Valentin Hervouet (left) and Mohamed Benjmoud, national UN Volunteer, at the Afoulki argan oil and honey producing cooperative in Morocco. (UNV, 2015)

Addressing climate change in Morocco

Valentin Hervouet, a UN Youth Volunteer in Local Governance and Development with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), was deployed in Morocco from September 2015 to September 2016. His assignment was funded by the Government of France.

I was especially interested in supporting local development and climate action projects.

I provided programme management support for a variety of projects that were related to renewable energy, climate change mitigation and adaptation, and sustainable local development.

Supporting civil society initiatives for climate action in Morocco, and providing communication support to UNDP during the Conference of Parties (COP22) in Marrakech in November 2016 was a major highlight for me. In this regard, I assisted the office’s senior management and programme team by coordinating activities to monitor resource mobilization for new projects.

What I enjoyed most about my work was to be able to facilitate capacity building sessions for Moroccan youth around the issues of volunteering, development and resilience.

This experience helped me make inroads with young Moroccans.

To be able to contribute positively towards the work of the United Nations and to its mandate of peace and development was very enriching for me.

Volunteering gave me the opportunity to engage with local community volunteers and share experiences – I met youth who were serving as local development agents, women working at the Argan oil cooperatives, and many others involved in disaster response after the catastrophic floods in Sidi Ifni province in November 2014.

Morocco, though a politically stable country, faces challenges in areas of education, employment, climate action and gender equality. Through my UN Youth Volunteer assignment, I was able to address some of the climate change mitigation and adaptation issues facing a middle-income country.

My work became a platform through which I engaged with local youth from Moroccan civil society. While facilitating capacity building trainings in rural areas, what amazed me was that by applying the sustainable development goals in their local context, the youth were able to do role play and question each other and themselves about how they can improve the development of their communities.

Getting to actually work at the grassroots level – that is what volunteering is all about. To be embedded into local communities and work in non-profit endeavors. To create awareness for more cooperation and solidarity. And all this to advance sustainable development.

In a nutshell, this experience helped me make inroads with young Moroccans – their commitment and enthusiasm is not only motivating but inspiring!