Challenges Facing Youth in the Gaza Strip
A panel of activists and civil society experts recommended to engage youth in decision-making process, protection of youth rights and creating jobs to overcome the current social, economic and political challenges and circumstances in the Gaza Strip.
The experts focused on various challenges facing young people in a one day conference organised by Society Voice Foundation to discuss various challenges facing youth in the Gaza Strip. SVF coordinated with a group of civil society organisations from the Middle area of Gaza Strip to attend and participate at discussions in Nusriate on August 28, 2019. SVF invited five speakers and experts who have been working with youth at different levels to present their experiences, share their own thoughts and engage in discussions with participants. A number of students and activists also attended the conference and participated at discussions launched by Fida Amer, SVF executive director. Mrs Amer provided a summary about SVF’s activities and programs in working with youth since its inception in 2002. She mentioned that SVF insists to continue its civil society activities despite the current sever challenges of funding and the deteriorated circumstances in the Strip owing to social, political division and economic situations.
Rami Mohsen, a lawyer talked about the current political and the impact of Palestinian division under the Israeli occupation on the youth unemployment, lose of hope and fear from future.
Haneen Samak, a civil society activist and consultant talked about the current deadlock and challenges facing youth and recommended that CSOs should have a clear strategy and plans to tackle these challenges by engaging in a network and exploring opportunities for youth.
Rami Hells, an activist talked about the impact of the siege and lack of movement on youth. This impact hinders youth free movement to explore potential jobs opportunities as the local economy is unable to response to youth needs and demands under the siege, occupation, increasing numbers of graduates and lack of movement and freedom.
Ismail Othmani, an activist talked about the role of youth groups in the community dialogue. He also summarised the challenges facing youth engagement in advocacy campaigns to lead and make a change in the Palestinian society; for example, some youth groups lack expertise and techniques of employing advocacy and working together. Some youth initiatives, however, use social media to highlight certain problems facing youth and society at large.
Shiama Marzouq, a jounarlist talked about youth, social media and advocacy and pointed out that the Palestinian reality is so difficult and deteriorating and this reflected on the social or traditional media. However, social media is a strong and influential and it can contribute to the raise youth issues and problem. Marzouk said that the youth used social networks to exercise their right of expression and spending their positive use in promoting self-development and the development of skills and capabilities under the siege and closure imposed on the Gaza Strip. There is a lack of coverage for youth issues as a result of the current crises and attention to political coverage at the expense of multiple societal issues.
The speakers also raised a number of recommendations as follows:
• The necessity of working to achieve reconciliation and end the division and work in a unified manner to end the Israeli siege.
• Working on issuing a law that protects and safeguards the rights of youth.
• Promoting youth participation in political life and their access to decision-making positions.
• Involving youth in institutional plans to identify their needs.
• Developing strategic plans to empower youth in the labor market and reduce unemployment.
• Encouraging initiatives in support of youth issues in the field of media.