most beautiful regions of Morocco. These mountains are the highest in the area, with Toubkal reaching to 4165 metres above sea level.  Asni is situated in the foothills of the High Atlas and is a small town lying on the two main routes into the Atlas Mountains. 

The High Atlas villages are Berber, where hospitality and warm friendliness are deeply-rooted in the culture. For the girls supported by the project, these are their home villages and culture.

Volunteer opportunities with Berber girls in their residential homes - whether you are a professional teacher or classroom assistant, retired or in work and looking for a career break, you can share your language skills and experience with the girls in this broad education  project. Other skills and experience will be welcomed too - take a look at the list of needs, as identified by the project, near the top of this page. Take part in responsible volunteer work overseas.

 

Minimum duration

Flexible, depending on the type of e-volunteering work you are able to do

Living Conditions

You will work from your own home

Project costs

This e-volunteering project is a pilot project and as a gesture of goodwill people and places will not be charging a matching fee for any work undertaken before the end of March 2021.  
 
You will need to go through the people and places matching and monitoring process, which includes an up-to-date enhanced DBS check - if you require a new DBS check the cost is currently £18.
 
Depending on the work you are doing you will be asked to make a small contribution to the project you will be working with.
 
You will also need to cover the cost of any resources you wish to buy to support your e-volunteering work.
 
If you or your friends and family wish to make further donations to this project please contact us at sallie@travel-peopleandplaces.co.uk

Recommended reading

Publication - The Berbers (The Peoples of Africa) 
 
http://www.everyculture.com/Africa-Middle-East/Berbers-of-Morocco.html
 
2011 UN report - Youth in Africa
 
Check out slideshare | youtube | our blog | facebook for volunteer interviews & project news

Registered volunteers can learn about the local team for this project - LOG ON to learn more about this project and the local team we work with. Not registered yet? It's easy and free HERE!


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