Every interesting adventure has a starting point. My journey as a youth worker started in 2017 as a participant in one of the Erasmus+ exchange programs in my local city, Agadir. Taking part in the program’s intercultural activities, and getting to know people from different backgrounds inserted in me the desire to learn more about this field and to become more included in its activities as a participant or as an organiser.
Years after, I found myself involved in national and international activities that promote youth participation in civic engagement. I became a certified trainer with the Erasmus+ virtual Exchange program and the Young Mediterranean program. Both programs provided me the platform to equip young people from both sides of the Mediterranean with debate skills which are essential as we live in an advanced era that requires people to be effective speakers, critical thinkers, and open to cultural differences.
As a master’s student, far away from home, I gave a promise to myself to effectively use my time and be engaged in social work and non-profit organisations. I’m happy to report that I did keep my promise and I had the chance to participate in conferences, workshops, and cultural manifestations in Morocco, Jordan, Tunisia, and France. I was exposed to different topics such as storytelling for social impact, preventing gender-based violence, the use of social media to stop hate speech, cultural training using non-formal education, and many more. One of the highlights of my journey is being a participant in the Youth Preventing Violent Extremism work camp in Meknes, which was organized by CCIVS. Thanks to that activity, I had the opportunity to discover a new city that speaks cultural heritage everywhere you go. I was able to connect with youth workers from different countries. I also had the chance to equip myself with interactive tools while working with youth.
Thanks to the experience I have gained over the past years, I was able to transform the knowledge and the skills I gained into online and in-person projects. This year, I had the chance to coordinate two online projects. One of the projects is called Eco-AYA (Ecological Advocacy Youth Action) which provided the youth participants with communication and advocacy skills to defend climate causes. The second project is called YALA (Youth Advocacy Local Action). It equipped the youth participants with leadership skills and knowledge to write effective policy papers where they advocate for local issues of their interest.
For me, to be a youth worker means to be engaged with youth work. It is about being in contact with young people to understand their needs and transform them into actions that would enable them to grow and evolve.
Being a youth worker can be defined differently according to context, time, and culture. For me, to be a youth worker means to be engaged with youth work. It is about being in contact with young people to understand their needs and transform them into actions that would enable them to grow and evolve. I personally discovered this term this year as I was one of the youth workers in the ‘Media, Digitalization and Peace work’ project. This inspiring online project brought together NGOs from Germany, Morocco, Egypt, Italy, and Tunisia. As a youth worker, I had the opportunity to work with an international group of passionate young people to tackle the topic of ‘the impact of COVID-19 on education’. I hosted sessions where we got to know each other, brainstorm ideas about the outcomes we wanted to accomplish, and finally agree on the product’s form and structure which was in a form of a video. You can watch the video here: The impact of Covid-19 on education – Peacebuilding, Media Work and Digitalization – YouTube
Being a youth worker gives me purpose in life. Furthermore, t is a lifestyle rather than just a job. Every time I contribute to the capacity building of young people, I feel that I have given a push towards more sustainable communities. The reason why I have that feeling is because when we invest in youth, we invest in our future. A future where youth are heard, speak for themselves and contribute to decision making and impact.