#Learning2Earning: High-level summit galvanizes key partners in Middle East and North Africa
The high-level summit focused on young people’s learning, skilling and transition to decent work
Majd Al Abdallah, Middle East and North Africa Youth Advisory Group member, reflects on the experience of participating in the High-Level Meeting in Amman.
Everyone who participated agrees: One of the most successful aspects of the Regional High-Level Meeting (HLM) on Young People’s Learning, Skilling and Transition to Decent Work, held in Amman, Jordan, on 23 and 24 May 2022, was the in-depth participation and engagement of young people.
As a member of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Youth Advisory Group (YAG) established to support the HLM, I was engaged over several months in all aspects of the preparations, including facilitating and participating in consultations and thematic round-table discussions that fed into the HLM, as well as advising and working closely with the organizers leading the event: UNICEF, the International Labour Organization (ILO), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), in close collaboration with Generation Unlimited. At the event itself, the YAG members – including myself – were given the opportunity to play highly visible roles as moderators, facilitators, rapporteurs and organizers throughout the two days.
Through the HLM preparation process, we were building our critical thinking and analysis skills, leadership competencies and advocacy tools. We were able to apply these skills through discussions and debate as we highlighted and tried to reach consensus on the key issues and challenges that we face in our communities, including gender discrimination, refugees’ lack of access to opportunities and quality services, mental ill health, dropping out of school, and the mismatch between skills learned at school and those needed in the labour market.
What made the engagement rich and rewarding was the diversity of my fellow YAG members, with almost every country in the MENA region represented, as well as having the space to express our collective concerns and the opportunity to share our aspirations for the region. In addition, participating in the HLM gave us the opportunity to engage with private sector actors, governments and international stakeholders, which helped us to raise our voice in front of decision-makers and highlight our recommendations, which were incorporated in the call to action and in the national voluntary commitments that countries made during the HLM.
The HLM highlighted the importance of partnerships and cooperation between all sectors, in line with the Generation Unlimited vision of fostering greater public-private-youth partnership to support the efforts of young people in having a greater impact in advancing society towards development, prosperity and a safe environment that ensures that everyone has access to fair and equal opportunities.
I’m hopeful that our contributions will have a positive impact for the young people in our region, including greater opportunities for second-chance education, support for young people’s transition to the labour market, an increase in social entrepreneurship, and the addressing of the unique challenges for displaced young people in the MENA region. This process helped to empower young people, and it personally helped me to get closer to my goals of supporting my peers and having their voices heard.
The findings of the HLM ensured cooperation between all sectors, raised the visibility of the success stories and offered incentives for me to continue achieving my ambition, through supporting youth and being an influencer, positive change-maker and a voice for youth.
GenU supported the High-Level Meeting in close coordination with the organizing agencies and called on partners across the MENA region to strengthen the public-private-youth partnership model to scale programmes that support the transition from learning to earning. Urmila Sarkar, GenU Global Head of Programmes, shared the GenU approach by discussing ‘The Power of Partnerships’ at the opening plenary on the second day of the forum. This was followed by keynote speeches by the Netherlands’ Ambassador for Youth, Education and Work, Tijmen Rooseboom, and Founder of Act4Impact and GenU Young People’s Action Team member Najib Matar.
View all videos from the High-Level Meeting here.