30 November 2007
Given the “increasingly fragmented” Palestinian society as stated by the Secretary-General, on the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people (29 November 2007), involving youth in the democratization process is essential.
Palestinians aged from 18 to 30, represents 45% of the voters. Palestinian youths are also highly represented in the alarming unemployment rate in the Gaza Strip (one third of the labor force) and in the West Bank (one quarter of the labor force).
UNDEF is supporting a two-year initiative entitled the “Youth Rights Monitor” developed by UNIFEM and PYALARA, the Palestinian Youth Association for leadership and rights activation. This project aims to enhance the participation of Palestinian youth in the national policy dialogue with a special focus on youth rights.
Initially designed as an exercise in parliamentary monitoring, the project has been reinforcing its communication and participation dimensions, in response to the current situation.
The project strategy is to involve young activists in two main activities: firstly, monitoring and being a watchdog of the Palestine Legislative Council (PLC) and secondly, advocacy and awareness-raising on youth rights.
This has been done by selecting a cadre of one hundred young men and women who are trained and assigned to three different committees:
Youth Monitor Training
The recent political developments, in particular, regarding the PLC’s action have led to some adaptations in the project activities.
Despite the circumstances, PYALARA has continued, in the West Bank
and Gaza strip, to conduct workshops and intensive training sessions
to educate young volunteers on the role and functions of the PLC. Lubna
Abu Safye, a 22 years old student at Birzeit University, explained that
“the Youth Monitor Program” provided the trainees with the
opportunity to observe and learn about the duties of the Legislative
Council and enabled them to link their knowledge with their every-day
This will, hopefully, contribute “to reverse the growing sense
of despair” of the Palestinian population and will help realize
the wish expressed by Harb, a Youth Monitor volunteer, when he said
“Today’s monitor, tomorrow’s parliamentarian.”