Society Voice Foundation organized an online dialogue to discuss youth initiatives and current challenges on September 18, 2020. A number of participants and speakers contributed to the meeting. Ms Amal Barika facilitated the meeting and introduced the first speaker Mr Yahya Kaoud. Mr Kaoud is a political researcher, talked about youth initiatives in the Gaza Strip between need and funding. He also discussed the need to involve young people in formulating ideas and goals of initiatives in institutions, but they lack the skills to prepare initiatives. He recommended to develop the skills and capacities of youth to run their initiatives.

Hikmat Al-Masry, a civil society activist ruled that the impact of youth initiatives is not a requirement that it be in a short period, but in the end it greatly affects and it is possible that a change will occur, whether by way of policies or laws or a change in the prevailing culture in society, explaining that volunteering in institutions. At an early age, young people should have the opportunity to obtain their employment rights in the institution. They also have priority in that when job opportunities are available through the funded projects that come to the institution, in return for young people’s entitlement to that opportunity is through their ability to develop their skills.

Ms Aziza Salem, a feminist activist stressed the importance of the role of civil society institutions in supporting and empowering youth and their participation in activities that contribute to refining their potential and creativity in implementing initiatives that contribute to decision-making.

Mr Hussam Jarghoun said “if we look at the work of civil society institutions on the one hand, and the nature of the political, social and economic conditions on the other hand, we find that there are great challenges, in light of the political division and the disruption of the Palestinian political system in general, the task of the work of institutions has become extremely difficult”. He added: “the youth issue has become secondary to the existing challenges and obstacles, despite their being one-third of society, which makes them in a significant decline in their role and tendencies and reluctance to demand their rights and resort to suicide and immigration”.
Ms Sherine Khalifa, a journalist said “engaging young people in initiatives should start at the university level, as it establishes to equip them with the necessary skills for the postgraduate stage when they actually start working on the initiatives, without waiting to start from scratch”. She added that the reality of youth and women alike has become complex, which pushes towards the continuous implementation of initiatives targeting both parties.

Some participants recommended to meet:

• The need to train young people on how to write youth and community initiatives.
• Involving youth in formulating creative and implementable ideas for youth initiatives.
• Allowing young people to volunteer in institutions and to have a real role, especially with regard to writing and implementing youth initiatives, and not just as a tool for implementation.

Youth Initiatives and the Current challenges