In Palestine, the 5th generation of people is currently growing up under military occupation. Especially for Palestinian youth, this means that their everyday life as well as their future plans are not determined by themselves. The political fragmentation of the Palestinian government, which does not care about the interests of the young people, is also problematic. Many young people wish to be part of decision-making processes to bring about changes for peace to their homeland.
The project “Right to self-determination” by Horyzon and YMCA Palestine aims to empower the Palestinian youth, especially women to become involved at local decision-making levels of the Palestinian society. Hence, a core group of 25 young people developed a “National plan for youth participation” over a one-year time period with the support of various expert and youth committees. Subsequently, the Al Ofoq (arab. for Horyzon) youth group organised various workshops and campaigns to publicise their plan for youth participation and to assert their right to participation. Moreover, 3 local community initiatives were carried out which showed what young people can achieve within civil society.
At the end of the project, 73% of the young people reported that their ability to assert their rights had increased significantly. In addition, 64% of the young people stated that they could make use of the knowledge and the acquired skills in order to contribute to the youth work in the future.
The Al Ofoq youth group remains after the project has been completed and, once the COVID19 pandemic has abated, will try to discuss with government representatives to further promote the national youth participation plan.