3 Initiatives For Youth in the Middle East

Many youth and recent college graduates around the world are struggling looking for work. In 2012, unemployment in North Africa and the Middle East was at 25% for men and 42% for women ages 15-24. To meet the unemployment demands, organizations are now making an effort to create new jobs that address other social issues plaguing the region. The World Bank estimates that to deal with the unemployment problem 100 million more jobs need to be created in the region by 2020. Here are three initiatives working within the region trying to close the unemployment gap while making an effort to resolve social problems.

1. Yunus Social Business (YSB) – Founded in 2011 and with offices in Germany, Haiti, and Albania, YSB provides funds and advisory services to start up new businesses. While they play a vital role in the startup, the entrepreneurs run the businesses. YSB was co-founded by Nobel laureate professor Muhammad Yunus also known as the father of microcredit banking and social business.

2. Arab World Social Innovators (AWSI) – With their Middle East and North African headquarters based in Palestine and Egypt, AWSI addresses issues of poverty and inequality through business collaboration. According to their website, “We create the conditions for these partnerships to be successful by building trust, designing and implementing change processes, enhancing the effectiveness of bridging leaders and institutions, and sharing our knowledge and experience.”

3. Education for Employment (EFE) – This organization is run entirely by local affiliates and provides job training for unemployed youth in the Middle East and North African regions. EFE uses a large network of nonprofits to help young people in the region acquire the professional and vocational skills to make them competitive in their local labor market.

Colleen Eckvahl

Sources: Synergos, BBC, Global Envision, YSB