Today, millions of young people in the MENA region are directly affected by conflicts and live in precarious conditions. Economic exclusion—the youth unemployment rate in the region is the highest in the world—is closely linked to exclusion from decision-making processes; the voice of youth remains largely ignored.
The absence of youth from decision-making processes and from civil society can reduce their sense of belonging, lead to marginalization and heighten the risks of radicalization.
The images of the region projected by media also hide the daily dedication of many young women and young men to build more inclusive and equitable societies.
Youth is a force that has a significant influence on the reality of the region. We cannot neglect it.
What we do
Promoting youth citizen engagement through human rights education, Equitas is committed to:
- equip youth with the knowledge and skills to engage with decision-makers, civil society organizations and members of their community on human rights issues, such as gender equality and inclusion, and implement human rights initiatives in the region;
- leverage technology to address human rights issues, network and participate effectively in community life;
- build the capacity of human rights organizations to advance the respect for human rights, strengthen citizen engagement while reducing conflict;
- disseminate good practices, lessons learned, research findings and capacity-building tools on a regional and national level through trainings, forums and dialogues.
“The project helped change preconceived notions my family had about my capacity to contribute to my community”
– Nadaa, Yemen, 2015.
Through our work in MENA, we have:
- implemented over 25 youth-led community action projects allowing the youth to have open discussions on issues such as the exclusion of vulnerable groups from social and economic life, child-marriage, intertribal conflict and sexual harassment. The projects have reached over 16,000 people between 2012 and 2016.
- presented the Compendium of lessons learned and best practices Youth Participating in Community Life – Implementing Human Rights Projects in the Middle East and North Africa. Available in ENGLISH, ARABIC and FRENCH.
- trained over 250 human rights educators (including 173 youth) with knowledge and skills to effectively apply human rights education methodologies and promote gender equality, conflict resolution and citizen engagement in their work.
“Our theatre play presented important issues in a humorous way. The mothers who attended commended us on helping them become more aware of the negative consequences of early marriage on the health of their daughters”
– Maha, Morocco, 2016
“In Ramallah, Palestine, 48 grade 9 students from a girls school in a refugee camp campaigned for a sports and cultural centre accessible to them (the existing ones were for boys only). The girls, some of whom initially had trouble getting permission from their fathers to go to the meetings, have appeared on a nationally televised debate about the project.”
Equitas works in MENA in partnership with New Tactics, and the following local organizations: Arab Network for Civic Education (ANHRE), Horus Foundation for Development and Training, Change Academy for Democratic Studies, Association marocaine pour l’éducation de la jeunesse (AMEJ), Association des Femmes Tunisiennes pour la Recherche et le Développement (AFTuRD) and the Youth Leadership Development Foundation.
Our current project Technological bridges for citizen engagement is undertaken with the support from the Government of Canada through Global Affairs Canada (GAC).
Promoting Democratic Citizenship and Gender Equality in the Arab World (2010-2012)
Our past projects were undertaken with the support of the European Union, the Canadian Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI) in Jordan and the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie (OIF).