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Arab Youth Volunteering For a Better Future Young people gained worldwide acclaim as drivers for peaceful engagement and positive change following their leading role in the popular uprisings in the Arab region. They demonstrated that they are positive assets for peace and sustainable development and that they are providing the energy, creative ideas and determination to drive reform. Building on this momentum, the Arab Youth Volunteering for a Better Future project will strengthen the infrastructure necessary to build the skills and capacities of youth in the Arab region, thereby enhancing their social inclusion and active participation in the socio-economic development of their countries. The Arab Youth Volunteering for a Better Future project is the first initiative of its kind in the Arab world. The project will engage marginalized youth, including young women, and help them make a difference in their societies.
Led by the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme, the Arab Youth Volunteering for a Better Future regional project aims to harness the power and energy of Arab youth through volunteerism. Arab youth will have increased skills and experience to become active in the development of their countries and the region. Working with governmental partners, the project will strengthen institutional frameworks for volunteerism and youth participation in the region. Youth-led civil society organizations will be trained on how to manage volunteer programmes and promote volunteerism as a means to inclusive human development. Volunteerism is an important means to address the aspirations and challenges of youth and can facilitate greater civic participation. Further, it can contribute to the achievement of local, national and global development goals while enhancing the skills and well-being of youth. Volunteerism provides a viable sustainable mechanism that can turn grievances and frustrations into social assets.
National UN Volunteer Roqaya Saydeh engages youth in Jordan in discussions about the MDGs, their needs and development priorities in their communities. Roqaya assists communities in Ghoeriya and Zarqa with roundtable discussions and helps formulate their messages for radio broadcasts through a community radio programme called Takalam, or speak out. (Mohammad Magyda, 2011)
Participants in the national consultation
on youth volunteering in Morocco. (Laboratoire Brahim/UNV, 2012)
“There are moments when historic, transformational change is possible. This is one of those moments in the Arab States.” Helen Clark, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) By applying a participatory approach, the project activities of the programme Arab Youth Volunteering for a Better Future have been shaped by the priorities identified by Arab youth themselves through national consultations and broad engagement with youth and civil society organizations in the region.
“UNV welcomes the commitment of Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia and Yemen to creating an enabling environment for youth volunteerism. The Arab Youth Volunteering for a Better Future programme seeks to empower youth to participate meaningfully in sustainable development through volunteer engagement, and we look forward to working with these governments, as well as with civil society organizations and other UN agencies, to achieve our goals.” Richard Dictus - Executive Coordinator, UNV
In all five countries, proposals for strengthening the capacity of youth-led organizations are being realized in order to promote a culture of volunteerism based on the core values of solidarity and social cohesion.
In partnership with leading youth organizations and national and regional stakeholders, the project seeks to establish sustainable and youth-led volunteering opportunities that enhance the well-being of individuals and communities, bring a feeling of purpose and inclusion to young people’s lives, and contribute to the creation of a better future for the youth of the Arab region.
The United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme is the UN organization that promotes volunteerism to support peace and development worldwide. Volunteerism can transform the pace and nature of development and it benefits both society at large and the individual volunteer. UNV contributes to peace and development by advocating for volunteerism globally, encouraging partners to integrate volunteerism into development programming, and mobilizing volunteers. UNV is administered by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
For more information about UNV, please visit www.unv.org
UNV (April 2013)
To overcome the social exclusion experienced by youth and strengthen the linkage between educational systems and volunteerism, national and regional volunteering programmes are being developed to help strengthen youth participation in the development of their countries.