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Middle East and North Africa

Youth and women are key drivers of positive social change in the MENA region. Despite their desire to engage with their communities, they face tremendous barriers to participate. That is why Equitas and its partners work to engage youth and women through innovative human rights education initiatives. A particular focus is put on youth and women living with disabilities.


Today, millions of young people in MENA are directly affected by conflicts and live in extremely precarious conditions. Economic exclusion – the unemployment rate among youth in the region remains the highest in the world – is closely linked to exclusion from decision-making processes, with the voice of youth largely ignored.

Their absence from decision-making and civil society can lead to a reduced sense of community, marginalization and increased risk of radicalization.

Media images of the region also obscure the daily struggles of countless young women and men to build more equal societies.
Youth is a force that strongly influences the reality of the region and cannot be ignored.

What we do

In close collaboration with our partners, we use human rights education to identify current challenges and create positive social change. We:

  • 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 new tools and good practices on a regional and national level through trainings and forums;
  • create an understanding of human rights values among children through our innovative Play it Fair! Education toolkit (in Arabic)

Program Brochure



Our impact

“The project helped change preconceived notions my family had about my capacity to contribute to my community”
Nadaa, Yemen, 2015.

“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.”

Our partners

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) and the Ministry of International Relations and La Francophonie (MRIF)


Rawabet (2017-2020) 

Joussour (2015-2016)

Mosharka (2012-2015)

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, the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie (OIF) and Global Affairs Canada.


Keep updated on the latest news on our work in MENA


Read our stories – such as the story of Nawres Chriti – which demonstrate how Equitas helps youth participate in community life and engage the community on human rights issues that affect them.


Discover tools, tips and resources to take action.


Nadjet Bouda
Program Officer, Equitas
514-954-0659 #274

DONATE. Support our efforts in the Middle East and North Africa.

Human rights education ignites community solutions that lead to change. We can do it together. Donate now.