Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Some of the work I've done recently

You might already know that International Women's Day was last week - If you didn't, you can read a bit more about it in my blog post from last year. This day marked the culmination of a few fun projects that I've been working on, so I wanted to share them with you!

My role as the Chair of Peace Corps Morocco's Gender and Development (GAD) Committee is to help motivate Peace Corps Volunteers to plan gender awareness activities for women and men, boys and girls, in towns throughout Morocco. The Committee tries to create resources to provide Volunteers with ideas for projects and helpful information on gender-specific language, cultural ideas, and current events. As International Women's Day is a great opportunity to do gender awareness programming in Moroccan communities, we wanted to focus great effort on motivating and supporting Volunteers during this time. So here are some of the things that we did:

  • Created a toolkit for Volunteers with 5 different types of activities that they could do during International Women's Day, with topics ranging from volunteerism to leadership, harassment to empowerment. If you are interested in seeing the toolkit, you can view and download it here.
  • Partnered with the "Division des Affairs Feminines" (the Division of Women's Affairs) of the Moroccan government to plan a special event to celebrate women and to symbolically launch a week of gender programming throughout the country.
  • Partnered with the U.S. Embassy to print t-shirts that we distributed to Peace Corps Volunteers who committed to leading a gender awareness activity during this time. We also printed stickers to match the t-shirts that Volunteers could give out in their communities.

I'm so excited to say that almost one-third of the Peace Corps Volunteers in Morocco committed to leading a gender awareness activity in their communities! Which means that if each event has 20 people, we will have reached thousands of people with programs ranging from leadership to volunteerism, running to empowerment, women’s and girl’s health to film screenings, harassment to art, women's rights awareness to employment, self-esteem to gender roles and stereotypes… and the list goes on and on!

Yesterday, I attended the event that I helped to plan in conjunction with Peace Corps staff and the Moroccan government. I was asked to deliver a speech at this event on behalf of the Peace Corps, highlighting Volunteers' gender-focused work in Morocco during this time. The most exciting part of the speech, for me, was that I chose to challenge myself and deliver the speech by myself in ARABIC, instead of with a translator. I wrote the speech in English, translated it into Moroccan Arabic, then sat with a friend to review the speech line by line (special thanks and a shout-out to Abdellah Boutahar!). I was really happy to see that I was able, fairly successfully, to write most of the speech by myself, and when an American started delivering a full speech in Moroccan Arabic, the crowd was blown away! I gave my speech alongside several Moroccan government officials, and I was told that many people thought my speech was the highlight. It was a massive language challenge and I'm so excited that it was a success.

So that's what I've been doing lately! Justin and I have a few other projects up our sleeves in the coming months, so you'll be hearing more about those soon. Enjoy a few photos from yesterday's event:
Schmoozing with the Minister of Youth and Sports,
along with the Peace Corps Country Director.
With other members of the GAD Committee, showing off our t-shirts.
Dancers from Casablanca perform at the event.
Last minute language prepping before my speech.
Delivering my speech!
I love this paparazzi shot - I am being audio recorded,
video recorded, and photographed all at once!


  1. Lauren,
    You are my hero! I can only imagine the impact you are making. Plus, you look amazing in these photos!