In Algeria, boosting youth's social inclusion, entrepreneurship and global citizenship awareness
12 August 2022
In Algeria in 2020, according to the National Statistics Office, 37 per cent of the population was under the age of 15 and nearly two-thirds were under the age of 30. Youth in Algeria are enterprising, bursting with ideas, ambitious and full of hopes. They are a major asset for the country and have the potential to drive its socio-economic transition towards a development model aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set out in the 2030 Agenda.
To mark International Youth Day, celebrated on 12 August, we invite you to find out how ILO, UNICEF, UNDP and UNESCO, in collaboration with partners and donors, are advocating for the economic integration of Algerian youth and calling for their engagement in promoting a social and solidarity economy.
Helping young graduates enter the job market
In Algeria, reasons for unemployment among university graduates include a mismatch between university curricula and job opportunities, and a lack of interaction between universities and private companies.
ILO helped highly qualified young Algerians enter the job market in different governorates around the country through theTawdif ("recruitment") project, under which hundreds of young graduates learned to use innovative job search tools (Job Search Clubs), acquired entrepreneurial, leadership and change management skills and strengthened their interpersonal and communictaion skills.
ILO also set up Career Centres and Entrepreneurship Houses in participating universities, and supported public institutions in accompanying young graduates, including by setting up working groups on 'Understanding the Enterprise' and helping carry out surveys to better identify companies’ recruitment needs.
"Thanks to the Tawdif project, a Career Center was set up [in the university]. It created a bridge, a connection, a communication link between the companies and the university," explained the head of a Career Centre at the University of Tlemcen.
ILO built on the achievements of the Tawdif project when it ended in 2019, creating additional Job Search Clubs, training ministerial staff on how to use the 'Understanding the Enterprise' tool and contributing to setting up a digital career orientation platform for young people.
Fostering youth entrepreneurship
In order to give disadvantaged youth in Algeria a chance to start building their lives and find their place in society, UNICEF recently organized the third "ImaGen Ventures Youth Challenge” — a national competition followed by a bootcamp and an international contest in social entrepreneurship — to support young people aged 16 to 24 by fostering their creativity, boosting their entrepreneurial skills, and helping them develop innovative solutions that address their communities’ social and environmental challenges.
Abdelhamid Akedi, 21, a student at a vocational training centre, and his team took part in the national competition and qualified for the bootcamp. His team seeks to address the financial vulnerability of women in precarious situations, housewives and those who do not have the means to travel long distances to sell their products at local markets.
"Our project ensures they [the women] have a salary and a financial income that allow them to cover their children’s and families’ needs thanks to a traditional handicraft workshop that uses ecological raw materials. [...] We are working on a promotional platform through which they can market their high-quality handicrafts locally, nationally and internationally," Abdelhamid explained.
Leveraging social and solidarity economy to boost youth inclusion and social innovation
Alongside the Algerian classic economic sectors, an alternative sector has been developing in the country — that of the social and solidarity economy— types of activities founded on the principles of common good, participatory management and a mix of private and public, that can take various organizational forms: grassroot organizations, cooperatives, mutual-benefit corporations, foundations and businesses providing social and/or solidarity-based services.
The social and solidarity economy is gradually developing in the country as a result of growing awareness that a sustainable and inclusive economy puts people and environmental protection first.
To support this trend, while also addressing youth unemployment, UNDP brought together some thirty stakeholders from the social and solidarity economy to jointly develop a national charter and delineate the functioning of the sector.
In parallel, UNDP implements pilot projects around the country led by young people and women in this sector, helping them create small businesses with strong social and/or environmental impact, training them, and providing selected project owners with grants to help them start businesses.
UNDP has also organized a series of trainings for government staff managing credit and micro-credit funds — on how to effectively support social and solidarity economy project holders.
Empowering youth through social inclusion and a culture of peace
Empowering young people to become professionally independent is paramount, but it is also important to help them become informed citizens and equip them with tools to understand the world, promote positive values, and engage in constructive projects useful to society.
In Algeria, UNESCO trains those who work with young people (specialized educators, managers in youth organizations, etc.) to educate youth on global citizenship, peaceful coexistence, and combatting hate speech —so that they take ownership of the universal values promoted by the UN which are drivers of social peace and sustainable development.
More than 200 executives — women and men — attended this training and nearly 150 of them are now training their peers using a teaching kit developed by UNESCO for this purpose.
"In these workshops, we [...] also learned new group management techniques and how to make the discussion more dynamic," said Younes Ouelgara, Youth Advisor in the Tamanrasset governorate.
UNESCO has also trained youth educators to boost youth's media and information literacy. A handbook has been developed in this regard, and the educators who attended the training currently carry out the work in the field, including through the Algerian Network of Training Educators.
"I can now turn a negative situation into a positive one and deal with hate speech at all levels, and thus accept others as they are and help them accept me as I am," said Rania Mezouani, executive at the Communication Directorate of the Algerian Ministry of Youth and Sports, who attended the UNESCO workshops.
Written in French, and translated into English, by the UN Development Coordination Office based on inputs provided by the ILO, UNICEF, UNDP and UNESCO teams in Algeria and coordinated by Amine Roukhi, National Information Officer at the Office of the UN Resident Coordinator in Algeria.
To learn more about the UN's work in Algeria, please visit: Algeria.UN.org.