Community Partner: Atlas Cultural Foundation
Program Coordinates: 31◦ 50’ 16.90” N, 6◦ 06’ 38.72” W
Dates: All year, except for November, December and January.
Languages: English, French, Arabic, Berber
Volunteer Age: Applicants must be 18 or older. Minor applicants must be pre-screened.
Prerequisites: Acceptance via application review.
Application Form: Contact us to apply
Volunteers must speak English at native fluency. Programs are designed to fit the applicants’ skills and interests and to provide a service to a pressing community development issue.
• Teaching English
• Computer Training
• Community Garden
The below prices are approximate and are based on 6 nights, 7 days in the village. Additional logistics, such as food and lodging in Marrakech can be added.
Volunteers can choose between two levels of accommodation.
Guesthouse Option – Gite Amahdar
(shared sleeping rooms and shared bathrooms)
The guesthouse is a registered guesthouse and is owned by the sheikh of Zawiya Ahansal. Volunteers will live with the sheikh and his family in the heart of the village of Aguddim. Meals are served as a group and are traditional Moroccan cuisine.
First week: $1040 USD
Each additional week: $680 USD
Hotel Option – Dar Ahansal (private sleeping rooms with private bathrooms)
The president of the local association Amezray SMNID owns Dar Ahansal. Built by local craftsmen out of traditional materials and with centuries’ old methods Dar Ahansal is a unique retreat in this remote region. Meals are served in the dining room and are an example of the best Morocco food you can find.
Double Room (per person)
First week: $1290
Each additional week: $800
*Single supplements are required for single rooms.
Included in cost:
Airport Transfers upon arrival and departure to Marrakech, Morocco.
Transfers between Marrakech and Zawiya Ahansal with a licensed Moroccan transport company.
Lodging in Zawiya Ahansal.
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner in Zawiya Ahansal.
Treated and/or bottled drinking water.
English/Berber/Arabic/French translator and local service program liaison.
Moroccan mobile phone.
Program pre departure orientation (via email and Skype).
Arrival orientation in Marrakech and in Zawiya Ahansal.
Oversight of service program development and curriculum.
Organization, budgeting, approvals, paperwork, and design of all community service projects. All service projects are locally driven, approved, and benefit the region’s long-term goals.
Submittal of passport information to local and regional authorities. Communication with local partner, Moroccan authorities and tribal leaders.
Program reader and local language phrasebooks and dictionary.
Not included in cost: International airfare. Personal travel before or after program or on weekends. Insurance (proof of international health and travel and rescue insurance required). Personal items. Communications (internet and international phone calls).
ACA’s volunteer vacation program offers volunteers the opportunity to assist in ongoing community development in the rural communities of the Zawiya Ahansal region in the Central High Atlas Mountains of Morocco.
Volunteers will work four to eight hours per day, five days a week, with the Atlas Cultural Foundation and their partners to assist with community development projects in addition to living and learning with the local community. Volunteers will be provided with a translator based on their language skills and ability.
The program offers one to four week placements. The foundation of the volunteer program is a real world experience of living, working, and learning in a rural Moroccan village. Volunteers engage in meaningful, community-identified work; are immersed in an intercultural living environment in which they engage in cross-cultural dialogue; observe, study, and participate in the host culture; work with staff and locals; and generally engage in a variety of formal and informal intercultural exchanges.
What to Expect:
Zawiya Ahansal is a remote and mountainous region located between 5,000 and 12,000 feet in Morocco’s Central High Atlas Mountains. It is a high desert region with temperatures extremes in May and June ranging between 32 and 100 F. Regional equivalents are the City of Rocks in Idaho and southern Utah. Volunteers should be prepared and comfortable with working in all weather, including rain, wind, and heat and should be physically fit and able to hike in mountainous terrain. In addition, all volunteers will need to be physically able to work and hike at 6000 feet above sea level for extended periods of time. Volunteers will be living with local families in registered guesthouses and hotels and should therefore be comfortable with and respectful of Muslim culture. Meals are prepared by your host family and are traditional Moroccan cuisine.
Program highlights include:
• Living with the sheikh of Zawiya Ahansal.
• Assisting the Atlas Cultural Foundation.
• Learning about non-profit Moroccan association structure.
• Trekking in the Atlas Mountains.
• Touring the medieval city, or medina, of Marrakech.
• Enjoying the region’s natural surroundings during days off.
On your days off you will have the opportunity to enjoy a multitude of outdoor endeavors in the region of Zawiya Ahansal. Such activities include day hiking, trail running and world-class rock climbing in the Taghia Cirque (if you have previous skills and your own equipment or you hire a guide). You will also have time to wander through the villages to take pictures, visit the local market and sketch and journal.
Program Learning Outcomes:
During their volunteer time, all volunteers will learn, do, and obtain some of the following:
• Develop an understanding of traditional methods and techniques
• Develop interpersonal communication and collaboration skills
• Develop problem solving and critical thinking skills
• Obtain models of alternative career development in your field
• Participate in and gain knowledge of sustainable community development and international non-profit management
• Increase self-awareness
• Increase cross-cultural observational and communication skills
• Enhance intercultural sensitivity and understanding
Community/Global Citizen Skills
• Develop increased civic responsibility
• Increase global awareness