There is no better investment than youth. Not only do they make the future, but they are the future. Therefore, the question is not why to focus on them, but how to empower them; and in this matter, UNICEF and Sylabs know a thing or two.
Unicef Algeria collaborates with Sylabs to empower the underprivileged
This time, UNICEF Algeria and Sylabs are working together on “Tatweer” project that aims to help underprivileged young people solve the problems they constantly struggle with in their environment by teaching them a set of life skills, and introducing them to social innovation, human-centred design, and sustainable development.
They spoke about the importance of launching this program in Algeria, and explained how it aims to engage with the local communities to empower youth by building transferable skills that will help them identify challenges in their communities, and design practical solutions to solve them.
Souraya Hassan also insisted on the importance of teaching teenagers soft and transferable life skills that will enable them to succeed at school, have a smooth transition into working life, and contribute efficiently in their communities in the near future.
She said that doing this will be a great profitable investment because it will allow young people to achieve their highest potential, and this will certainly have a positive impact on the society as a whole.
Tatweer: when youth empowerment meets with social entrepreneurship
Tatweer project is organized in two phases, and targets different cities across Algeria (Algiers, Biskra, Djelfa, Medea, Ghardaia, Laghouat, Mascara, and Sidi Bel Abbes).
In its first phase, Tatweer hosted leading Algerian entrepreneurs and activists, like: Lynda Tezkratt, Bilel Sefsaf, Yusuf Chaib and Yaakoub Benarab. They led the TOTs (Training of Trainers) of young participants, aged between 16 and 34 years old, who joined the online training programs from different cities.
The goal from the TOTs was to create more opportunities to meet the locals, get in touch with them, and mainly to teach them new skills and concepts that will enable them to train other people in their community, in order to create long-term impact.
In the second phase, Bootcamps will be organized in the same cities, with the presence of the trainees who participated in the TOTs as facilitators.
The Bootcamps will receive young people, aged between 16 and 24 years old, with underprivileged backgrounds (orphans, cancer survivors, the disabled, individuals with financial difficulty or those who left school, etc.) in order to help them find solutions to the problems they face in their societies.
Why does the project target the underprivileged?
ElKhansaa Medjber, Project Manager at Sylabs, believes that a society is empowered by all the categories of people who live in it, which means that it can reach its full potential only when all its individuals live their best life. That’s why it’s important for us to help others embrace new ideas, adopt a positive mindset, seize upcoming opportunities and create a better future for themselves.
Hence, Tatweer aims to help the underprivileged see that life doesn’t stop at their disadvantage, by showing them ways to overcome challenges, solve problems and take other paths to explore their full potential.
What is the value of projects like Tatweer?
For ElKhansaa, the activities contained in the Bootcamps of Tatweer are so important because they guide individuals throughout the process of solving problems by using different skills and concepts. So, the strength of this kind of event is its ability to push people to discover within themselves many interests, talents and skills they have not been aware of.
Moreover, her commitment to the values of Tatweer comes from believing that brilliant ideas and efficient solutions can be born from the process of exchange that occurs in the communities made of individuals who are motivated to make an impact and are eager for change, that’s why the project intends to create active and civically engaged local communities across the country.
The power of decentralised impact
Coming from Bordj Bou Arreridj, Aya Yessaad joined Sylabs as an intern and participated in the making of Tatweer by taking in charge the Participants’ Relations. She feels strongly connected to the mission of this project because she believes that having this kind of initiative outside of the capital is very important, because it will reach people outside the usual circle of impact, often focused in Algiers.
This way, those who never attended similar events will have the chance to meet people who have a different vision that will change their mindset, raise their awareness, and encourage them to thrive.
How was Tatweer received?
The TOTs have been successfully held online with the attendance of hundreds of participants.
Sarah Salhi, Community Manager at Sylabs, remembers how hard it was, at first, to reach the underprivileged category. She recalls that they didn’t grasp the concept of the program because they were not used to events like this. They asked a lot of questions about the topics of the workshops and what they would gain from attending.
In order to deliver the message to the target in the best possible way, Sarah says that they had to optimise continuously the marketing strategy: the content was adapted to the underprivileged category by using easy and direct words, the language was changed from the classical Arabic to the local dialects, and the focus was on placing the content in the social media applications that guarantee the best reach to the target.
These changes were very effective because the number of applications for the Bootcamps spiked shortly after.
Training Of Trainers: nailing the first phase
To learn more about the TOTs, we spoke with Roufaida Allaoui, project coordinator at Sylabs and Trainer at Tatweer.
She proudly stated that the success achieved in the first phase was beyond their expectations: hundreds of people applied to participate in the TOTs and most of them were already civically engaged, had previous experiences in volunteering, and were really excited to help the underprivileged overcome their challenges by teaching them new skills and approaches in the upcoming Bootcamps.
Having a large number of highly appealing profiles to choose from made the selection process of the trainees more difficult, but much more interesting as well. Out of 658 applicants, only 325 were chosen to attend the trainings.
The training was conducted for four consecutive days via Zoom, with the assistance of Zoubida Ferkani, Innovation Specialist at UNICEF Algeria. The participants were very active during the sessions, they engaged amazingly with the trainers and found the content very useful. They said they couldn’t wait for the Bootcamps!