One in six people in Lebanon is between the ages of 15 and 24, of which an estimated 520,000 are viewed as vulnerable including 305,000 are poor Lebanese, 164,000 Syrians, and 51,000 Palestinians.
The Syrian crisis, continuous internal unrest, and long-standing economic inequalities are becoming more widespread and have led to high levels of exclusion among disadvantaged Lebanese and non-Lebanese young girls and boys resulting with 94% of the non-Lebanese youth aged 15-24 not enrolled in formal education in Lebanon. Participation in informal learning is similarly low – with only 5% of refugee youth who have participated in life skills or similar training and just 9% in cultural/sports training. As a result, both Lebanese and non-Lebanese vulnerable youth are poorly skilled and do not acquire the adequate educational and professional readiness to navigate the critical transition to sustainable livelihoods successfully.
Lebanese youth also demonstrate a low level of participation and civic engagement and feel disempowered by the political system due to lack of representation, poor budget allocations, and weak implementation of youth programs and policies.
Our adolescent and youth program focuses on supporting vulnerable Lebanese and non-Lebanese adolescents and youth through three mutually supporting pillars:
- Inclusive policies for youth: Strengthen government capacity and systems to implement and monitor comprehensive strategies and plans for meaningful participation and empowerment of Lebanese and non-Lebanese youth. To achieve this, UNICEF works with all relevant government and non-government counterparts to operationalize the National Youth Policy and support its implementation and monitoring.
- Build skills base: Increase access of the most disadvantaged Lebanese and non-Lebanese youth (15-24 years) to technical and vocational training and innovative skills-building programs for improved professional readiness and employability.
- Expand participation: Strengthen mechanisms and increase opportunities for meaningful participation and empowerment of the most disadvantaged Lebanese and non-Lebanese youth at a central and local level, enabling active engagement in their communities as social agents in social cohesion and promotion of healthy lifestyles.
Our Key Achievements
The main goal of the youth programme is to ‘foster economically, personally and socially active and resilient youth’ which is in line with the Country Office’s vision to increase empowerment, participation and engagement of adolescent and youth as a means to ensure equity for all children. The programme aims to turnaround the current youth apathy and disengagement in social life and decision-making, into an unleashed force that will bring about positive change pertaining to their social life, education, and their preparedness to transition from school to work.
In partnership with Ministries of Education and Higher Education, Social Affairs, Labor and Agriculture, and the ILO, and with the support of the Prime Minister’s Office, UNICEF developed the Technical Vocational Education and Training National Strategic Framework (TVET NSF), which was launched in June 2018 by the Prime Minister, his Excellency Mr. Saad Hariri. The NSF provides a holistic plan for the reform in the TVET educational system, content and delivery to equip young people with the right skills to meet labor market needs. Following the launch, UNICEF and ILO are working with different governmental and non-governmental entities on the development of the action plan and on the implementation of key recommendations such as review of curriculum, capacity building of government staff, functional review of TVET institution and establishment of an EMIS system at the Ministry of Education; among other items.
Through its long-term partnership with UNFPA, UNICEF works on providing technical support to the Ministry of Youth and Sports (MoYS) to develop an Action Plan for the National Youth Policy (NYP) to help ensure the policy recommendations are translated into concrete action oriented results across concerned government ministries. The Action Plan incorporated a strong gender focus and includes a Monitoring and Evaluation framework. The Action Plan was completed in December 2018 with the participation of government ministries, civil society organizations and youth. During 2019, UNICEF and UNFPA will be working on implementing some of the key policy recommendations.
As part of the RACEII, and during the 2017/2018 school year, UNICEF has enrolled up to 2,926 students into the MEHE formal Technical Vocational Education and Training Public Schools. As for the Non-Formal Education (NFE) programme, a total of 8,205 (63% female) out of school youth have benefited from the Youth Literacy and Numeracy programme which is aligned with the NFE programme of MEHE. As such, UNICEF worked with MEHE’s Center for Education Research and Development (CERD) and the Ministry of Education and Higher Education (MEHE) to finalize the non-formal Youth Basic Literacy and Numeracy (YBLN) package in June 2018; in addition to training up to 100 staff from NGOs on the package. The new certified Youth BLN package includes two modules (basic and advanced), each comprising 300-hours focusing on functional literacy for out of school youth aged 15 to 24 who have been out of school for at least for two years. Both modules include Arabic Literacy and Numeracy in addition to Life Skills; while Module 2 includes an additional course for English as a Foreign Language. The YBLN package will be implemented with partners in the first quarter of 2019.
Since 2017, has supported over 46,497 adolescents and youth to increase their employability through increased access to, competency based skills training and innovation courses, with up to 20,000 youth benefiting from employment support services such as referral to employment and income generation opportunities, mentorship, apprenticeship and paid on the job training.
Since 2017, UNICEF has established 8 Innovation Labs and has reached over 12,000 youth all over Lebanon with Digital Skills, Social Entrepreneurship, Design Thinking and Tech Woodwork courses. Out of this number, over 2,000 young girls have participated in the Girl Got IT workshops across Lebanon and sat through inspirational talks by women in tech and attended STEM-related workshops to discover a potential career pathway. Lastly, up to 1,500 projects and/or social enterprises have been incubated and mentored.
Engaging young people in their communities is a priority for UNICEF to address social cohesion challenges among different communities, and to support and empower youth to engage in healthy lifestyles and become more civically engaged. Since 2017, UNICEF has reached over 50,000 adolescents and youth with integrated and structured life skills, sport for development and positive leadership programs.