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Youth Participation and Employment

The unemployment rate in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is the highest in the world and is largely a youth phenomenon. Unemployment has far-reaching consequences. On the societal level, a complete lack of opportunities generates social stigma and prevents the positive development of a community which includes young people. Individually, its impacts result in frustration, low self-esteem and apathy among the unemployed, increasing the risk of social unrest and conflict. Furthermore, studies show a lack of employment opportunities leads to a brain drain as young people look abroad to the Gulf countries and Europe. If the countries of the MENA region succeeded in creating a dignified life and meaningful employment for the large youth population, they could experience increased growth, greater social cohesion, more people contributing to and influencing communities, and increased stability - just as young people want.

The Arab Spring demonstrated widespread dissatisfaction of young people with the social and economic injustices and lack of political influence in their countries. The same wishes and needs are still found among the young people of MENA today. In many cases their current condition is even worse than at the beginning of the Arab Spring. The ability for young people to work and earn an income are crucial for their self-confidence and dignity, as well as for gaining respect from and influence in their communities. Young people's participation and influence is a prerequisite for a good and peaceful development in MENA.

The programme

The programme is part of the Danish-Arab Partnership Program (DAPP) under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. DAPP's vision is to promote a democratic, prosperous and stable MENA region (Middle East and North Africa). The effort is divided into five thematic areas with each organization or consortium as a partner: Kvinfo and others on equality, IMS on media, DIGNITY and others on human rights, a consortium including DI and LO / FTF on labour market development, the African Development Bank on entrepreneurship and Oxfam Denmark on youth and job creation.

Under the heading “Youth Participation and Employment” Oxfam Denmark reaches young men and women aged 18-30 years in the countryside, in the cities and in all education layers. The programme works with young people to influence and create 10,000 job opportunities for themselves. Our ways of working towards the goals are:

  • Offer young people knowledge and technical skills to increase the likelihood of them finding jobs, starting their own business and engaging with the community.

  • Strengthen the will and capacity of institutions, the private sector and society to support young people in influencing and job seeking.

  • Increase the dialogue between young people and the private business community so they can reach a joint understanding of the importance of including young people in the labour market.

Together, we must seek to remove the main barriers to young people's employment. The program runs for five years from 2017 with a total budget of 175 million DKK.

Countries: Morocco, Tunisia, Jordan and Egypt

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