16 Sep 2019
Bechar, Algeria
Sustainable Tourism

ATLED is an Algerian association working on solidarity-based sustainable development of the country’s tourism, and for the preservation of the environment, the youth’s education and their opening to different cultures.

ATLED aims at supporting fragile economies in the marginalized southern Algerian territories, by promoting the rural woman and the Algerian cultural heritage throughout solidarity-based tourism.

A unifying local initiative

ATLED was born in 1991, thanks to an initiative by teachers and members of the Tuareg community. Although it was initially created for the preservation of the environment and to support exchanges between the youth, the association quickly started to aim at developing sustainable tourism as well. ATLED managed to bring together and unify the local population, and nowadays boasts 321 members from several villages.

Meeting the Saharian local communities

The association organizes tours to discover Sahara. Tourists, mostly of western origin, visit small villages and discover local practices (cooking in sand, jewelry making, introductory ceremonies…). They sleep in local people’s houses when possible, thus experimenting the daily life of a village and contributing to sustainable jobs. This way, tourists learn about local challenges and sustainable tourism.

Bigger means of environmental education and openness on the world

In order to change the practices and mentality in this fragile ecological balance, ATLED acts within villagers communities through training courses in fields such as hosting, hygiene, touristic marketing and sustainable tourism.

To promote education on a wider scale, ATLED has developed an exchange program between young people from Lille (France) and Southern Algeria, focused on a project linked to the protection of the environment. Each year, it also selects three schools that will be followed for an entire year. In doing this, the association intervenes with impoverished children by providing them with school supplies and organizing trips lasting a few days in Algeria’s big cities.

These programs are also running for refugees from the Sahara in order to send them to school. And in these schools, ATLED runs gardening workshops and “garbage removal days”.

The rural woman: the main actress within ATLED

ATLED is present in villages where poverty and unemployment are high, which threatens their life style and culture. Through its work, ATLED supports women in the oasis by helping with the fabrication of artisanal products and providing the raw materials needed, so that they can sell their products to tourists and benefit from the financial gains. This support helps maintaining the jobs they learned from their ancestors and promotes the woman’s role in society. This way, visiting Sahara is also contributing to the local development of this region!

“In these regions where unemployment is widespread, the locals are happy to join the association and develop their land.”Adbellatif, president of ATLED
Discover the Sahara with the local population | The Switchers
ATLED Sustainable Tourism