Young researchers call for concrete change
A group of youth who completed a research on challenges facing young people in Lebanon have said their job is far from done.
Taking to the consultation roundtable of the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs at the American University of Beirut, the youngsters called for an action to be taken to deliver on a set of recommendations that they made.
Co-led by Issam Fares Institute and Save the Children and carried out by Lebanese and Syrian youth, the Participatory Action Research (PAR) identified a host of social barriers restricting children and youth’s access to essential services in Bekaa and North villages.
Hurdles such as lack of safe public spaces, limited access to education opportunities and lack of sufficient job opportunities meant that not everyone is getting the chance they deserve, according to the research.
‘’We want to be supported to deliver on the recommendations that we suggested,’’ said Kareem*, one of the young researchers. ‘’We want to see the change in our communities; in education, employment and public safety. These are the biggest issues we are facing.’’
Jana* said the experience opened her eyes on issues she never knew existed in her community.
‘’I have gained a lot of confidence,’’ she said. ‘’I left school at an early age so I wanted children to have better opportunities than I did.
‘’I came face to face with struggles I never knew existed in my community.’’
The discussions, attended by representatives from the Lebanese Ministry for Refugee Affairs, Ministry of Education and Higher Education and Ministry of Social Affairs, sought to explore ways to take the youth’s recommendations forward, through close coordination with local authorities and government bodies.
Representatives from the United Nations Higher Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Lebanon and from the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) were also present and actively listening to the young people’s interventions and commenting as well.
‘’We want to come up with something tangible,’’ said Rana Kharrat, Save the Children’s Child Rights Governance Specialist. ‘’We want to think for the long term. Each one of us has a responsibility to take an action that will contribute to improving the condition of those vulnerable communities.’’
The research has demonstrated the youth’s special talents and potential in promoting bright ideas for the common good. It is now up to those who hold the key to take these ideas forward and make the change happen.
*Names changed for protection