At the onset of the Arab Spring and as an answer to democratic youth movements in the wider region, several local organizations were established, but they lacked stable and sustainable frameworks and infrastructures and eventually had to close. As a direct answer to this vacuum, a group of seven local activists came together to discuss solutions that would provide a sustainable and viable platform to youth groups that want to contribute towards the development of the local community and the strengthening of a democratic, open and diverse society in the region. After mapping their strengths and opportunities, Sanad Association was established and a 5-year program launched in 2012. Sanad has been officially registered as a non-for-profit organization in 2014, under the auspices of the Al-Qasemi College of Engineering and Science in Jatt.
Since those initial meetings, Sanad has been able to achieve its targets set in 2012:
Today Sanad is a viable and stable organization
Trained a total of 80 university students and 180 children in 2 local communities (Jatt and Baka), implementing 13 community projects.
Youth participation is a key factor for the political and social development of society and of a democratic system. Young people will be the leaders, actors and decision-makers in the future. Investing in youth means a commitment not only to their improved well-being and livelihood, but also to the economic, social, political and cultural development of future generations.
The empowerment of young people depends on and reinforces the empowerment of society at large.
Risk of Poverty and other Challenges
In recent years, the risk of poverty has shifted from the elderly to the young. Over the past years, young people (aged 18-25) suffered from the most severe income losses. Youth is now experiencing the greater risk of income poverty (OECD, June 2014, Income Inequality Update). This is of great significance if we take into consideration that the Arab population in the region is very young (around 40% is aged under 14 years).
Discrimination and structural inequalities, difficulties to build a family and a home, unemployment, patriarchal social norms and the lack of safe cultural and social spaces result in high levels of frustration, despair, low self-esteem and feeling of disempowerment. This creates a situation of high risk for youth, with an increase in violence and at-risk behaviors, especially for young men.
In order to build a strong Arab society, which is empowered and proud of its identity, hopeful of the future, enjoys its rights, is self-confident as citizens and contributes to the development of society in general, the state and community structures need to evolve towards a just and democratic society.