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news | May 15, 2014 | Jordan | Development

Unemployment is widely perceived as the main challenge faced by youth in Jordan

The vast majority of Jordanian youth have been involved in one way or another in civic initiatives in spite of limitations in resources available to youth and unemployment is widely perceived as the main challenge faced by youth in Jordan, pushing many of them to consider leaving the country.

Three years have passed since the Arab Spring process started and, despite some disillusionment as regards to its results, youth in Jordan are globally optimistic about their situation in the next five years. This is one of the key findings stemming from a youth opinion polling which was conducted by ACTED in Jordan, in the framework of an EU-supported youth project in the Middle East. The polling targeted 200 Jordanian youth aged 16 to 25, from four governorates (Maan, Tafilah, Zarqa and East Amman). The polling sheds light on four key areas, namely youth civic engagement, youth perceptions vis-à-vis the MENA region and Europe, unemployment, and access to information.

Civic engagement

In terms of civic engagement, 80 per cent of surveyed youth have done some volunteering in the past and 62 per cent did so with the support of their parents. Volunteering is more common among males (88 per cent) than among females (79 per cent). Access to youth clubs, the launch of cultural events and the availability of recreational areas are, in this order, the services that most youth point out as the main priorities. In terms of the personal capacities youth would like to develop, the surveyed youth prioritize the learning of foreign languages, followed by the capacity to the set up and launch initiatives.

Youth perceptions of the Middle East

With regards to their perceptions vis-à-vis other Middle East countries and Europe, only 3 per cent of the surveyed cited Jordan as the country where the youth faces the best situation, as compared to 56 per cent citing the United Arab Emirates. Opinion is split when it comes to Europe; 35 per cent thinks Jordanian youth can learn from their European counterparts, while another 35 per cent believes that values and culture are too different.

Job opportunities

The lack of job opportunities regardless the level of education as well as transportation problems are cited as the main obstacles faced by youth when searching for a job in Jordan. Given this situation, a majority among the surveyed are ready to move to another governorate (40 per cent of surveyed), to another MENA country (20 per cent), or to Europe (12 per cent).

Access to information

Regarding youth access to information, internet, television and newspapers are, in this order, the most widely used media by youth. Internet is consulted every day by 62 per cent of the surveyed and it is also perceived as being the most trustworthy media.

These findings will contribute to inform ACTED’s civil society strategy in the MENA region.