volunteering moroccoPerhaps you want to give something back to Morocco or maybe you simply want to mingle with the locals and see another side of the country. There are many reasons why people volunteer in Morocco, and there are many international and local organizations that need volunteers for development projects and language programs.

Most volunteer programs charge a fee and offer accommodations, meals and transportation as part of the program. Some volunteer programs also include various tours that take you through Morocco and act more like traditional tour groups with occasional volunteer projects rather than sole volunteer ventures.

Be weary of programs that charge an excessively large fee and make sure the money you are paying to volunteer is staying in the community. Sadly, many volunteers placed in local non-profit organizations see very little of the fees paid to for-profit tour agencies.

Booking a volunteer trip with a placement company does have its advantages though. These companies match you to a suitable organization and provide training and language classes. They often organize all your transportation and accommodation needs as well. Start looking for volunteer opportunities of interest by searching sites like Idealist and Volunteer Abroad or cruising the Lonely Planet Thorn Tree Forum for advice from fellow travelers.

You can also contact a Moroccan non-profit organization directly and inquire about volunteer projects on your own. Baraka Community Partnerships is a community-based organization that does not charge travelers to volunteer on their projects. Baraka is working toward improving health care and schools in the Moroccan village of Tijhza, an isolated community of villages in the Atlas Mountains. The organization also aims to raise environmental awareness and help the poorer members of the village. Volunteers are needed to repair homes in the village that are in disrepair, help with reforestation and implement sustainability projects.

For travelers looking for more long-term volunteer opportunities, the United States Peace Corps has a large presence in Morocco and is currently looking for volunteers to work on health, environmental, small business and youth development projects. Also consider teaching English as a foreign language in Morocco. These teaching programs typically require a one-year commitment, and room, board and an hourly wage are often included.

Morocco has many opportunities to teach English, build schools, organize activities for children in orphanages, work on sustainability projects and even volunteer on whale-watching boats. Do some research and you should have no problem finding the right opportunity for you.

Written by Amiee Maxwell.

Photo by Daniel Gasienica.