Communication technology has played a pivotal role in bridging distances and gathering momentum with a view to disseminate knowledge and bring a focus on key subjects and issues such as environmental problems, health awareness and child rights. In line with the above philosophy, Facebook has been the ‘magic tool’ used for a massive tree plantation initiative by Maso'ed Hassany, a Rover Scout from Algeria in the Arab Scout Region and a member of the "Al Shou'ala Scout Troop".
Hassany was fond of media so he established an informal Scout website (www.scoutforum1.com). Continuous and swift updates, and credible and valuable information on Scouting attracted a great number of Scout enthusiasts to visit the website and it became popular in no time.
In line with the celebration of the Arab Scout Centenary in 2012, Hassany launched an invitation to every Scout Troop and Group that he could reach out to, asking them to plant 100 trees each on the occasion of the Arab Scout Centenary. He chose 22nd March (Arab Scout Brotherhood Day) as the date of the announcement of this initiative.
Although his website was not an official one, Hassany added credibility to it by signing the code of ethics created for all official Arab Scout Region’s websites. Soon after he launched the invitations on Facebook, Scouts in large numbers responded and participated by adopting this initiative, especially the following countries: Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Egypt, Libya, Palestine, Oman, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). As a result, many Scouts planted trees in the soil of their countries and uploaded photos of the trees on Facebook.
The story of Hassany proves that initiatives may come out of small Scout Groups, and sometimes from an individual Scout, and it is possible to make a huge impact at various levels of Scouting. Hassany has also shown how communication technology, and social media in particular, can be used to inspire thousands of Scouts staying far away from each other, but can be engaged into joint action contributing to the Vision of World Scouting of “Creating a Better World”.