The Welfare Association (WA) is going towards making a Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Commitment to Action, by committing $7.3 million to support youth employment initiatives in Palestine and Tunisia.
WA is a leading independent Palestinian non-profit civil society organization headquartered in Ramallah, Palestine, and one of its major focuses is education and employment for Palestinian youth. WA will now expand the scope of that program within Palestine, and in the spirit of regional collaboration, extend its youth employment funding to other Arab countries starting with Tunisia. In a region devastated by internal strife and civic insecurity, WA believes that creating opportunity for young people is a key to a brighter future.
Through a three-year program and a total investment of $7.3 million, WA will expand the existing Youth Employment Services (YES) program in Palestine to create 1,800 additional internships in the Palestinian territories emphasizing equal opportunity for both men and women. In addition, WA is committed to a new workforce development program to create 200 new jobs for Palestinian youth in local and international markets. Training of new college graduates will help prepare them for jobs in fields such as information technology, web development, and web design.
Since 2009, more than 3,000 young adults (58% female) have benefited from YES’s training and apprenticeships. The participation of 1,300 local employers in sharing the cost with WA reflects positively on the acceptance of the program by the local communities. Approximately 70% of the YES program youth landed full-time jobs shortly after completing the program, and the program incubator helped 400 youth start their own businesses and 150 expanded their existing businesses, creating 700 new jobs. The YES program’s cumulative efforts over 3 years led to an aggregate annual income increase of $20 million through creating and filling job opportunities and entrepreneurships.
WA hopes to replicate the success of the YES program in other Arab countries. Tunisia is a great place to start as it has been successful in exercising democratic practices during the elections that followed the Arab Spring, and is in need to support its youth to seek a better future. YES Tunisia will help create jobs for young women and men, especially those with university degrees, through sharing best practices and establishing partnerships with active organizations. To accomplish this, WA will partner with Education for Employment-Tunisia to reach 1,000 youth over three-years providing fresh Tunisian graduates with skills development and job placement.
Of the $7.3 M needed for the Commitment, WA has provided $2.5 M and is seeking the remainder. WA would like to connect with philanthropists, donors and social investors who believe in investing in young people of all genders as a catalyst for change and advancement. We are ready to join hands to provide young men and women in Palestine and in other neighboring countries in the Middle East with this life-changing opportunity. Through this joint venture, Arab youth will be encouraged; trained, coached, mentored, challenged, and mobilized to “be the change” they want to see in their communities.
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