Algerian Scout champions youth empowerment and rights

5 minutes
Nour Mahmoudi (left) poses with Generation Unlimited sign

Nour Mahmoudi (left) poses with a Generation Unlimited sign

At the age of seven, Nour Mahmoudi joined Scouting in Algeria and has been an active and outstanding Scout ever since, focusing her efforts on youth engagement and youth empowerment in her country.

Today, 26-year-old Nour wears several Scouting hats, including being a member of her National Scout Organization’s executive board, a global Youth Representative for World Scouting, and a recently named a Messenger of Peace Hero.

Through her focus and multiple involvements in youth empowerment and youth rights, Nour became one of its biggest champions in Algeria. It was a natural next step for her to coordinate of a nationwide initiative, the Youth Challenge, which encouraged young innovators to develop their own solutions to issues in their communities. The Generation Unlimited Youth Challenge is co-organised by UNICEF, UNDP, Plan International and World Scouting to generate youth-led solutions in 36 countries and awards grants to teams with the most innovative and impactful projects.

Algeria was among the 36 participating countries in the Youth Challenge and Nour was instrumental in promoting it across her country, gathering the best youth service projects to compete for a final prize in the global initiative.

“I like seeing and proving that young people can create and lead big solutions to issues of importance in their society. They have the power and only need encouragement and the right opportunities,” said Nour.

To promote the call for applications, Nour and her team of organisers visited different cities and districts across the country to extend this opportunity to active young people who may not usually have access or the means to participate in a global challenge. Community projects that provided solutions under the themes of education, employment and civic engagement were particularly encouraged to apply.

It’s an honour and a responsibility to spread a culture of peace. I also hope that this opportunity allows me to inspire girls in Algeria to be involved in civic engagement and make an impact as well.
Nour Mahmoudi
Nour Mahmoudi
Messengers of Peace Hero

Their call for applications received over 100 team submissions with 12 teams shortlisted to participate in a three-day bootcamp in the capital city. The bootcamp saw an intense gathering of ideas, entrepreneurship workshops, creation of project plans and presentations - all to choose the finalists to enter the global stage of the competition.

“I was eager that my National Scout Organization took part in topics like this as Scouting is a leading youth organization. But it was also a great way of going beyond Scouting and reaching more Algerian youth – I want to inspire young people to shape their own path,” she added.

Algeria is a large and diverse country. Young innovators and visionaries from different backgrounds and ethnicities in Algeria gathered at the bootcamp to learn about entrepreneurship, project management, and civic engagement. A team of girls from a rural village were among the participants in the bootcamp.

“It humbled me to observe the growth and confidence of these girls at the end of the bootcamp in the way they stood and presented their project. This initiative gave young people hope and an opportunity to put their ideas into action,” said Nour when asked to share her proudest moments from the project.

“Besides the opportunities it gave youth, it was amazing to see everyone not only tolerate but celebrate and learn from their diversity as they worked together. To me, this is a pillar for peace building.”

Young Algerian men take notes

Among the youth projects was an income generation platform for women to showcase and sell their handmade crafts and home-made products, which continued and later received support from UNDP. Another initiative, was an online learning platform that offered courses to young people on a wide range of topics to help them with employability and leadership skills.

It inspired Nour to witness young people develop structured solutions to global issues like unemployment and quality education that fall under the world’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.

SDG 8 strives to substantially reduce the number of youth worldwide who are not in education, employment or training. The global goal aims to promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth and productive and decent work for all.

For her remarkable leadership and impact on youth empowerment in her country, Nour was named a Messenger of Peace Hero in 2021 for her contributions in building a culture of peace and a better world.

The award recognised the service and actions of young people across five categories related to the SDGs: environment, peace-building, life skills, health and well-being, and COVID-19 response.

"This experience helped me discover skills that I didn’t know I had. Through learning by doing, I developed project management skills and others to be able to start my own project from scratch," Nour said.

Her experience in the Youth Challenge helped Nour discover new skills and develop important ones such as project management, which led her to establish her own project from the start. Nour is now building an initiative called Change-makers, that comprises of a series of regional youth trainings across Algeria on entrepreneurship, advocacy and creating and managing community projects by bringing experts and building the capacity of youth in her country. Nour has been also been recently accepted as a member of the WHO Youth Council.

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