Eco-entrepreneurship in Algeria: training of trainers (SWITCH-MED)

On May 17th, the SWITCH-MED project, led by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP/MAP – SCP/RAC) and aimed at empowering eco-entrepreneurs & green business in the Mediterranean region, has officially launched proceedings, with a round of three training sessions to be held respectively in Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco before the summer season (May – June 2015).

After having designed a comprehensive methodology to create green businesses (to be published soon), a team of international consultants specialized in Green Economy development (including Luis Morales and Jesus Iglesias from Greenbiz) we begin the first phase of the project: the training of trainers. During a one-week intensive program, co-organized with a key local partner (a major actor in the Green Economy ecosystem of the host country), we address local experts coming from both “business creation” and environment/sustainability backgrounds, transfer them the methodology, and co-create with them the 3-month training program targeting local eco-entrepreneurs they will be executing in the second phase of SWITCH-MED, starting in the autumn. In this manner, thanks to the invaluable inputs from local actors (trainers and partners alike), a proper adaptation to the context and needs of the country’s eco-entrepreneurs is achieved, thus ensuring a high-standard of quality and maximum impact, both at the local and international level. 

Family picture from the Eco-entrepreneurship Training for Trainers in Algeria (May 17-21, 2015. SWITCH-MED), with Jesus Iglesias from Greenbiz, Meryem Cherif from UNEP/MAP-SCP/RAC, Guy-Franck Merlo from GreenStart, and Amel Zouaoui from the “Centre National des Technologies de Production plus Propre”, among the participants.

To begin our journey we went to Algeria (May 17-21), a country filled with a vibrant young population and a wealth of natural resources. Strongly supported and closely accompanied by the “Centre National des Technologies de Production plus Propre” (CNTPP, from the “Ministère de l’Aménagement du Territoire et de l’Environnement”), we spent a magnificent week in Alger, surrounded by colleagues of the very best class. Besides the contents of the training itself, we exchanged best practices regarding the training of eco-entrepreneurs, shared and learned from one another’s approaches, discussed about green business opportunities in Algeria, reviewed international models, connected our respective networks, and set the first stones of a long-lasting partnership initiated within the SWITCH-MED platform.

On a personal note, it has been an incredibly enriching experience, thanks to the human warmth of all participants (a big “shukran” -thanks- from our very heart to all of you :), that did not hesitate a single second to share with us the history, customs, and beauty of their mesmerizing country. A special mention must go to Amel Zouaoui, from the CNTPP, who put forth a valiant and super effective effort to coordinate and follow the training at the same time. Also, from a discovery perspective, we had a first but promising glance at the potential of the young Algerians, that despite the challenging situation they face, they are willing to take on their destiny and undertake green and social projects and enterprises for the benefit of their people and country.

Next stop Tunisia, a country full of hope where key actors and resources are being mobilized to build a strong Green Economy. The dream of a Green Mediterranean contiues 😉

Photos courtesy of Centre National des Technologies de Production plus Propre (Algeria).