Guest Blogger-Kristen Young

 

 Kristen

The Hassan II Mosque in Casblanca-Hotel View

The Hassan II Mosque in Casblanca-Hotel View

I’m a second year graduate student in the MPA program at CofC. It’s awesome… I’m a lucky girl. Also, I am an Aries, I love Thai food, and baking, and basically food in general. And riding my bike.

My Organization: A very brief articulation of events, from the beginning

Once upon a time in 2009, my best friend Joe entered the United States Peace Corps in Morocco. The Kingdom of Morocco suffers from an intensely high population of disaffected youth. As a volunteer project, two Joe’s colleagues, named Mark and James, created a pretty outstanding peer education program in Errachidia, Morocco that allowed the students a social and educational outlet. It was a success. And luckily for us, they wrote a manual.

Fast Forward to August 2012, Joe and I are filing for incorporation for our own legal 501 (c) 3 nonprofit. Obviously lots of stuff happened in between that time that led us to realize that this would be a perfect venture. For one, Joe and I both went to grad school knowing we wanted to have careers in public service. Joe is the visionary, and I am the organizer. School gave us the tools and the know-how to pursue our interests. Through research and experience we realized need for community development in Morocco. We came up with a plan for creating an NGO using the manual from the previously successful PCV program, and called it Creativity and Communtiy Development: Morocco Inc. (CCDM)

CCDM is located in Ouaouizerth (Wah-WE-zart) Morocco, nestled in the High Atlas Mountains. We have recognized that the community is in need of basic services such as health education, job training, and women’s empowerment. Ultimately, the mission of the organizaiton is simple: 

To improve the lives of Moroccan youth and the development of the Ouaouizert community by facilitating peer-to-peer educational pathways in basic health, job training, and women’s empowerment.

So what is peer education, exactly? And what about it is sustainable?

Peer education is an approach to community development in which members are supported to promote healthy behaviors, knowledge and ideas among their peers. Rather than a group of Americans educating Moroccans, the idea is that citizens are in the best position to encourage development to each other.

CCDM promotes this, and we have now grown to a 7 member board comprised of both Moroccans and Americans. We approach learning as a partnership and recognize the importance of fostering global alliances. Initial projects are scheduled to be implemented later this summer. Check us out here: www.ccdmorocco.com 

My Research…

…Is a case study that will examine NGO’s in Morocco, particularly the High Atlas region, in an attempt to identify some strategic recommendations for CCDM as well as other associations. In Morocco, associations are prominent social service entities that fill much-needed gaps in government service provison. My data will be the personal accounts of organizational figures and community members, taken through qualitative interviews. That is, I get to go chill out in Morocco for a whole month and talk to people about what really affects their quality of life. And, I got sponsered by the very prestigious and super helpful Historic Rotary Club of Charleston, South Carolina (many, many thanks). Please follow my blog:  Threelayercake.tumblr.com

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