Skip to content

Civil Society Organisations

Let's start with the youth!

Abdallah Benhabib, Vice President of the Mediterranean Sustainable Development Foundation, Djanatu al Arif, the local partner in Algeria of the SwitchMed Civil Society programme, talks to us about the importance of making young people aware of the environment and about the challenges of the next SwitchMed workshops.

- Tell us about your organisation’s activities

The Mediterranean Sustainable Development Foundation, Djanatu al Arif, was created in 2007 in Mostaganem to implement every possible action to promote sustainable development and public awareness. It is a cultural centre and a forum for discussion open to everyone.

The foundation carries out its work throughout all of Algeria (7 offices) by means of various activities supported by foundation volunteers, and has three permanent focuses:

- Training and education: activities with children and young people on responsible management of the earth’s resources through workshops in the spring and summer, the production and distribution of a calendar of ecological gestures, etc.

- Rehabilitation of argan trees: replanting campaign in the country.

- Creation of an archiving centre (Adlania Library): a basic archive telling the story of our universal heritage.

- Development of the social and solidary economy in Algeria. 


- Please tell us about yourself

My name is Abdallah Benhabib, I am 32 years old and hold a master’s degree in Tourism. I am the Vice President of the Djanatu al Arif foundation. I was a supervisor on the Chênelet job-training project (in Pas-de-Calais), an institution working in the sector of the social and solidary economy. I am also the director of SDS (Société de Développement Solidaire).


- For several years now, you have been organising spring and summer ‘clubs’ that help strengthen the bonds between youth and the environment. What are the children most readily aware of and therefore what activities would you recommend to civil society groups to provide greater awareness among young people?

The spring and summer clubs are one of our educational projects intended for children. Our main goal is to help a child renew and reinforce his or her ties to the environment in terms of respect, familiarity and sharing, by means of a suitable learning experience based on the principles of awareness instruction that draws on universal human values.

Enabling children to be closer to nature will enable them to better understand their relationship to the environment. The fact that a child knows his or her body contains various elements found in nature, and that he or she too contains components of the mineral, plant and animal world, is a way to raise awareness of the value of other creatures and the sacredness of their existence.

 Enabling children to be closer to nature will enable them to better understand their relationship to the environment

- You are also working in the social and solidary economy. Could you give us a few examples of popular initiatives in Algeria that are catching on in this field?

The employment problem in Algeria is of great concern. That is why the Mediterranean Sustainable Development Foundation, Djanatu al Arif, is working in the economic field, through its social and solidary values. With the help of many youth volunteers, we have decided to create an employment mechanism for these young Algerians.

Among the Algerian initiatives involved in the social and solidary economy, I would cite the example of our partner, SDH (Sidi el Houri health association), a pilot school specialising in the sectors for the rehabilitation of old buildings and the use of traditional materials (natural adobe, raw soil, dry stones, etc.). The association hosts young people preparing for employment, youth from disadvantaged neighbourhoods of Sidi el Houari in Oran. The association for assistance to the mentally handicapped in Mostaganem is also a worthwhile initiative.


- Your approach to ecology is quite holistic and places significant emphasis on personal growth and inner happiness. How do you include this aspect in your awareness-raising activities on a practical basis?

The personal development of children is the core of our awareness education so that we can provide the child with a balance between him or herself, his or her peers, and his or her environment. We attempt to instil in the children universal values such as respect for living beings, the promotion of peace and living together, or working as a team.


- As a partner in the SwitchMed programme, you will soon be holding a workshop to improve the sustainable consumption and production projects of organisations in civil society. What do you see as the major challenges of this workshop?

- Mobilising local and national actors around the topic of strengthening civil society.

- Working in harmony with the local and national associations, and consolidating Algerian associations by creating networks.

- Enhancing training for Algerian associations on (good) governance.

- Building bridges between Algerian and foreign associations (through exchanges of skills).

- Contributing to the development of the social and solidary economy in Algeria. 

Building bridges between Algerian and foreign associations (through exchanges of skills).

 <built-in function id>
<built-in function id>
<built-in function id>