Volunteer in Morocco - Marrakech
At a glance…
- Available year-round
- 7 meaningful projects including Amazigh Immersion
- Projects based in Marrakech and in the Atlas Mountains
- Accommodation in homestays
- Program fees include airport pick-up, orientation, accommodation, meals and 24/7 in-country support
- Program fees from $330 for 1 week
- Weekend travel opportunities in Africa and Europe
- Between 5 and 15 volunteers start in Marrakech each month
- Most affordable fees - as the world leader in affordable volunteer travel, we’re able to keep our fees low by partnering with a local organization in Morocco to support meaningful community projects and local employment.
- Superior support - your experienced IVHQ Program Manager, teamed with our local team in Morocco will ensure you feel supported every step of the way - from planning to volunteering.
- Responsible projects - we’re dedicated to ensuring that our projects are responsibly run and have sustainable positive impacts that are supporting local needs.
- Online training - as soon as you register on an IVHQ program, you will gain access to our interactive volunteer training to ensure you’re well prepared for your program.
- Safety-first - volunteer safety is a top priority for IVHQ and we have clear standards for risk management on each program. You can feel confident that you are placed with trustworthy institutions, organizations and families that have been screened by our local teams.
- New friendships - as an IVHQer, you’ll always be in the company of friendly locals and like-minded volunteer travelers who will quickly become your life-long friends.
- Epic weekend adventures - you’ll have your weekends free to explore Morocco with your new-found friends.
The volunteer program is located in Marrakech, a former imperial city in Western Morocco. Volunteer placements are located throughout the wider city area of Marrakech as well as the nearby Atlas Mountains.
The program begins on the second and fourth Monday of every month. Volunteers can choose to volunteer for periods ranging from 1 week to 24 weeks.
Amazigh Immersion - Atlas Mountains
The Amazigh (Berber) community is made up of the descendants of the indigenous, pre-Arab inhabitants of North Africa. This project provides volunteers with the unique opportunity to work within an Amazigh village while helping villagers with their daily tasks, and providing them with new skills to help improve their daily life. Volunteers are placed in rural villages in the Atlas Mountains and work in local community centers where they assist with teaching, childcare and women’s education. Additionally, volunteers have the opportunity to provide intensive English language classes to children, teenagers, and adults in the local village.
Although the Moroccan Government is working hard to improve literacy and promote professional development through the National Initiative for Human Development (NIHD), a large percentage of Moroccan children and teenagers are not given the chance to acquire marketable skills. These young Moroccans are aware that speaking a second language will enable them to further their education and integrate well into the job market. Volunteers on the Teaching English project are placed in local community centers that provide free or very low cost language classes to members of the local community. Volunteers can teach children, teenagers or adults, depending on the center in which they are placed. These centers often lack structure and organization which requires volunteers to be adaptable and use their initiative to be effective in their placements. Volunteers assist the staff at these centers by running intensive language classes, providing tutoring for school exams, helping with homework, and organizing educational games and activities. Often volunteers will run classes in tandem with another international volunteer. As volunteers work with the support of IVHQ’s local team and placement staff, they do not need to be qualified or experienced teachers to participate. However, we encourage volunteers to come prepared by completing some relevant training. Visit our Online TEFL course page to learn how to gain an internationally-recognized TEFL certification.
French serves as a second language in many educated echelons within Morocco and while it is considered an unofficial third language after Modern Standard Arabic and Berber, it is the primary language of commerce and economics in Morocco. In order for young Moroccans to acquire marketable skills and integrate well into the job market, they need to have a strong grasp of the French language. Volunteers on the Teaching French project are placed in local community centers that provide free or very low cost language classes to members of the local community. Volunteers can teach children, teenagers or adults, depending on the center in which in which they are placed. These centers often lack structure and organization which requires volunteers to be adaptable and use their initiative to be effective in their placements. Volunteers assist the staff at these centers by running intensive language classes, providing tutoring for school exams, helping with homework, and organizing educational games and activities. Often volunteers will run classes in tandem with another international volunteer. Volunteers who wish to join the Teaching French project must be fluent in French but do not need to be qualified or experienced teachers in order to participate.
Volunteers on the Childcare project work with children from disadvantaged neighbourhoods through organizing and engaging in activities to entertain the children and help develop their cognitive skills. Volunteers have the opportunity to work alongside local staff to design daily activities for the children, incorporating teaching Basic English, physical development activities (music and dance, theatre, toys and games), and arts and craft (painting and drawing). The aim of this project is for volunteers to provide underprivileged children in Marrakech with new, enriching and exciting activities.
Agriculture - Atlas Mountains
The Agriculture Project in Marrakech is designed for those volunteers who enjoy the more physical aspect of volunteering and don’t mind getting their hands dirty. The focus of this project is to assist farmers in the rural villages of the Amazigh (Berber) community, in order to improve their farming outcome. Volunteers will be located in the Atlas Mountains and work involves feeding animals, managing offspring, milking, and identifying additional husbandry needs. Volunteers also have the opportunity to assist farmers in ploughing, seeding, weeding, and harvesting, and are encouraged to teach Basic English to the farmers they are placed with.
Many women in Morocco suffer from poverty, illiteracy and unemployment, affecting their social environment and in turn their children’s education. Since the establishment of the NIHD (National Initiative for Human Development) in 2005, the Moroccan Government has been working hard to improve education, health, and the promotion of income generating activities for women. The Women’s Education project aims to enable local Moroccan women to improve their literacy levels and to provide them with professional development opportunities. Volunteers work in local organizations in Marrakech or rural villages with local women and young girls. Volunteers will focus primarily on education and teaching during their time in Marrakech. However, other tasks can sometimes include sewing, teaching art, arranging sport and activities, teaching French and/or English, computer training, offering academic support, and occasional childcare. Volunteers with relevant skills can also provide training in finance, management, income generating trade activities, health, communication, women’s rights and single parenting. Additionally, volunteers with a background in business management can assist in creating and managing online databases to showcase and sell items made by women in these associations. Volunteers with a background in education can also provide training to local teaching staff in best practice education and gender equality. These additional volunteer tasks are dependent on your program duration, as longer term volunteers with confidence in communicating in French and/or Arabic will have more opportunities to get involved in these activities, provided they have relevant training. This program provides volunteers with a genuine cross-cultural experience, as women who attend the local organizations often reciprocate by teaching volunteers their local customs, some of which include cooking and sewing. The majority of women who you will work with in the Women’s Education project have limited or no English language skills, and we therefore recommend you come with a basic understanding of French and/or Arabic as this will be of assistance during your time on the program, although it is not a requirement to participate.
Special Needs Care
The Special Needs Care project provides volunteers with the opportunity to motivate and enrich the lives of people living with disabilities. Due to the social stigma and lack of governmental support, there are many families in Morocco who are unable to properly care for family members (young children and adults) with mental and physical disabilities such as Autism, Cerebral Palsy and Down syndrome. Volunteers will be expected to assist in the planning of games and educational activities for children and adults in special needs centers, while also caring for them. For those with physical therapy training or experience, your tasks can include assisting with treatment, physiotherapy and rehabilitation for the children and adults. While some basic resources are available, volunteers will be required to use their initiative to develop activities and bringing resources to assist with pre-planned activities is encouraged. Volunteers who apply for the Special Needs Care project must be qualified in Special Education or Physical Therapies, or be in the process of obtaining either of these certifications.
Orientation will be held on the first Monday morning of your volunteer program and lasts for a full day. The orientation will be conducted by the Morocco - Marrakech local team and cover everything you need to know for your time in Marrakech. It will include an introduction to the IVHQ Morocco - Marrakech Program and the local team, rules and expectations, health and safety, do’s and don’ts in Morocco, a basic Arabic and French language lesson, cultural knowledge and a city tour. Orientation will also give you a chance to sign up for Arabic and French language lessons and to meet other volunteers with whom you can swap contact details for weekend travel and socializing. Your specific placement orientation will be held the following day and you will be shown how to travel to and from your placement, receive an introduction to your placement and then complete a few hours of volunteering.
On your first day of volunteering, you will be escorted to your placement by a local coordinator and introduced to the placement staff you will be working with. A typical volunteer day would be as follows:
8.00 AM Breakfast at the homestay.
9:00-10:00 AM Volunteers leave home and travel to their placements. Work and hours are dependent on the project and placement that each volunteer is working at. There is a tea break and lunch break with times varying depending on the placement.
2.00 PM - 5.00 PM Work at the placement usually ends. Volunteers are free to travel home, prepare for the next day or do some shopping and sightseeing.
8.00 PM Dinner at the homestay.
Please note, this schedule can vary depending on the particular project the volunteer in participating on.
Volunteers are accommodated in a homestay where they will live with a local family and other volunteers. These families receive money from your program fee for support, food and board. It’s exciting to stay with a family, as this is an opportunity to learn the Moroccan way of life, meet local people, eat local food, speak the local language (Darija: the Moroccan Arabic dialect) and engage in the local customs and traditions. Living is basic, yet still comfortable, and most homestays have electricity and running water. Volunteers can expect to share a room with two to four other volunteers; however in some homestays volunteers have their own rooms. It is important to note that Moroccan homes have a shared living environment in which Sdader’s (Moroccan couches) are used as beds within the homes while also used during the day for sitting and dining. Volunteers participating on the Amazigh Immersion and Agriculture projects stay in very basic homes located in the Atlas Mountains. During winter in the Atlas Mountain, you can expect very cold temperatures and we recommend packing a sleeping bag and additional layers to keep warm at night.
Influenced by African, Arab, Moorish and Berber cuisines, Moroccan cooking blends Mediterranean fruits and vegetables with spices, typically imported. A typical Moroccan meal begins with a series of hot and cold salads, followed by a tagine (Moroccan stew) and bread is eaten with every meal. Lamb or chicken dishes are common, as is couscous topped with meat and vegetables. The consumption of pork and alcohol are prohibited as per Muslim dietary restrictions and drinking mint tea is a daily tradition. Volunteers are served three meals per day (breakfast, lunch and dinner) during the program. Bottled water is readily available in Morocco and volunteers should budget approximately US$5 per week for this (2 liters per day). If you have any special dietary requirements, please let us know well in advance of your program so our local team can make arrangements for you. We do, however need to stress the point that you should not expect to eat as you normally do at home. We will do our best to see that you are well taken care of, but also as a volunteer, there is a need to be flexible.
During the weekends, volunteers have spare time and usually just relax or take the opportunity to explore other parts of Marrakech and Morocco. Long weekends can be taken to travel further afield to destinations such as Rabat, Merzouga (Dunes), Tinghir (Ksabah), Fes, Meknes (imperial cities), Volubilis (Roman), Tanger, and south of Europe (Gibraltar, Andalusia, Portugal, south of Spain).
See our Marrakech Travel and Tours page to learn more about the volunteer travel options in Marrakech!
|Languages||Arabic and Berber|
|Currency||Moroccan Dirham (MAD)|
Weather and climate: Morocco has a Mediterranean climate that is generally hot and dry for most of the year, with cooler, yet still mild, temperatures and rainfall during the winter months between November and March. Morocco has widely varying terrain and the climate varies greatly throughout the country. Temperatures can be incredibly high in the southern and south eastern desert areas whereas, the temperature drops considerably in the higher lying mountainous areas, even dropping to freezing point at night. In Rabat, temperatures reach an average high of 27°C (80.6°F) in the summer months and an average high of 17°C (62.6°F) in the winter months. Temperatures can drop to an average of 7°C (44.6°F) in the winter and it is generally always cold in the evenings throughout the year.
Volunteers need to be 18 years or over to participate, unless volunteering with a guardian. All volunteers are required to have adequate volunteer travel insurance and provide a criminal background check to IVHQ’s local team on arrival in Marrakech. Additional requirements apply for Teaching French as outlined in the project description below.
It is not a prerequisite for volunteers to speak Arabic or French, however volunteer work can sometimes be restricted for those with limited Arabic and/or French language skills. Volunteers on the Teaching French project must be fluent in French. Volunteers can take advantage of Arabic and French lessons offered exclusively to IVHQ volunteers by our program staff in Marrakech.
Free Interactive Volunteer Training - All volunteers are encouraged to complete our interactive pre-departure training, which is available exclusively to registered IVHQ volunteers. The training is designed to build an understanding of important aspects that need to be considered before embarking on an IVHQ program. It helps volunteers to prepare in the right way by providing advice on what it takes to be a safe, responsible and valuable volunteer. Try a sample of the training here.
Volunteer Language Lessons - Our program staff in Marrakech offer Arabic and French lessons to volunteers, which can be organized during the program orientation and are tailored to each volunteer’s current level of Arabic or French. Past volunteers feel that taking these lessons can help you immensely with your day to day volunteer work and communicating with local people. Volunteers wishing to participate in language lessons can make arrangements through our local team during orientation.
- 10 Hour Package – US$204
- 20 Hour Package – US$409
- 30 Hour Package – US$614
- 40 Hour Package – US$819