For NET-MED Youth working group in Israel, December 2016 was a month of cogitation, planning and most certainly a strong willingness to take action, to decide. Youth want to take matters in their own hand and be part of decision-making.
On December 14-15, youth conceived and organized a conference titled “Let’s Decide!” where the structure was non-traditional, but rather focused on informal gatherings and the creation of a space for youth and different high-level stakeholders to discuss and find common objectives to priority issues.
The conference kicked off with an evening gathering at a café in the city of Jaffa. Discussions revolved around the inclusion of commercials in news reports. Journalist and media researcher Oren Persico revealed in a conversation with the participants the methods and interests behind leading items that the public watches every day on news sites and on their screens.
It is no doubt that employment issues are generally ranked high on the priority list of youth. NET-MED Youth group in Israel had spent considerable time and effort working on these and on public policies; and the end of 2016 was a good opportunity to evaluate and find even better ways to carry the work forward in an action-oriented manner.
In a street survey, one can see youth speaking their minds about what they believe should improve and how at the level of decision-makers, policies, their inclusion and their ambitions.
What is missing for young people? How can public policy be changed so it would consider youth opinions and voices?
More intense work took place throughout the conference, when youth and the attendance engaged in thought-provoking discussions about the importance of considering young people as a wholesome and separate social category, and partners in determining the public agenda. The discussions and debates continued to cover the situation of young people in the labor market in Israel, and two youth organizations illustrated how things can be improved by using some of their activities as models.
Education for Excellence showcased how they work with young adults from low-income groups and Al Fanar showcased a series of initiatives they carry out to encourage and support youth employment in the Israeli-Arab sector.
The introduction of NET-MED Youth employment forecasting model during the conference was a great step. The model called for cooperation between young people and government offices in Israel so they can, together, build and implement it.
The conversations were fruitful, and sparked many creative ideas by the attendance made up of NET-MED Youth members and various organizations and interested youth.
"This conference was a liberating experience for me,” says Uvalo Simon, member of NET-MED Youth working group in Israel. “After a year and a half of hard work, we have succeeded in gathering more young people who were not part of our youth group and are also interested in the same ideas we were working on. This made me very happy. The meetings with all kinds of youth, our discussions, and the attentive atmosphere made my heart grow bigger.”
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.