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Morocco photo for websiteSeloua, participant in the 100 Hours to Success programYoung people in Morocco are starting to realize their hopes and dreams through MEDA’s YouthInvest program. In one year, 1,480 youth have completed the program’s 100 Hours to Success, which provides training in life skills, financial skills and entrepreneurship. Another 700 are now enrolled in the program.

A recent survey of participants shows youth are beginning to understand the importance of savings. Half plan to use their savings to start or grow a business, buy equipment or further their education.  More are now working, income levels have started to increase, and they’re better prepared to enter the workforce. They’ve become more employable, and more conscientious.

Survey highlights:
• 96% now have a savings account, vs. 19% before entering the program
• 75% would not have opened an account were it not for the program
• 25% of program youth are now involved in apprenticeships
• 170 youth have accessed loans, with an average loan of $1,300
• Family, friends, teachers and employers have noticed positive changes in attitudes and behaviours
• 90% report the program has helped them move toward reaching their goals
• 100% would recommend the program to a friend
• 25% are now working, vs. 13% before entering the program
• 15% increase in incomes since entering program

Meet Seloua
After her father had an accident, Seloua, 23, became the head of the household. She dropped out of high school and has worked in some form or another since she was 9.

She supported the family by doing embroidery, cooking, pastry making and wedding planning.
“I learned many things during the program 100 Hours to Success ... how to begin a project, how to behave with the customers and how to make them loyal,” she says. “Recently for example, a customer said to me things which did not please me. I did not answer her in a severe way as I would have previously. I tried to apply the behavioral skills which I learned.
I was patient and I tried to understand her and we came up with a solution. Today, she has become a regular customer.”

Seloua believes that improved customer relations are helping her earn more income. She has ambitious plans for her future. “I already cook and sell my pastries to others,” she says, “but by one year I want to have my own store to sell my products and services ... I know that my project will succeed.”