Enhancing Moroccan Youths’ Career Opportunities Through Advanced Technology

Speeches Shim

Thursday, July 9, 2020
USAID Counselor Chris Milligan field visit of H2O Training Lab on October 7, 2019
Credit: USAID

In 2017, USAID/Morocco launched H2O Maghreb, a program that aims to address Morocco’s water scarcity crisis while simultaneously training youth in the technical areas required to develop successful careers in the water sector. The program benefits from the expertise of USAID, the Moroccan Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Equipment, Transportation and Water, Festo Didactic, EON Reality and the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), who have come together to form a dynamic Public Private Partnership. In addition to this unique partnership, the program also incorporates the innovative use of virtual technology to provide students an immersive and interactive experience, which enables them to apply their skills in a simulated environment.

The program also aims to promote women’s professional development. Three such women, Asmaa Jaafar, Chaymaa Nouga, and Imane el Boukhari, are all graduates of the H2O Maghreb training program in Rabat, Morocco. Having completed the program, they are now employed with the National Office for Water and Electricity (ONEE), the Moroccan government body that leads the country’s water strategy. These talented women have agreed to share their experience as participants of the program, as well as discuss their new careers at ONEE.

These budding water professionals all had various levels of professional experience in the water sector prior to participating in the program and wanted to continue to hone their professional skills in this field after learning about the program through Facebook. The course curriculum is designed to help students understand the basics of water resource management in Morocco.

Credit: Chaymaa Nouga
Credit: Chaymaa Nouga

Asmaa elaborated on the curriculum:

“Firstly, we learnt that there are two types of water cycles: the fast cycle, such as the rain cycle, which can last from a few hours up to several days, and the slow cycle that lasts for years. Secondly, we understood that there are two types of water resources: superficial resources such as rivers, lakes and dams as well as underground resources such as wells and drills. These resources are very useful for drinking water and electricity production, and irrigation. This is why rainwater management through hydraulic basins is important, in addition to the water operation by ONEE as well as the new concept of integrated water resource management, which involves several partners to ensure increased sustainability of the water sector across the natural water cycle.”

Chaymaa added the “training helped me better understand the importance of water in Morocco through practical exercises, field visits to wastewater and drinking water treatment plants, and virtual reality. These experiences formed a good complement to the theoretical courses that were led by the best trainers within ONEE’s water department.” Imane agreed that “Through the training, I was able to learn that water is an essential natural resource, which goes through several stages and processes before its consumption and after it is discharged.”

Credit: Chaymaa Nouga
Credit: Chaymaa Nouga

It was also their first time using virtual reality as part of a training curriculum, in conjunction with a water management training system known as Environmental Discovery System (EDS), which guides students through the hydraulic cycle step-by-step. Chaymaa explained that incorporating “interactive technologies, such as virtual reality and the EDS stations, helped me better understand several technical concepts, such as membrane filtration, water purification, and how to solve issues within water treatment plants.” Asmaa added, “H2O training gave me the first opportunity to use virtual reality to help [me] learn to do the routine tasks and exceptional tasks of an operation and sanitation technician, while complying with hygiene and security standards…For example, it helped me understand the importance of hygiene and security requirements during daily visits and checks made by technicians in wastewater and water treatment plants.”

Close to a year after graduating from the H2O Maghreb program, Imane, Chaymaa, and Asmaa now work as water technicians at ONEE. “I work as a technician specialised in water quality analysis at a drinking water treatment plant” said Asmaa. “My role is to carry out the monitoring and daily checks of physicochemical and bacterial parameters of raw water and treated water in addition to the physicochemical parameters of water at the different stages of standard treatments. The goal is to ensure the water complies with quality requirements for drinking water, in line with the 03-7-001 regulation based on World Health Organization standards. The part I enjoy the most in my job is the daily tour of the plant, during which I carry out the preparation and injection of treatment reagents, the regulation of metering pumps and conduct water withdrawals for analysis.” Chaymaa added “I am working for ONEE’s water department as a drinking-water network technician and am responsible for monitoring subscribers’ meters and meters that are blocked within the city. The favourite part of my job is the field visits, because they help me better understand my work and improve throughout time…all this contributes to the safeguarding of our water resources.”

The H2O Maghreb program has also given participants the opportunity to give back to their respective communities. “Everyone employed at ONEE contributes to a collective mission through their specific tasks,” Imane stated. Furthermore, the women have been able to apply the skills they learned from the H20 Maghreb program directly to their current professions on a regular basis. Chaymaa elaborated, “In my work, I start by analysing subscribers’ water consumption, then I identify blocked meters and replace those that are damaged with new ones. I learnt how to do this in the lesson I had on meters, which was part of H2O Maghreb’s drinking water module.” Asmaa agreed that “In my job I need to identify the metering pump regulation of reagents. This requires the application of a mathematical relation I studied in H2O Maghreb’s drinking water module.”

Credit: Chaymaa Nouga
Credit: Chaymaa Nouga

So where do these water professionals go from here? “My main professional aspirations are to develop my career and become a drinking-water and sanitation manager,” Chaymaa stated. Imane also expressed the desire to continue to develop her technical skills, and Asmaa elaborated that “My objectives for now are to strengthen my expertise in the methods of physicochemical and microbiological analysis of drinking water as well as bacterial analysis of raw water.” When asked what advice, if any, they would give young women who are beginning their professional career in their sector of choice in Morocco, Imane offered, “Do what you want and follow your desires, be selfish when it comes to your dreams and objectives, you are the pillar of society.” Asmaa added, “I would advise [young Moroccan women] to take as many classes and learn as much information as possible in relation to their field of study and do internships in order to develop a minimum level of know-how that will enable them to start a good career with a respectful company.” Finally, Chaymaa said “I would advise every Moroccan woman who wants to launch her career, whatever the sector, to make sure she chooses a field she appreciates. We have to do what we are passionate about to enjoy our work. She should start by identifying her goals and then set an action plan to achieve them. Finally, she will need to avoid negative people and never think about giving up.”

More information about the H2O Maghreb program can be found at: