What is Youth for Change?
Youth for Change is a youth-led program that aims at Inspiring, Informing and Involving Arab youth as Agents of Change in their communities.
With 60% of the population under 30 years, youth in the Arab world are considered the largest age group among the Arab population. However, Arab societies still lack the proper structures for organizing youth activism, whether through volunteerism, youth activities, or networking opportunities. In addition, many obstacles face youth mobilization in the Arab countries as they are particularly affected by unemployment, deteriorating public education, and gender oppression.
Despite all these factors, Arab youth represent great potential for the region and it is important to give them the chance and space to network and invest their energies to take part in their communities, as they can be a huge and powerful resource with their creativity, energy, and forward thinking.
The Bibliotheca Alexandrina and TakingITGlobal believe that young people need further inspiration, information, and involvement — key ingredients for effective participation in their communities and in the world. Youth are not apathetic by nature, however they can be considered as simply uninspired. They lack information about issues, and a personal connection or imperative for action. And once inspired, youth lack a pathway to action — they lack a comprehensive, easy to navigate way to get information on opportunities for involvement, events to participate in, funds to access, networks to join, and other youth to involve in their work. In addition, youth are rarely meaningfully involved in policy development and therefore lack the framework, support and legitimacy for sustained action.
With increasing numbers of members from the MENA region and continuous requests from active youth for more intervention in the region, the Bibliotheca Alexandrina and TakingITGlobal realized the importance of creating a hub and mentorship platform for youth-led development projects in the Arab world, through providing online and offline tools and spaces as well as grants and scholarships. Therefore the need for Youth for Change became evident and the venture began with a pilot in 2008 targeting 10 Arab countries, which then progressed to phases II and III targeting all 22 Arab countries. In each country, local country coordinators and organizations were indentified for cooperation on the ground level to ensure the reach, success and support of the youth.
Following the success of phases I,II, III, the Bibliotheca Alexandrina along with TakingITGlobal were determined to revive the program despite the shattered and problematic situation of the current Arab World and launched phase IV in April 2016 on the theme "ICT: Supporting Leaders of the Future". This phase aims to provide opportunities for young Arab talent in the ICT area to be recognized and nurtured to be implemented in 10 Arab countries.