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Online Toolkit

Part 3 - The Peace Bag Partners, Projects, and Peacebuilders

Algeria

Association Etoile Culturelle d'Akbou is a local organisation focusing on youth needs through different cultural activities. Since 2003 they have been involved with the Young Citizen School, intended for young people without access to education or with limited education opportunities. Its main objective has been educating students to be responsible, independent, and integrated members of society, by teaching the universal values of human rights, tolerance and acceptance.

During the last two years, the organisation has integrated a network programme about "conflict management" with other community organisations. They have organised training courses for youth workers, teachers, volunteers and other professional animators designed to give the participants effective communication tools that will help them to teach young people how to deal with conflicts and transmit the values of peace and tolerance.


Young Citizen School

Education, Social Inclusion, Nonviolence

Imagine a school set up for young people with no access to education ...
Each year, the number of young girls and boys who are excluded from schools reaches to about 500 000. They often face life without any goal, qualification, diploma, or job, and in danger of becoming victims of delinquency, drug addiction, prostitution, violence and suicide.

Our association set up a project called YOUNG CITIZEN SCHOOL in 2003, giving some of these youngsters an opportunity to be integrated (or re-integrated) in educational activities and social life. We engage them in citizenship learning activities that show how to become active, responsible citizens, be autonomous and thus able to play a useful role in society. This project continues to give young Algerians some basic educational opportunities until today.

Target group: Young people with fewer opportunities, and who do not have education.
Activities: The students come every day and study fulltime – taking formal education in the morning, and informal education in the afternoon. Their morning classes are given by qualified teachers in all subjects, including sports and informatics. Just like a regular school, they also have to take exams to evaluate their learning. The classes are held in the youth club of the city, and students also do class outings to factories and town halls.

Informal education is used in teaching what we call "citizenship activities'" such as human rights, health and environment education – which are all taught by professionals like jurists, environment and health professionals. They are also given sessions to educate them about non-violence in families and schools, providing them with some important values – good behaviour, tolerance, and how to recognise and protect against all forms of violence.

Results: Because of the project, an important percentage of young people pass the final exams (baccalaureate) and are integrated into society with their improved social situations. On the other hand, those who fail the exams are transferred to public training schools that fit their profiles, while some private schools also give us free slots for the further education of these young people. By giving them suitable training for a certain job, the project improves their chances in professional life. Through the project, they are given the tools to be active citizens, thereby reducing delinquency and violence in our area. Young people became aware of different social realities around them, and were also equipped with the knowledge and skills needed to face these challenges.



L'Association AGIR pour le Développement & l'Epanouissement de la Jeunesse (ADEJ) – Mansour (Bouira) is an innovative regional youth non-profit organisation, that equips young people with the knowledge and skills which enable them to directly involve themselves in improving their communities. AGIR employs a 'leveraged impact' model, believing that young people have enormous untapped potential and the ability to be effective in instigating positive change in their communities. Their work involves training and supporting young people so that they are empowered to initiate positive community development projects and impart knowledge to their peers on vital development issues.

AGIR works to promote democracy, active citizenship, social entrepreneurship, understanding and cooperation between young people, especially in the Mediterranean region, in a spirit of respect for human rights. AGIR is run by young people, for young people by following a model for democratic governance. Members work mainly on a voluntary basis. There are no age restrictions to participate in their activities, but the majority of participants are under the age of 35. It is young people who decide about the activities of the organisation, define the strategies, implement the action plans, coordinate the daily activities of the organisation and evaluate all aspects of its programs. It is important to note that most young people in AGIR are actively involved in other aspects of civil society, frequently establishing links between member and other organisations at the local, regional and even national institutions, in addition to other organisations.


School for Active Youth Citizenship

Active citizenship, environment, education

Through the project, Active Youth Citizenship, AGIR aims to empower children and young people from 12 - 30 years old, about the positive changes they can bring to society. The main purpose of the project is to help youth build and reinforce their skills and knowledge on topics related to active citizenship, environment, education and leadership by giving them training and tools for action.

Set to be implemented within 12 months time, the project's scope includes the whole of Algeria, with prevision to include partner countries in the future.

Methodologies: The project uses participatory and non-formal learning methods such as workshops and training sessions to introduce the different concepts to the participants. Another simple but effective idea featured in this project are field trips for youth – allowing them to get in touch with real situations and develop their own ideas on how to solve problems. These field trips allow them to put their training into practical action.

Results: Young people taking part in the project have gradually improved their ability to deal with the situations they face in their communities. The project has given them practical tools to confront different situations requiring change.

"... So far since I joined the team I've gained considerable skills that managed to change even my daily life. Before, I was not paying attention to details and now I'm looking to the way forward always before acting. I have learned to adapt my behaviour to certain situations. AGIR's project allowed us to learn more about tolerance, accepting each other and promoting the peace among our peers as a first step and then spring the spirit around our environment, I would say families as start up. Thus I'm wishing all the best to AGIR on what the team is performing." - Nassim Laroui, participant.


Meet a Peacebuilder:

Salam! I am Salah from Algeria. I had many experiences on peace and conflict management but the last one greatly influenced me. Everything started with an email from Fundació Catalunya Voluntària, an organisation with whom I have already shared projects with. The email consisted of a call for participation in a project called PEACE BAG. I very much liked the idea and I actively participated online by involving more partners. We shared many emails with the new volunteer, Meghan. Later, she informed us that the project idea was chosen as one of the top ten by Anna Lindh Foundation. After that, an active preparation for phase one started. The Training Course (TC) in Vilanova, Spain was a great opportunity for me to learn and improve my knowledge in peace and conflict management. I also had the chance to share my experiences with the new partners. The TC took place simultaneously with a huge event in Barcelona, an Anna Lindh Forum. I attended many workshops that dealt with different topics about intercultural dialogue. It was the best experience for me to consolidate my knowledge, the new ideas and skills I learned from the TC. I returned back home with my bag full of information and since then, I became a peacebuilder.


I'd like to go for a walkto cross streams and the wood
To meet all friends and talkabout peace and brotherhood
*************
I'd like to be a swallowI'd like to fly like a bird
To travel and say "Hello!"to everyone in the world

The country

Algeria is in the South-West of the EuroMed region. Its 34 million people, predominantly Sunni Muslim, are descendants of Arab-Berbers.

There is a will to open the country to increased cultural exchange, and in some areas there are positive examples of youth organizations actively involved in Euro-Mediterranean cooperation initiatives, such as the Anna Lindh Foundation's "Actions for Dialogue" campaign.

Peace education is a major concern in Algerian society, as friction between its citizens is rooted in their diversity of identities, beliefs, and thoughts on policy. The state, NGO's, and human rights leagues have set up programs to promote peace and the resolution of conflicts through non-violent means. Since legalising NGO's in 1990, civil society has become more aware and actively involved in projects focusing on three core areas: culture and identity, freedom of speech, and the education system.