The Answer to Ending Youth Unemployment in Palestine

Education for Employment

Originally published by the Huffington Post on July 30, 2015. 

For many people, a job is the ultimate source of stability and pride. For me, it is the feeling of being part of my community and my nation as a whole.

I am a Palestinian and I am 30 years old. I studied Computer Information Systems in university in hopes of finding a job after graduation.

I understand why people are attracted to go work in the governmental or private sectors, but I chose to work in the field of social entrepreneurship because it has an important humane aspect that increased my sense of belonging to my nation. What contributed to my choice of working in this field also is the passion I have for development, creativity, uniqueness and giving back by helping others.

Today, I manage the local Qalqilah branch of the nonprofit Sharek Youth Forum, where I am helping young social entrepreneurs to launch and implement projects to serve their communities.

I believe that more people should be encouraged to work in the field of social entrepreneurship because it promotes the concept of partnership, contribution, and creativity in people's work, and helps them become more mature, as well. Governments should be promoting this type of work by investing in youth with ideas and allowing them to manage and evaluate their own projects.

NGOs and companies in the private sector play a huge role in this, as well. I've always had the desire to work with my community and be a social entrepreneur, but it was the program I took with the Palestine Education For Employment and Intel that taught me the various skills I needed to succeed. I learned proper time management and how to set feasible goals for the projects I wanted to work on, in addition to overcoming any challenges that came along the way.

One project I had done involved opening a services center that provides technical support in electricity and water-pipes maintenance for houses in Ramallah. It gave me a lot of experience in terms of knowing the basic requirements for a project to succeed. I also gained a lot in terms of learning how to do market research and establishing direct contact with stakeholders.

My goal is ultimately to be able to start my own projects based on the techniques and the proper scientific methods I have learned and make sure they are sustainable and are functioning in service of my community. I think we need more youth to use their ideas and creativity to benefit their communities through their own projects and they should always be ready to develop a sense of personal responsibility and integrity and also learn how to deal with failure and learn from the mistakes of others.

A message also needs to be sent to leaders about these youth and how to best work with them and making sure they are raised to want to help their communities and their families. I was lucky enough to have my family and my friends support my work because I am working to support poor families through my organization's projects or by connecting them to different aid and relief organizations. But, many do not have the same opportunity that I did, yet they are just as ambitious and devoted to their communities. The governmental and private sectors need to find ways to empower these youth and allow them to realize their full potential.

In the end, I want to use my skills in social entrepreneurship to help as many people in Palestine as I can. There are many out there like me and we need to develop the structure and the curriculum to able to support them so they can have as a large of a positive effect on their communities as possible. With that, hopefully things will change for the better.

This post is part of a series produced by The Huffington Post and Education For Employment (EFE), the leading youth employment nonprofit network in the Middle East and North Africa. EFE has affiliates in Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Palestine, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia and Yemen, and has a presence in the UAE. The series is being produced in conjunction with the launch of HuffPost Arabi, the newest international edition of The Huffington Post, and the posts in this series will be published in English and in Arabic. The focus of the series is on social entrepreneurship, as part of HuffPost's continuing "What's Working" initiative.