Switchmed participating as flagship initiative in "Youth As Resource" event in Algiers
In Algeria, young people under 35 account for 60% of the total population, representing an important resource for the country’s economy. However, they often face challenges in securing employment. The European Union (EU) is working with 10 of its southern neighbours, including Algeria, to develop the potential of young people in the MENA region by financing initiatives aimed at creating opportunities for education, capacity development and employment. To showcase some of the positive impacts these initiatives have had on the region’s youth, EU Neighbours South in collaboration with the EU Delegation in Algeria brought together more than 100 young people and representatives from the press and civil society for the informational brunch, "Youth as a resource in Education, Training and Employment". The event was held in Algiers at the El Djezair hotel on 30 January 2017.
H. E. Mr John O’Rourke, Ambassador of the European Union Delegation in Algeria, opened the event and highlighted the important role of young people in social and economic development. He underlined the positive results of the cooperation between the EU and Algeria, noting the strengthening of Algeria institutions, support for civil society organisations and the social and professional integration of young people in society.
Representatives from a number of EU-funded projects then highlighted the opportunities for youth in Algeria created through the EU’s regional collaborations, including Erasmus + (dedicated to education and mobility), Net-Med Youth (dedicated to youth and media), PAJE (dedicated to employment opportunities), Euromed Invest, SAHWA and SwitchMed (empowering green entrepreneurship and social/eco innovation).
Matthew Lagod, one of the project managers at SCP/RAC contributing to the management of the SwitchMed Programme, provided an overview of results of SwitchMed’s regional training programmes: nearly 2000 people trained to date from industry, green enterprises and civil society organisations. These trainings were carried out under two of the programme’s demonstration components:
- Sustainable production - MED TEST II: implemented by UNIDO, stimulating the demand and supply of sustainable production services to industry; and
- Green entrepreneurship and civil society empowerment: implemented by SCP/RAC, designed to help green entrepreneurs and civil society organisations to translate their ideas for social and ecological innovations into concrete actions.
Mr Lagod emphasized that SwitchMed promotes green industries and green entrepreneurship in the Mediterranean region, providing capacity building and training for industries, green entrepreneurs and civil society organisations, all in an effort to facilitate the region’s transition to more sustainable lifestyles.
Next, Lotfia Harbi (SwitchMed local mentor for green entrepreneurship) took the floor to share her experience with the training and incubation of green entrepreneurs in Algeria. Mrs Habri introduced participants to the three green entrepreneurs in Algeria selected for SwitchMed’s Green Entrepreneurs Incubation Phase:
- El Khoudir Daddi Adoun, founder of "Batisseur des Oases", a firm that designs and builds eco-responsible dwellings featuring traditional Algerian architectural styles in the region of Ghardaia;
- Ferrah Reguia, creator of "Ferrah Cactus", a sustainable prickly pear oil extraction project in the Medea region; and
- Belmamoune Alaziz, founder of "Eau Chellala” a company that will market spring water in biodegradable bottles in the region of El Bayadh.
SwitchMed representatives in the event "youth as resource": from left to right: El khoudir Daddi Adoun, Matthew Lagod, Lotfia harbi, Ferrah Reguia and Belmamoune Alaziz
Finally, foreign affairs Ministery representative, Mr Ali Mokrani, commended the effort of the european initiative before giving the space to the networking session that followed the presentations.