Morocco, 2013

In October 2013, board member Kelli Strieby and founder and director Hannah Richards traveled to Morocco delivering art supplies and facilitating workshops with more than 1,200 children. Over the course of one week, Kelli and Hannah, in partnership with several Peace Corps volunteers, visited various schools and youth and women’s centers across the country, specifically in Tameslhout, Houara, Issafen, and Tissint.

The Colored Pencil Project’s Moroccan trip proved an especially significant milestone as our organization was able to reach our 10,000th child since our founding in 2007.

A few facts about Morocco:

  1. Morocco is an ethnically diverse country with a rich culture and civilization. Islam is the official religion of Morocco but the constitution allows freedom to practice one’s own religion. Prayer is an important part of the day; the call to prayer is recited by the muezzin at prescribed times of the day.
  2. Morocco ended 2013 with a population of 32,853,000 people. The female population is greater, with 16,498,066 women, representing 50.21% of the total, compared to 48.77% men.
  3. Young people in Morocco make up 30% of the population, and one tenth of the region’s total youth population. A recent World Bank survey revealed that 49% of Moroccan youth are neither in school, nor the workforce.
  4. The education system in Morocco is composed of pre-school, primary, secondary and tertiary levels. Government efforts to increase the availability of education services have led to increased access at all levels of education; however there is still much work to be done within the education sector.
  5. Low literacy continues to be a major problem in Morocco. In 2007, the adult illiteracy rate was around 40 percent. Morocco is one of the five Arab countries in which 70 percent of the some 70 million illiterate adults in the Arab world are concentrated. In rural areas and for females the problem is even worse; three quarters of women were considered to be illiterate in 2004.

(Sources: World Bank, United Nations, UNESCO)