Empowering Youth Voices, Promoting Change: A New Project is Born!
Today marks the official launch of a new and unique project benefiting youth in the eastern and western basins of the Mediterranean Sea. Networks of Mediterranean Youth (NET-MED Youth) is a 3-year initiative managed by UNESCO with funding from the European Union that aims at enhancing the skills of young women and men and at empowering them to become actors of change in their communities and in the region.
The project will work with youth civil society organizations and local and regional institutions from Algeria, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Palestine, Syria and Tunisia.
Beacuse Southern Mediterranean countries share common challenges (youth social inclusion of youth, unemployment, weak labour market participation of women, low representation in public and political spheres, disinterest in civic engagement, exclusion from mainstream media and economic marginalization), NET-MED Youth comes as a joint UNESCO-EU response to help young women and men develop their competencies, claim and exercise their rights and meaningfully engage as active citizens, particularly in decision-making relating to youth policies. The focus of the project will be on the development and revision of public policies by reinforcing the capacities and participation of youth organizations and stakeholders working on youth-related issues (locally elected officials, decision-makers and civil servants).
NET-MED Youth will also work on the promotion of young people’s freedom of expression, representation in mainstream media and empowerment through media and information literacy, underpinning their participation in public dialogue and fostering quality media coverage of youth-related issues. The project will also provide national youth organizations with opportunities to take part in the review of policies and programmes focused on youth employment and transitions, in the production and dissemination of studies on youth skills needs for the labor market, and in national dialogue with stakeholders.
Many activities are in the plans for the youth networks, starting natioanlly and expanding at a later stage to a more transnational and regional work.
NET-MED Youth is in line with the objectives of UNESCO’s Operational Strategy on Youth 2014-2021 and with the UN System-wide Action Plan on Youth (SWAP). The project is also in line with the Action Plans concluded with most of the Southern Mediterranean countries within the context of the European Neighbourhood Policy revised in 2011. It complements the National Indicative Programmes (NIPs), particularly in relation to youth and the inclusion of civil society in the light of the EU’s renewed emphasis on building democracies and promoting human rights and fundamental freedoms.
Activities building skills among youth organizations and young journalists; to enhance youth representation in media and promote freedom of expression, media and information literacy and youth-generated media content.
Activities joining youth organizations, employment experts and different national stakeholders to engage in dialogue and work together on unemployment solutions and skills needs.
Activities empowering youth to participate in the communal and national development, revision and implementation of national youth strategies and public policies.