Skip to Content

news | July 19, 2016 | oPT | Development

Mohammed’s story: How economic empowerment is changing young people’s lives in the West Bank

A professional skills training session at PYALARA’s employment center near Ramallah in the West Bank.

In the Occupied Palestinian Territories, ACTED and project partner PYALARA, with the support of the European Union, are supporting young people like Mohammed to access jobs and build their own futures.

Twenty four-year old Mohammed graduated from Birzeit University in Ramallah in 2014 with a degree in electrical engineering. In spite of his qualifications and skills, Mohammed was unable to find a job in either his field of expertise or any other related field. After a year of job-hunting, Mohammed, like many of his friends, began to consider emigrating to find work outside of the Occupied Palestinian Territories. He had lost hope and had grown increasingly frustrated with the lack of opportunities.

ACTED is implementing a 30-month EU-funded project, “Strengthening youth and women’s leadership in local and national decision-making processes in 3 MENA countries," in collaboration with four national partners across Palestine, Jordan and Lebanon, as well as youth and women leaders, civil society organizations and networks, and key stakeholders. The project is strengthening youth and women leadership and involvement in decision-making, while increasing institutional and operational capacities to promote them as agents of positive change in the three key policy areas of: youth economic empowerment, environmental protection, and the prevention of gender-based violence.

However, that changed when he received the opportunity to participate in ACTED and PYALARA’s three-day professional training program in the West Bank. The ACTED MENA Regional Office and their partner, the Palestinian Association for Leadership and Rights Activation (PYALARA), established two employment program centres with the aim of economically empowering young people in the West Bank and Gaza. The centres provide support to the youth, including job readiness skills, research skills, professional training and links to the private sector.

Mohammed is just one of many success stories. Through the program, he had the opportunity to improve his skills, such as CV writing, job interview preparation, and communication. Following his training, the employment program centre manager successfully matched Mohammed’s skills with an opportunity to enter the labor market as a trainee in an electrical engineering company. Mohammed was given further training by the company, and within a month, following an excellent evaluation of his work, the company recruited him. With ACTED and PYALARA’s support, Mohammed found a stable and fulfilling job in the field that he spent years studying for. He still looks forward to learn and continue to build a better future.

ACTED and PYALARA’s work to empower young people like Mohammed is part of the EU-funded project. In the Occupied Palestinian Territories, ongoing socio-economic and political instability contributes to high levels of unemployment and a lack of opportunities for the youth. Up to 54% of young graduates are currently unemployed. Through this project, ACTED and PYALARA are providing young men and women, such as Mohammed, with necessary professional skills and training. This, in addition to access to the labor market through services that match the youth with job vacancies in the private sector.