Giving young Palestinians a future

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Razan Jamal Awad at work while studying woodcarving

Razan Jamal Awad at work while studying woodcarving (© Enabel).

Thanks to the Belgian Development Agency Enabel, young people in Palestinian Territories can take training courses that prepare them for the job market or to start up their own business.

Decent work and economic growth
Photo of Achmed Read Alam working on a laptop computer

Achmed Read Alam followed a training (ICT) (© Enabel).

Remedying the mismatch

This is especially true for the youth, who have yet to build a future. By 2050, there will be twice as many of them, while they are already suffering greatly from unemployment. Women are also finding it difficult to find work. Only 19% of women have a job, compared to 72% of men.

Palestinian businesses must contend with political instability, unresolved conflicts and continued restrictions on freedom of movement and access to resources, services and trade. Moreover, they report a strong mismatch between job market demand and the available skills. There is a shortage of both technical and personal skills.

It is especially the latter – the mismatch – that the Belgian Development Cooperation is trying to remedy. The Belgian development agency Enabel launched a program in 2019 – Skilled Young Palestine – which assists young people in developing skills demanded by various industrial sectors, such as precious metals, wood and ICT.

The training courses are taking place in 4 areas where vulnerable young people are the most abundant, specifically the Gaza Strip, the Northwest Bank, Hebron and East Jerusalem. Women receive special attention.

A hand places a jewel on a table with numerous other jewels on it

The beautiful jewels designed and produced by Salsabeel Naser Hassouna (© Enabel).

Wood carving, jewellery and ICT

At any rate, Razan Jamal Awad is very pleased that she found the training courses on the Internet. During the coronavirus crisis, she lost her job, but thanks to Enabel, she was able to specialise in wood carving and engraving. 'I can now make a piece myself from start to finish, without any help,' she says. 'I dream of building up my own workshop and producing unique products for the market.'

Salsabeel Naser Hassouna from Gaza tells a similar story. She chose to design jewellery. 'I learned to machine metal and got a grant to buy my own machines,' she says. 'I now have my own brand – Golden Salsabeela – with several outlets. I've also set up an online store. Thanks to the training, my family now has a good source of income. I'd love to make Golden Salsabeela an internationally recognised brand and want to be an inspiration to the youth.'

Achmed Read Alamoudi was able to get ready for the ICT job market thanks to the ASP.NET training. Afterwards, he finished his university education. 'Thanks to the training, I gained skills and expertise that are in demand in the job market,' he says. 'Today, I work at a software company. I'd love to have my own project with a large technical team, which could then be a starting point for my own business. Inshallah!'

All the courses teach technical skills as well as entrepreneurship and personal skills, such as working in a team. Skilled Young Palestine is making a fine contribution to SDG8 – decent work for all.