20 January 2010
Algiers, Algeria: International Volunteer Day was celebrated in Algeria under the theme ‘Volunteering for our Planet’ in collaboration with the Muslim Scouts of Algeria.
The event was launched on 5th December at the International Scouts Camp in Sidi Fredj near Algiers. The General Secretary of the Muslim Scouts in Algeria, Mr Noureddine Benbraham, called on participation in improving our environment.
Three representatives of national institutions, the director of the General Directorate for the Forests, the deputy director of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, an advisor of the Ministry of Youth and Sports as well as the president of the Algerian Federation of Journalists asked people, TV journalists and youth to take actions for a clean environment.
Mr Mamadou Mbaye, UN Resident Coordinator and Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Algeria thanked the Scouts Association for having hosted and jointly organized IVD celebration. He recalled the Copenhagen challenges and congratulated the Scouts for giving “a strong signal to world leaders that together we can change our behaviours and help each other to secure our future’. Mr Mbaye also introduced the United Nations Volunteers programme and mentioned the three Algerian currently serving as international UNV volunteers for peace and development in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Indonesia and Mali.
After a coffee break, the scouts, UN personnel and UNV volunteers left the Camp by bus to join 250 young scouts in the nearby Forest of Bouchaoui to clean a picnic area frequented by families. A total of 320 T-Shirts with the ‘Volunteering for our Planet’ logo were distributed. All participants got gloves and bags to pick plastics, bottle caps and other waste left behind.
The National Television covered the event and a special report was broadcasted on the evening news on December 6th with interviews of UNDP Resident Representative and Secretary General of the Scouts. A communication company was also appointed by the Scouts to prepare 7-minutes reportage. Garbage was collected to fill two pick-up trucks.
In the afternoon the youngest Scouts stayed at the forest to continue the action related with sensitisation. Traditional dishes composed of a Chorba soup and Mtouem meatballs were shared amongst the Scouts organizers, the UN Representatives, UNV volunteers and the Scouts groups’ leaders.
In the afternoon, Roland Sarton, UNV volunteer from Belgium representing the UNV programme in Algeria, and Marie-Paule Bourassa, a Canadian UNV volunteer with UNHCR introduced UNV mission, activities, and profiles of volunteers to the Scouts as well as UNV volunteering service on www.onlinevolunteering.org, an online tool offering opportunities to volunteer skills through the Internet. Cheref Imad, Tarek Hadjoudj and Abdelkerim Bouamra, three scouts leaders presented in turn three environmental projects for 2010 and action taken at community level.