Ramallah, Palestine – 20 June 2022
Empowering youth to be resilient against drugs, violence and crime is vital for national and regional development and stability. The Middle East is home to one of the youngest populations globally with nearly half of the population consisting of children and young people (0-24 years). According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, in 2021, the percentage of youth (18-29 years) in Palestine was about 22%. Young people have the potential to become agents of change, acting for a more prosperous and stable future for themselves and their communities. UNODC, the Higher Council of Youth and Sports, the Ministry of Health, and the Ministry of Education, in partnership with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), launched a new youth programme under the title “Youth Empowerment for Impact”.
The Programme will help young women and men, including those most marginalized and at-risk, to experience healthier, safer, and more empowered life transitions, become economically empowered and integrated into communities safer from crime, violence, and drugs.
Mr. Marwan Wishani, Assistant Deputy at the Higher Council of Youth and Sports, endorsed the national and regional benefits of the Programme, noting that it will be implemented in several counties, where many professionals will be trained to support and empower youth. “Now,” he added, “we also welcome regional activities to take place in Palestine and we will provide our support for them.” In his opening remarks, Khaldoun Oweis, Head of the UNODC Office in Palestine, stated that this Programme will be implemented by UNODC through a number of initiatives over the next two years, including life and family skills, and crime prevention through sports.
The national kick-off event topped off a 3-day ‘LineUp! LiveUp!’ training for sports educators and counselors from the Ministry of Education, the Higher Council of Youth and Sports, and UNRWA. Thirty-two participants (15 female, 17 male) improved their theoretical and practical knowledge of crime prevention through sports and applied it through various sports and group activities throughout the course of the training. “Life skills and group activities are crucial for positive change in youth behavior”, said Rihan Al-Himri from UNRWA. “during these activities young people spend time in each other’s company and positively influence each other”.
This national kick-off event was a part of the Regional Youth Programme that will be implemented in 6 MENA countries (Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Lebanon, Sudan and Palestine). The project is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).
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