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"Knowledge from the region, for the region"
10 Aug

Stimulating Youth Participation in Public Policy and Decision-Making

The West Asia - North Africa (WANA) Institute and ESCWA hosted a three-day workshop in Amman this week on enhancing youth participation in public life and in the decision-making process. Twenty selected Jordanian youth leaders participated, representing youth organisations and associations, youth initiatives, government entities, and the private sector.

The workshop addressed the main issues youth are facing in the Arab region in general, and in Jordan in particular, such as high unemployment, low political participation, weak collective identity, gender inequality, and protracted conflicts.

“Jordan’s endowment includes capable and talented human resources,” said Rania Al-Jazairi, Senior Social Officer in the Social Development Division at ESCWA. “Jordanian youth have a strong sense of identity, of citizenship and national belonging. This is reflected in their high levels of volunteerism! It is important however to sharpen and hone their skills to actively participate in the political process and more effectively contribute to policy-making so as to induce the desired change”.

Throughout the workshop, participants gained skills for increased youth influence on public policies, such as leadership, communication, advocacy, policy dialogue, and consensus-building skills. They also learned about governance systems in the region, the different phases of public policy design, and how youth can influence the decision-making process.

“I think this workshop is a first step for youth in Jordan,” Qusai Abu Shanab (21) from Amman said. “I have a lot of things to think about after attending. Youth in Jordan want to make a change, but we need to know how.”

Qusai volunteers as a researcher for Save the Children and works for Tammey for Youth Development and I-Learn on youth projects. “This workshop taught me new ways of working with stakeholders. I will focus more on what information I can provide to them,” he said. “Now, I hope to be a part of the next step: sharing this knowledge with other youth.”

Mahmoud Nabulsi, Team Leader and Senior Researcher Civil Society at the WANA Institute, concluded that “the workshop aimed to build trust between youth leaders and other stakeholders concerned with youth participation, establish sustainable mechanisms and frameworks to support youth associations.”

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