Youth Bulge Issues in Yemen and the MENA Region by xcu79604


									Youth Bulge Issues in Yemen and the MENA Region
An Annotated Bibliography of Research, and Government,
Donor and Civil Society Responses

30 October 2007

Mary Jennings
Seema Khan
This report has been prepared for the Department for International Development by
Seema Khan and Mary Jennings, consultants supplied by the International
Development Department of the University of Birmingham through the Governance
and Social Development Resource Centre Framework. The views expressed herein
are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the view of Coffey
International Development, the consortium members of GSDRC or DFID.

Table of Contents

1. Overview...................................................................................................... 3

2. Comments from Experts .............................................................................. 6

3. Key Resources ............................................................................................ 7
     General ............................................................................................................... 7
     National Responses ............................................................................................ 9
     Youth Inclusion and Empowerment................................................................... 10
     Access to Education and Education Reform ..................................................... 13
     Literacy and Adult Education ............................................................................ 16
     Civic Education and Life Skills .......................................................................... 18
     Technical and Vocational Training .................................................................... 18
     Job Creation ...................................................................................................... 22
     Entrepreneurship............................................................................................... 24
     Disadvantaged Children and Youth .................................................................. 26
     Security and Stability......................................................................................... 27
     Migration ........................................................................................................... 30
     Additional Issues ............................................................................................... 31
     Research Programmes ..................................................................................... 31
     Further Resources ............................................................................................ 32

4. Press Articles ............................................................................................ 32

5. Additional Information ............................................................................... 32

1. Overview

This study is an extension of a previous query conducted on youth issues in Yemen. It has
been conducted over a period of seven days and is the result of consultation with experts in
Yemen and internationally, as well as desk-based research. It aims to provide commentary
and key documents on the implications of the increase in youth populations in Yemen and the
wider Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, as well as information on government,
donor and civil society responses to the challenges that this represents. This study adopts
the Middle East Youth Initiative’s 1 definition of youth as those aged between 15 and 29 as a
range that is reflective of the prolonged transitions to adulthood faced by many in the region.
However, most Yemeni government documents refer to youth as those between the ages of
15 and 24.

The MENA region as a whole has experienced rapid population growth in recent years and
the issue of large youth populations has received considerable attention as an issue of critical
importance. Yemen in particular, has, and for the foreseeable future will, continue to
experience a considerable youth bulge due to high rates of fertility. While high numbers of
working-age people can be an asset, high population growth has had an adverse impact on
most aspects of life in Yemen. This includes rising poverty, malnutrition, high rates of
preventable disease, low levels of school enrolment, high illiteracy rates and rising
unemployment. Yemen also suffers from water scarcity which poses an additional challenge.
This study however was able to identify relatively little information about youth issues in the
Yemeni context.

According to the UNDP, since 1975 Yemen’s population has grown two and a half times,
reaching 19.4 million in 2003. According to projections, the population is expected to grow to
35 million by 2025. Population growth rates fell recently from 3.7% to 3.5%, but still stand at
one of the highest in the world. The young age structure of the population (47% under 15
years old) and a fast-growing labour force demand a rapid expansion of employment
opportunities which, to date, the Yemeni economy has been unable to provide.

During the period from 1994 to 1999, unemployment almost doubled in Yemen. The
repatriation of large numbers of Yemeni workers from the Middle East following the first Gulf
War had a devastating effect at the household level as well as on the economy as a whole.
Today, this situation is further exacerbated by high dropout rates from basic education,
increasing numbers of graduates with education and skills that do not match labour market
needs, and the growing trend (especially among women) of seeking employment to improve
living standards.

In addition, the public sector, previously the field of choice for young Yemeni graduates, can
no longer absorb labour supply. And the private sector has not yet developed sufficiently to
be able to offer a meaningful alternative to un- and under-employment. This is one of the
reasons that Yemen has not enjoyed the benefits of the record levels of economic growth
experienced in the MENA region during the period of 2000–05. Whilst this growth has
predominantly been due to increased oil prices, those countries in the region which have
focussed on investment, and encouraged the development of dynamic private sectors have
seen an acceleration in job creation. There is general agreement across the region, however,
that the solution is not just to provide more jobs but better jobs and ‘decent work’ - i.e. that
meets the expectations of young people and the needs of the globalised knowledge
economy. Yemen must create an environment that is conducive to investment and

1   See p.30 for further information.

entrepreneurship and capable of competing in the global markets. However, it must also
protect its workers from the volatility that this may bring, by providing relevant education
alongside safety nets for those who are left behind.

There has been considerable investment in the education sector across the MENA region,
and many countries have achieved universal primary enrolment. However, in Yemen, access
to basic education remains a key issue, especially for children in the rural areas, and
particularly for girls (about 69% of rural males above the age of 10 are literate, and only about
24% of rural females). The quality and relevance of education is also a problem. Many young
people leave school and university without the skills needed to enter the local labour market.
In addition, there are also questions about the relevance of the current curriculum to
developing the life skills that are required by young people in Yemen today, e.g. citizenship,
leadership, innovation, creativity, etc. A number of donors are active on this issue, particularly
in terms of providing basic education for women and girls.

There is widespread illiteracy and low levels of educational attainment amongst women.
Yemen has one of the largest gaps in the world between the net primary school attendance
rates of boys and girls - 87% to 63% according to UNICEF figures. A recent Impact
Assessment of projects under the Social Fund for Development (SFD) programme found that
there is a 22% drop out among girls between the ages of 11 and 12. The main factors which
hinder girls’ access to education are the limited number of segregated schools and
classrooms, a lack of trained female teachers, lack of sanitation facilities, long distances, and
the high opportunity costs as perceived by parents. In addition early marriage is common
among women in Yemen and significantly affects their access to education, employment and
empowerment. The issue of promoting family planning through providing access to services
and female health workers is important in this sense; however, this is outside the scope of
this study.

Government and donor responses
At the government level, a national youth strategy has been formulated which aims to
address youth unemployment, improve youth inclusion and participation, provide more
options for leisure activities and discourage early marriage. However, donors argue that the
strategy needs further technical elaboration while civil society actors claim that they have
seen little in the way of implementation. More promisingly, an action plan has been
developed recently with support from the World Bank. Other donor responses have included
programmes which aim to increase access to education by building schools, providing
training and incentives to female teachers in rural areas, and providing literacy and skills
development at basic, higher and adult education levels. There is increasing recognition
across the region and in Yemen itself of the importance of technical and vocational education
and training (TVET). A number of donors have implemented TVET programmes in various
countries in the region (albeit with mixed results). In Yemen, the government has established
a Ministry in this area, and has been working with the World Bank, the International Labour
Office (ILO) and the Islamic Bank of Saudi Arabia to refurbish existing centres and to
establish new ones.

Additional Issues
Youth bulges can exacerbate pre-existing political and socioeconomic problems - certainly
governments with large youth populations struggle to expand basic services such as housing,
education, healthcare, sanitation and jobs. It is also argued that there is a link between youth
economic prospects and social unrest, which can be fuelled by feelings of
disenfranchisement and discontent and there is some literature that identifies youth bulges,
high levels of education and unemployment as contributing factors to extremism in the Middle
East. While these are important issues in Yemen, almost all experts argue that political
violence and instability are more helpfully understood in the context of political structures and

legitimacy, and ideological environments. Some commentators claim however, that US
efforts, at least, tend to see youth programmes as a ‘soft issue’.

During the time allotted for the research, relatively little information specific to the Yemen
context was found on the impact of civil society and other non-state actors on youth issues,
private sector growth for employment creation, migration issues, and the link between youth
issues and political instability. Where possible, regional perspectives on these issues have
been included. Interestingly, the information that was readily available on programmes that
are explicitly defined as focused on youth inclusion and empowerment, seem to be almost
exclusively focused on women. Many of these, in turn, centre on providing access to
information and communication technologies and computer skills. Studies/data on migration
in Yemen have also been difficult to identify. However, experts point to the significant decline
in migration to neighbouring countries following the 1991 Gulf War as an issue. In the
ensuing crisis, almost 2 million workers across the region were forced to leave their countries
of residence. Of the workers who returned to Yemen, many were originally from rural areas.
Reluctant to return home they stayed on in the urban areas of Yemen, forming pockets of
unemployed men who were used to good salaries. Today, the traditional opportunities for
migration within the region have declined significantly and this has impacted heavily on the
economic prospects of Yemeni youth.

Several additional issues, outside of the terms of reference for this study, were identified
during the course of the research for this study and have also been addressed below. These
include protection for disadvantaged and street youth and the question of the transition to
adulthood and family. On the latter, there is increasing evidence that the exclusion resulting
from lack of economic opportunities is forcing young people, men in particular, to delay
marriage and trapping them in a state of ‘waithood’ as they face an uncertain future.

Due to the lack of detailed and publicly available information on Yemen, it was anticipated
that this query would rely on consultation with experts and development professionals
working in the field and internationally. However, despite the extensive list of experts
contacted by email and telephone, relatively few were able to respond within the allotted
timeframe. It may be worth noting that many donors and civil society organisations contacted
said that they their work was not explicitly focused on youth. Several experts also suggested
that they would be happier to comment on more specific, operational questions. Their
comments as well as the limited response, suggest that the issue or context may also be
somewhat sensitive and that perhaps, the methodology of a desk review in providing in-depth
insight is of limited utility.

As this query covers a wide range of topics, it is organised by thematic issue with, where
relevant, more analytical information followed by documents on programmes and policies.
Also, where relevant, documents which address the Yemen context are listed first followed by
those with a wider regional focus.

2. Comments from Experts

This section presents a summary of the main points made by the experts who responded
either through email comments or telephone interviews:

Youth Exclusion
   • Institutions and incentives (especially at the micro level) are responsible for
       generating youth exclusion. For example, when education fails to provide an
       adequate transition to work it implies that young people are not learning the right
       skills. They are not learning the right skills because of the signals they get from the
       labour-market. Policy making therefore should be informed by the inter-relationship
       between education and the labour market.

    •   The education-to-employment transition should be seen within the wider context of
        family formation, and the inter-linkages between education and employment markets
        with marriage, housing and credit markets.

    •   Youth ownership should be encouraged by involving them in the design and
        implementation of programmes. These programmes should be inclusive and
        supported by buy-in and partnership with communities.

    •   The correlation between low levels of education and political violence and instability
        is weak. While poor education and youth inactivity are contributing factors, they are
        part of a much more complex landscape of issues, including political legitimacy, the
        need for social and economic reform, and political accountability.

    •   Youth are not active members of any policy-making process; they are neglected
        politically and economically, and often times, socially. They are not seen as a positive
        human resource; this feeling of neglect and of not being of use to anything, feeds

    •   Youth must be actively involved in political life (voting, participating in elections and
        even running for public office) as they are tomorrow's leaders.

    •   Youth leadership must be targeted specifically, as the leadership paradigms need
        significant investment in order to change (i.e. moving away from autocratic, unilateral
        forms towards more participative models).

Unemployment and Entrepreneurship
   • The dreams of educated youth (e.g. graduates) are not realised because there is no

    •   Unemployment and corruption are the key issues facing youth.

    •   Academic education (knowledge) does not provide youth with sufficient employment
        skills; the key skill areas needed are English and computers.

    •   Donors should think about entrepreneurial approaches which allow youth themselves
        to create job opportunities. To date, there has been much more focus on the skills
        side of school to work transition and less investment on behaviour change and taking
        initiative in shaping careers. This is unfortunate, as Yemeni society as a whole has
        strong entrepreneurial tendencies, but few opportunities for youth to secure funding
        and training to create jobs for themselves and their peers.

    •   Vocational training programmes should ensure that graduates are able to access
        tools and equipment needed to carry out their trade.

    •   It is very difficult for young married women to commit to long-term training e.g. 18
        month courses.

    •   The concept of volunteering is important and is being implemented by a number of

    Government Responses
    • A national children and youth strategy (2006-2015) has been developed but there is
       a large gap in implementation. While the government has produced various
       documents and organised workshops and other events, its response has been slow,
       and few policies and strategies have been translated into practice.

    •   One NGO representative commented that she had “never heard of anything from
        government on youth in enterprise”.

    Civil Society Involvement
    • There is little recognition of the role of civil society/ NGOs in supporting youth, and
        they have little involvement in policy development.

    •   An ongoing donor study on youth organisations has revealed a surprising richness of
        organised community organisation on the ground – almost 250 organisations across
        21 governorates.

    Other Issues
    • Many ‘hearts and minds’ projects are widely perceived by Yemenis to be
       inappropriate and damaging. A more cautious approach, which is culturally sensitive,
       keeps its distance from the ground, and supports local organisations to support their
       communities, is more effective. This may mean that it takes more time to identify
       suitable local partners or that in rural areas, only rudimentary projects can be
       implemented. Still, this should be the preferred option.

    •   The Sunni–Shia divide does not exist in Yemen and it is unwise to think in these
        terms. Currently, there are issues between those in the North and the (formerly
        socialist) South of the country, and amongst the tribes. Several front line workers
        have spoken about the difficulty of mobilising people from the South for community
        projects, as most still expect the government to provide basic services. By contrast,
        it is said that people in the North do not have such expectations.

3. Key Resources

    • United Nations, 2005, ‘Common Country Assessment: Republic of Yemen’, United
        Nations, Sana’a
This report identifies the following as key issues contributing to the rise of un- and under-
            High population growth rates;
            Limited prospects for agricultural expansion due to harsh climatic conditions and
            scarcity of water;

             Governance and judicial problems, such as uneven law enforcement and legal
             ambiguity that lead to insecurity of capital and low long term investment;
             A mismatch between the skills needed and available labour force;
             Lack of support and protection for those producing for the local market;
             Limited investment in productive and social infrastructure;
             Lack of unambiguous and transparent laws and regulations governing provision
             of social services and public goods in general by the private sector; and
             Lack of high quality jobs, due to a dual economy where the investment in the
             modern sector creates few jobs, while a low productivity and unsupported
             informal sector accounts for the bulk of employment.
The report argues that in order to achieve a meaningful reduction in poverty levels, and
generate sufficient high quality jobs for youth, economic growth must be more pro-poor and
employment-intensive. There must be better transparency of government action and rule of
law, specific measures for diversifying the economy, and an improvement of the environment
for private sector development with a particular focus on micro- and small-enterprise creation
and expansion. This must be matched by improvements in the quality and reach of general
and vocational training. The report also identifies the various dimensions of exclusion of
             Continued low status of women within family and society;
             Marginalisation of women and their limited participation in decision making;
             Women’s limited control over economic assets, both in terms of lack of voice and
             use of family income, despite their contribution to it, and limited opportunities for
             paid employment;
             The negative impact of high fertility on women’s health, as well as the impact of
             repeated pregnancies on their ability to obtain paid jobs and participate in elected
             bodies; and
             Slow progress of legislative reform to bring laws and legal practice in line with
             international human rights standards and practice.

    •    Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation, 2006, ‘The Socio-Economic Plan
         for Poverty Reduction (2006-2010)’ Government of the Republic of Yemen, Sana’a
Chapter 7 ‘Human Resource Development’ identifies high population growth rates, scarcity of
natural resources such as water, and slow economic growth as the key issues affecting the
country. The report also identifies illiteracy, particularly among women as an important issue
affecting the youth population and addresses the status of the education and vocational
training sector. It also notes that there is a weak link between the education that is offered
and the needs of the labour market which has translated into an increase in unemployment
amongst university graduates.

    •   Al-Rabee, A., 2003, ‘Adolescent and Reproductive Health in Yemen: Status, Policies,
        Programs and Issues’, POLICY Project, Washington DC
This report offers a useful background on the social context and gender socialisation issues
that set girls and boys apart in terms of life expectations, educational attainment, job
prospects, labour force participation, reproduction, and duties in the household. It describes
how many young girls are out of school and spend most of their time within the confines of
the family home, often with heavy domestic responsibilities. Girls are usually taught to aim for
‘marriageability’ and as a result have limited decision-making power. In rural areas, school
enrolment for girls of 15 years or older is uncommon and there are large gender gaps in
enrolment and literacy rates. The median age at which women between 20-49 years were
married is 16.5 years.

   • Assaad, R., and Barsoum, G., 2007, ‘The Different Dimensions of Youth Exclusion in

         Egypt: A Background Paper’, Paper presented at the Forum on Youth Exclusion in
         the Middle East: Towards New Knowledge and Solutions Dubai, February 23-24
This paper looks closely at the issues facing youth in Egypt through a social exclusion lens
and focusses on four important dimensions: education and learning; work opportunities;
potentials for forming families and channels for exercising citizenship. The authors argue that
exclusion is a cumulative process, with each of these life transitions having an overlapping
impact on the others. Poor learning leads to poor job prospects. Forming families and achieving
personal independence is closely linked to employment and adequate earnings. Also, civic
participation is essential for making successful transitions to meaningful adult roles.

    •    Programme: Yerkes, S.E. and Wittes, S. C., 2004, ‘The Middle East Partnership
         Initiative: Progress, Problems and Prospects’, Saban Center for the Middle East at
         the Brookings Institution, Washington DC
The Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) began in 2002 and by the time this report was
written, had spent over $103 million on educational, economic, and political reform, and
women's empowerment activities in the Middle East. MEPI is envisioned as an alternative to
America's traditional focus on government-to-government, large-scale aid programmes, and
was designed to provide smaller grants to build partnerships with non-government groups
and local citizens, and to build links across Middle Eastern countries. This report reviews
MEPI's spending, programmes, and priorities and finds three flaws: a scatter-shot approach
to promoting reform; an overemphasis on government-directed assistance that repeats errors
of past assistance in the region; and a lack of support at higher policy levels for its goals and

National Responses
The framework for the Government of Yemen’s response to youth is made up of four
documents. Three of these are included below. The fourth is the Ministry of Youth and Sports’
draft strategy.

    •     Government of the Republic of Yemen, 2006, ‘The National Children and Youth
          Strategy of the Republic of Yemen’, Sana’a
This paper is based on the ‘life-cycle’ framework which recognises that risks are not
homogeneously distributed throughout one’s life, and helps identify the main vulnerabilities of
children and youth at all stages, their consequences on subsequent years and their
implications for the human and economic development of the country. Chapter 6 of the
strategy outlines the key challenges facing the youth of Yemen, including illiteracy; lack of
access to and retention in secondary, tertiary and vocational education; unemployment and
inactivity; risky behaviours such as early marriage, early pregnancy, HIV/AIDS, violence and
crime and substance abuse; limited leisure options; and lack of participation in developmental
policies and processes. Section 7 provides an overview of planned and ongoing Government
interventions in the areas of children and youth. Section 10 sets out a series of strategic
focus areas and priority interventions for the different phases of the life-cycle framework. For
the age group of 15-24 years, these are:
               Creating a national youth employment environment and plan;
               Strengthening national identity, youth inclusion and participation;
               Increasing leisure options and creating child/youth friendly urban planning; and
               Preventing early pregnancy and reducing the risks to reproductive health.

    •   Government of the Republic of Yemen, 2007, ‘National Action Plan for Youth’,
    •   Government of the Republic of Yemen, 2007, ‘National Strategy for Children and
        Youth: Progress Towards Implementation – Synopsis of Action Plans &
        Implementation Arrangements’, Sana’a

In order to avoid generating a series of multiple and parallel programmes, and to ensure that
the nature and scope of the strategy recommendations in the National Youth Strategy were
conceived to strengthen the sector outcomes, the Government decided to operationalise the
strategy through the work of the line ministries. A series of consultations were held with
donors and NGO, ministry and youth representatives in order to finalise the action plans.
These two documents present the result of these consultations. The synopsis provides an
overview of the strategic recommendations by responsible agency and policy, institutional
and coverage gaps.

    •    World Bank, 2007, ‘Republic of Yemen: Making a Multi-Sectoral Approach Work for
         Children and Youth’, World Bank, Washington DC
This paper offers a panoramic view of the lives of young people in Yemen, along with an
overview of ongoing efforts at addressing the challenges faced by them. The report states
that “youth remains the most neglected constituency” (p.5) and identifies low enrolment of
girls in primary education and in secondary education generally as a key issue. It also finds
that the current approach of the government towards children and youth is fragmented and
the impact of ongoing programmes remains limited. This is due to several factors:
             The government has instituted a number of legislative and other measures at
             national and local levels to ensure the adoption of the Convention on the Rights
             of Child. However, the enforcement of these measures is generally inadequate
             and lacks the necessary technical capacity and human resources. In addition,
             programmes for children and youth are “negligible, limited and distorted, and
             generally do not reach the most vulnerable groups”.
             To date only narrow and ad-hoc action plans have been produced by donors, UN
             agencies, and NGOs. These plans are unfunded, unsustainable, and usually end
             up the responsibility of charities and welfare institutions. More mainstreamed,
             multi-sector, and comprehensive responses are needed.
             The PRSP lacks an understanding of the linkages between the diverse needs of
             children and youth.
             Weak accountability for government services makes it difficult to know how to
             improve the system. Relative to increased government spending on education
             and health, the status of children and youth has not improved.
             Funding is usually concentrated in two categories, education and child health.
             Yet, the main thrust of the life-cycle framework is directed at the whole person
             and requires continuous and timely development interventions in safe water,
             child care, food security, basic health, education, training, and employment
             In the absence of a national policy and holistic framework, all of the programmes
             have been developed and implemented within the respective sector framework
             with very little cross-sector coordination.

Youth Inclusion and Empowerment
     • Nabulsi, K., 2004, ‘It’s About Time: A Report on Young People’s Opinions and
         Persectives on their Lives’, UNICEF, Sana’a
This report presents a summary of the opinions of young men and women on the issues of
education, health, employment, leisure time, participation in civil society organisations and
self-perception. Some of the key points are:
             Education: issues include inadequate educational facilities, school administration
             and staffing, curricula and ill-treatment and favouritism by teachers. Students
             drop out due to various social and economic reasons, mainly related to poverty.
             There is a general lack of ambition to pursue higher education.
             Employment: Boys start working at an average age of 13 and women at 18
             years. Men usually accept any job, regardless of their level of education, and

            prioritise the income generated. In general, working conditions for them are
            harsh. Women are more selective and prefer socially acceptable jobs.
            Self perception: Many young men and women have no specific goals or
            ambitions and feel they have little control over the course of their lives. The
            participants indicated that they often felt lonely, sad and depressed due to fears
            about poverty and bleak futures.
            Participation: Almost all participants agreed that there was limited space for
            participation in schools and universities. However, there was a significant level of
            participation by young men and women in political parties.

    •   Social Fund for Development, 2006, ‘National Youth Consultation World
        Development Report 2007 and Voices of the Youth: MENA Youth Speak’, Report of a
        Youth Workshop, Sana’a, 13-14th February
This report documents the results of two World Bank consultations (organised to feed into the
World Development Report 2007) with Yemeni youth on their concerns, the constraints that
they face, the resources available to them, and their suggestions for the way ahead. It
presents the detailed results of working groups on five transitions: the transition from school
and continued learning; the transition to citizenship; to a healthy lifestyle; to family formation;
and to work.

    •     El Naggar, D., and Sera, Y., 2005, ‘Perceptions and Priorities of Youth in the Middle
          East North Africa Region’, World Bank Small Grants Workshop for Youth
          Organisations, Giza, June 12-16

This workshop aimed to demonstrate that young people can be active agents in the creation
and implementation of solutions to the problems affecting their communities and countries.
Youth from five MENA countries (Egypt, Lebanon, Yemen, Algeria, and Morocco)
represented a mix of different socioeconomic conditions and cultural and educational
backgrounds. Participants presented their own experiences on a range of developmental
priorities, such as HIV, relief work, volunteerism, local community development, and youth
empowerment. Some of the key points raised by the participants were:
              There is real need to change legislation and policies relating to access to
              resources in support of the development of marginalised communities;
              The classroom culture in schools is intimidating, and does not provide space for
              youth voices and creativity;
              The content of the academic curricula across the region is traditional and fails to
              promote youth analysis;
              For the majority of children from poor families, who can barely manage to attend
              school, the opportunity to engage proactively in community- and self-
              development is almost non-existent. Access to information is a challenge and
              survival through contribution to the family income is considered a higher priority.

    •   Programme: Yemen Youth Voices, World Bank
The World Bank in Yemen introduced the Yemen Youth Voices programme in 2003. The
programme focusses on training and participation in policy and programme development. For
example, youth assistance with the Vocational Training Strategy will help to accurately reflect
the challenges faced by young people attempting to enter into higher education and/or labor

    •   Programme: AjialCom, UNDP Information and Communication Technology for
        Development in the Arab Region (ICTDAR)

AjialCom is a regional youth empowerment project initiated by UNDP/ICTDAR in 2004
which aims to empower youth in the Arab world by enabling them to harness information
and communication technologies (ICT) to improve their access to knowledge, to network,
and to have a meeting space where they can collaborate and exchange information, and
address issues of mutual concern. Its ultimate goal is to create a new outlook on citizenship
and the main vehicle for this is a range of Community Access Centers (CACs) through
which young people can access computers and the Internet, and learn basic ICT and
business skills. The programme is currently being implemented in Yemen, Morocco, Egypt
and Algeria. In Yemen, the majority of activities were expected to be completed in 2006.
Three CACs were equipped with hardware, software, and content for the visually-impaired.
2000 young people are expected to benefit from the centres.

    •    Programme: Women in Technology (WIT), Middle East Partnership Initiative
Through the WIT programme, 400 Yemeni women receive scholarships to attend IT training
courses. The courses include the Microsoft Unlimited Potential (UP) curriculum at the Society
for the Development of Women and Children (SOUL) Community Training Learning Centres
in Sana'a, and the Cisco Networking Academy Program at the General Telecommunication
Institute, Sana'a. In addition, WIT Yemen participants attend professional development
workshops, exposing them to critical IT policy issues and introducing them to experts in the
field. The women also participate in community outreach and mentoring opportunities,
including the establishment of Yemen's first Women's IT Association. WIT Yemen draws its
participants and partners from non-governmental organisations, businesses, government
agencies and academic institutions.

    •    Programme: Yemen Women’s Leadership Programme, International Research and
         Exchanges Board
The Yemen Women’s Leadership Program (YWLP), launched in 2006, is a three-year
programme that builds the technical and professional skills of young women, age 22-25, to
become leaders in civil society and media. The programme includes technical skills training,
leadership training, study tours and site visits, a work study programme and small grants for
civil society and media projects.

    •   Programme: Bagash, T., 2004, ‘Reducing Early Marriage in Yemen’, Oxfam, Yemen
This presentation highlights that the average age of marriage in the rural areas of Yemen is
16 years – the lowest in the region. It outlines the key implications of this for girls which
include health consequences; low educational attainment; gender-based violence; psycho-
social implications; and increasing gender inequality. In response, Oxfam developed a
campaign to reduce early marriage in Yemen which aimed to bring about a change in ideas
and practice on early marriage as well as advocate for legislative changes.

    • Dhillon, N. and Yousef, T., ‘Inclusion: Meeting the 100 Million Youth Challenge’,
        Middle East Youth Initiative, The Wolfensohn Center for Development at Brookings &
        The Dubai School of Government
This paper argues that youth inclusion must be addressed by creating economic and social
opportunities for young citizens that are commensurate with their education and expectations.
This includes providing them the opportunity to receive quality education, decent
employment, affordable housing and the power to shape their communities. The Initiative’s
studies have shown that the transition from education to employment and from work to family
formation is severely hampered. The links between education and the demands of the labour
market are weak, resulting in a higher incidence of joblessness. In addition, emerging
evidence suggests that economic exclusion causes many young people to delay plans for
marriage and families. As a result, many youth are trapped in what the authors call

“waithood”. While waiting between transitions is natural, “waithood” implies young people are
spending their time unproductively and not knowing with any certainty what their future might
look like. The authors argue that as the Middle East undergoes an economic revival, it must
address three main challenges:
              To build knowledge on the situation of young people that can inform effective
              policies and programmes;
              Focus on the quality of jobs as well as levels of employment; and
              Develop policies and programmes that go beyond job creation and assist young
              people in accumulating critical assets during their transition years.
The paper also highlights how some Middle Eastern youth (based on studies on urban
university graduates in Europe) are turning to social service and volunteering as a path to
launch their adult lives. This suggests that youth volunteering can be an unexplored pathway
towards marriage and work for a generation of people who feel otherwise “stalled.” These
findings are potentially significant for the design of youth policies which aim to facilitate the
transition from formal education to work.

Access to Education and Education Reform
     • United Nations, 2005, ‘Common Country Assessment: Republic of Yemen’, United
        Nations, Yemen
Section 3.2 of this report is entitled ‘Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women’ and
outlines the main reasons for the significant gender gaps in primary/secondary school
enrolment and employment, and the high dropout rates for girls. These are lack of awareness
of the value of girls’ education; socio-cultural constraints on enrolment of girls in mixed
schools; lack of female teachers especially in rural areas; inaccessibility of schools;
occupation of rural girls with collecting water and fuel and taking care of younger siblings;
high cost of schooling; poor quality of physical infrastructure (e.g. latrines); and early

    •   Alim, A. et al, 2007, ‘Accelerating Girl’s Education in Yemen: Rethinking Policies in
        Teachers’ Recruitment and School Distribution’, UNICEF, Yemen
This paper argues that the causal link between recruitment of female teachers and girls’
enrolment and retention is direct and very significant. There is also evidence that the lack of a
school close to the home raises concern for the safety and security of girls. The authors
argue that the current policies on teachers’ recruitment and deployment are not favourable for
women and make several recommendations for improving educational outcomes for girls.
These include:
             Establishing specific targets for the recruitment of female teachers, both in
             numbers and geographical coverage;
             Considering various policy options to increase the number of female teachers.
             These include adjusting the minimum qualifications needed, admitting secondary
             school graduates into entry positions, decentralising the process of allocating
             teachers to schools, providing more innovative incentives, special allowances
             and a variety of positions, and encouraging less formal solutions, such as
             assistant teachers;
             Investing in educational infrastructure aimed at bringing schools closer to girls;
             Expanding girls-only schools;
             Creating greater awareness and acceptance of education for girls; and
             Introducing stipends and other incentives for girls.

    •   Programme: El-Berr, S., 2004, ‘Non-German Donor Activity in Education in Yemen’,
        Development Research Center (ZEF), University of Bonn, Bonn

This document offers a list of the programmes of major donors active in the education sector
in Yemen. By planned levels for 2004, the two largest bilateral donors in education were the
Netherlands ($18.6 million) and Germany ($9.2 million). Japan and the UK were to begin
modest programs in basic education in 2004. There were also three multilateral donors with
significant basic education programs in Yemen in 2004: the World Bank ($24.7 million), the
World Food Program ($6.3 million), and UNICEF ($2.6 million).

    •    Programme: World Bank, 2005, ‘Project Performance Assessment Report – Basic
         Education Project’, World Bank, Yemen
The goal of the Basic Education Project was to increase female enrolment dramatically by
building a large number of schools and hiring female teachers who would receive training and
incentives to serve in rural areas. The objectives of the project were to: (a) increase the
school participation rate of girls in rural areas; and (b) lay the foundation for improving the
quality of education. This report outlines the following key lessons learned:
             Countries with limited literacy rates and few schools, may benefit from a strategy
             that simultaneously pursues both supply-side (school construction, teacher
             training), and demand-side (public campaigns to enroll girls) interventions.
             However, even if enrolment increases, potential gains may be lost if students
             drop out. School authorities must be sensitised to the needs and problems of
             rural students, and actively try to prevent drop out, particularly among those not
             yet functionally literate.
             By itself, student enrollment does not guarantee acquisition of basic skills. It is
             also necessary to use classroom time wisely, ensure that textbooks are
             available, provide in-service teacher training, and allow for systematic
             supervision, i.e., attention to education quality.
             Recruiting women who already live in rural areas, even if they have a relatively
             limited education, may be a sound way to increase the number of female

    •    Programme: United States Agency for International Development, 2004, ‘Data Sheet
         – Basic Education Especially for Women and Girls’, USAID, Yemen
The activities of this project include providing education infrastructure, equipment and
materials; providing training for local teachers to improve their level of instruction; and
assessing the infrastructural needs of education offices in the five USAID targeted
governorates. The second phase of the project aims to work with local authorities, community
representatives, and parents to promote increased enrolment and quality improvement;
distribute basic education curricula and materials; develop supplementary classroom and out-
of-school literacy materials; support community based literacy and numeracy education
through classes and mobile outreach, especially for women; and develop a Mobile Repair
Team to support community self-help efforts to repair and maintain facilities, furniture, and

    •     Programme: Ogawa, K., 2005, ‘The Education For All Fast Track Initiative:
          Experience of Yemen’, UNESCO

The Fast Track Initiative (FTI) provides a framework for financial support for education
initiatives in Yemen and stimulates policy dialogue among government and donor partners as
well as policy planning and monitoring/evaluation of the Education For All process. This

paper provides a brief description of the FTI background in Yemen by stating the challenges
of its education context and the extent of the financial gap in meeting these challenges. The
paper also summarises the chronological FTI development in Yemen and shows the extent to
which the FTI has influenced the Yemeni government and other donor agencies.

     • World Bank, 2006, ‘Education in MENA Sector Brief’, World Bank Group, Washington
This brief outlines the key areas of support by the World Bank’s Education Group to countries
in the MENA region. These are:
             The development of reform programs that take a systemic and strategic
             approach to meeting new educational challenges;
             The reform of post-compulsory education (secondary, higher and vocational
             Improvement in the quality of education at all levels;
             Completion of compulsory education of good quality for all;
             Creation of effective educational opportunities for disadvantaged and vulnerable
             children and youth;
             Development of education governance tools that increase accountability and
             transparency; and
             Maintenance of a sustainable financial foundation for education.

    •   Kirchberger, A., ‘The Knowledge Economy and Education Reforms in MENA
        Countries: Selected Examples’, World Bank, Washington DC$File/Mena_Ed
This paper explores the discussion on the conditions for reforms of education and training
systems in the MENA region, in the context of the development of a knowledge-based
economy. The study uses examples of three countries - Tunisia, Jordan and Saudi Arabia - to
examine the type of objectives which are pursued and the difficulties which are experienced.
The author argues that a key requirement is to synchronise reforms in education with those
concerning other policies, notably those addressing the economic and business climate. This
systemic approach is decisive in ensuring that better educated people find jobs and
contribute to the overall development of the society.

    •    Programme: Education Reform Program (ERP), Egypt, USAID
ERP works in seven Governorates to strengthen community participation in education,
encourage professional development for educators, implement national standards in learning
and prepare individuals for the work force. The programme has two components. Equip1
focuses on the delivery and strengthening of a broad range of educational services in schools
and communities and serves all levels of education, from early childhood development for
school readiness, to primary and secondary education, adult basic education, pre-vocational
training, and the provision of life-skills. Equip2 addresses the systemic aspects of educational
development essential to the sustainability, impact, and spread of reforms to the national

    •   Programme: Iqbal, F. and Riad, N., 2004, ‘Increasing Girls’ School Enrolment in the
        Arab Republic of Egypt’, International Bank for Reconstruction and Development,
        World Bank, Washington DC

In Egypt, despite substantial investment in the education sector in the 1980s and 1990s,
primary enrollment rates for girls remained low, especially in poor and culturally conservative
areas of Upper Egypt. Gender disparities were dismissed as cultural issues until research
revealed that they could be traced to practical problems: schools were often too far from
students’ communities; overcrowded schoolrooms were intimidating; schooling was not
thought to be as necessary for girls; and restarting school was very difficult for girls who had
dropped out. In 1996, the government of Egypt launched the Education Enhancement
Program (EEP) to deal directly with these problems by improving the coverage of primary
education, the quality of student learning, and the efficiency of the education system. The
specific goals of EEP were to:
             Increase the number of schools in remote areas to reduce the distance girls
             might have to travel to school;
             Increase parental demand for girls’ education, through community awareness
             campaigns and a stipend programme for qualifying families; and
             Give a second chance to girls who may have dropped out or are too old for
             primary school.
The programme was found to be successful in expanding access and reducing distances to
schools; reducing dropout rates through ‘second chance’ and adult education programmes;
providing subsidies to poor families; building parental demand and community awareness;
and providing teacher training. The key factors of the EEP’s success are considered to be:
             The political commitment of the Egyptian government, reflected in rising budget
             allocations to education and rising allocations within the education budget to the
             goals of EEP;
             Institutional innovation, with EEP breaking with traditional planning approaches in
             favour of using data and community participation to target new school locations
             and raise demand through awareness campaigns;
             A focus on specific issues that matter more to girls than boys, such as improving
             physical conditions in schools and improving in-service teacher training;
             Good coordination among government, community, and donor efforts to provide
             the institutional, financial, and operational resources required.

Literacy and Adult Education

    •    Programme: Society for the Development of Women and Children (SOUL), Yemen
SOUL is a non-government Yemeni organisation which aims to enhance the quality of the
Yemeni education system; increase female enrolment rates; and support microfinance and
enterprise development. SOUL’s approaches include training and consultation, research,
advocacy and awareness campaigns and service provision. Pages 10-24 provide an
overview of SOUL’s programme activities which include providing training courses to young
women and fresh graduates in IT and computing skills; providing material, entertainment,
cultural and health aids in order to maintain children from disadvantaged families in school;
and preparing a literacy and adult education curriculum for a women’s centre in Khamar, a
deprived rural district.

    •    Programme: Increasing Women’s Literacy, Care Yemen/Middle East Partnership
CARE Yemen and local partner organisations have formed 47 Women’s Literacy
Associations in the Amran Governorate which are receiving both literacy training and support
for income generating activities. Sixteen income-generating projects have also been funded
across the governorate. The programme is incorporating a full array of activities to make
literacy training relevant and functional, such as agricultural production, women’s savings and

loan clubs, environmental management, maternal and child health including HIV/AIDS
awareness, and women’s political participation and rights.

     • Hammoud, H., 2005, ‘Literacy in the Arab World’, Paper commissioned for the
          Education for All Global Monitoring Report 2006: Literacy for Life, UNESCO

This study uses data from recent UNESCO literacy estimates and projections to identify the
trends and characteristics of literacy and illiteracy in the Arab countries. These estimates
provide basic information on the number and percentage of adults and youth who are literate
and illiterate. They also indicate the dimensions and patterns of illiteracy within each country
according to gender and age groups. The author argues that literacy is a pressing issue for
the adult education agenda for the Arab region. It is key to developing skills beyond reading
and writing as it also encompasses language and computer skills, as well other life skills
needed to cope in modern society and participate fully in community life. The report’s
analysis reveals seven ‘literacy-deprived’ countries - Egypt, Mauritania, Iraq, Yemen, Djibouti,
Morocco, and Sudan and it identifies those particularly at risk of illiteracy as out-of-school
children; women and girls; rural populations; the disabled; and nomadic peoples. Pages 15-
18 outline various innovative programmes initiated in Arab countries to address the issues of
adequacy of teaching material; lack of incentive among learners; special population needs;
community participation; and the use of technology. These include the UNILIT programme in
Lebanon and the Iqraa literacy project in Algeria. The report concludes that Arab countries
with education problems often face challenges related to health, poverty and job creation
which need to be attended to simultaneously. For literacy programmes to succeed, they must
be tied to improved job opportunities and, accordingly, the programmes must employ
curricula that meet the practical needs of pupils.

    •    UNESCO-Beirut, Regional Office for Education in the Arab States/UNESCO Institute
         for Education, 2003, ‘Literacy and Adult Education in the Arab World’, Regional
         Report for the CONFINTEA V Mid-Term Review Conference, Bangkok, September
This report claims that there is a deep commitment to adult education in the Arab region at
both governmental and non-governmental levels. Despite the commitment to adult education
and despite concrete steps being taken in almost every country in the region, the mid-term
review has revealed that for the Arab region as a whole, adult education is still defined as
literacy. Even so, the growing awareness of literacy as a tool to a productive and better
quality of life has radically changed literacy curricula in the region. Vocational education,
micro enterprise, health, nutrition, childcare, agriculture, banking and money management
have all become a part of literacy programmes. Also notable is the use of media and new
technologies, distance and open learning, home and community schooling and family
education to reach as many illiterate populations as possible. The report also identifies
certain issues needing further attention:
              The lack of reliable documentation on adult and non-formal education;
              The lack of specialised research or institutions interested in adult and non-formal
              education at the regional level; and
              The need to develop pilot systems in the areas of curriculum development and
              evaluation in a number of Arab countries so that they can serve as the basis for
              implementation and replication in other countries of the region.

    •   Programme: UNILIT, The Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Balamand,
UNILIT aims to provide mothers and young men in need with the opportunity to acquire
reading and writing skills through health literacy initiatives. It is offered as a course at the
University of Balamand, where students receive training in adult learning skills and illiteracy

eradication through the Adult Learning Programme of the National Committee for Illiteracy
Eradication (Ministry of Social Affairs). Under the slogan “from a student to a citizen”, the
programme aims at teaching youth enrolled in university how to become responsible citizens,
and to actively participate in the development of their community.

Civic Education and Life Skills
    • Programme: Yemen Times, 2007, ‘AMIDEAST: On Opportunities for Yemeni Youth’,
        Yemen Times, July 2
The US Department of States Bureau of Educational and Cultural Exchanges supports the
funding of two programmes: the Youth Exchange and Study (YES) Program and the English
Access Microscholarship Program. The YES programme sends students to the US for one
year of study in an American high school. Once there, YES scholarship grantees participate
in youth leadership and community service activities and experience American culture and
society first-hand. Over 80 Yemeni students have traveled on the YES programme since
2003. The English Access Microscholarship Program provides English language training to
secondary school students from 10 Yemeni governorates. These students are selected from
a pool of applicants who are academic achievers in their Yemeni government schools and
whose family resources would not be able to provide for this training. English Access training
focusses on intensive American English language courses and American culture.

    • Programme: Glaser Consulting Group, 2004, ‘An Independent Evaluation of Civic
        Education Programs in Jordan, Egypt, and West Bank 2002-2003’, A Report to the
        Center of Civic Education, Calabasas, CA
Arab Civitas is a network of individuals and organisations which aims to implement civic
education programs in primary and secondary schools in Arab countries. The network was
designed to create active citizens who are aware of their rights and responsibilities and
capable of establishing a future bulwark for democratic societies. The meetings, conferences
and trainings conducted by Arab Civitas are beginning to result in small but important
changes in the classrooms of many Arab students.

    •   Programme: Formal and Non-Formal Life Skills-Based Education (LSBE) Initiative in
        the Occupied Palestinian Territories, UNICEF
The objective of this programme is to mainstream LSBE in the national curriculum in 40 pilot
primary, secondary and vocational schools. The strategies for doing this include developing a
national policy commitment to providing LSBE to all children; promoting collaboration
between government and non-government organisations to support the incorporation of
LSBE in and out of schools; and supporting a long-term process that ensures the integration
of LSBE into the Palestinian curriculum. Some of the key lessons learned to date are:
            A strong commitment among high-level policymakers at the Ministry of Education
            (MoE) to ensure support in implementation should be developed;
            LSBE should be mainstreamed in all departments involved at the MoE;
            Existing programmes should be reviewed for ideas on style and content for LSBE
            material, then adapted into material that is culturally relevant; and
            Teachers must be involved in the development of LSBE lessons. They will
            understand the classroom environment and identify points of entry in the existing

Technical and Vocational Training

    •    European Training Foundation/World Bank, 2004, ‘Technical Education and
         Vocational Training in Yemen and its Relevance to the Labour Market’, ETF/World
This paper highlights that the technical education and vocational training (TEVT) system in
Yemen has been undergoing continuous restructuring in recent years due to a growing belief
of policymakers in the TEVT sector’s importance for structural economic change. However,
the share of students in technical education or vocational training in the total number of
enrolled students at all educational levels was still only 0.4% in 2004. There is a problem of
capacity in training centres, as the existing infrastructure can only satisfy half of the training
demand. Women are also very under-represented in the TEVT institutions (about 5.5% in
2003). In addition, the regional distribution of trainees, as well as training institutions, is
imbalanced. The author identifies some key problems affecting the sector:
             There are no permanent exchanges and links with the private sector. The
             business and trade sector does not participate in programme and curriculum
             development or in providing training services. Furthermore, there is a mutual
             distrust between the TEVT system, the business community, chambers of
             commerce and federations.
             The labour market information system is not well developed. Sectoral or local
             strategic studies identifying the developments of the sector/region and the urgent
             skills and qualifications needs are lacking.
             There is a lack of resources and financing for expansion of the system and the
             acquisition of training materials. There is also a lack of professional expertise that
             could help the modernisation of TEVT in terms of infrastructure, design, content
             and direction.
             The qualification levels and motivation of the teachers and trainers is low.

    •    Yemen National Commission of Education and Culture and Sciences, 2004,
         ‘Education in Republic of Yemen: The National Report’, Report presented to the 47th
         Session of the International Conference on Education, Geneva, 8-11 September
This report provides details of the government’s programmes and policies relating to
technical and vocational education, the structure of technical education and vocational
training in Yemen, enrolment figures for 2003/2004, and key issues (pp.14-18). These
             Low levels of female enrolment;
             Limited capacity of training institutions; and
             Limited work opportunities for graduates.
The report also reflects on the demographic, economic and socio-cultural dimensions of the
educational issues in Yemen.

    •   Programme: Salib, M., 2005, ‘Empowering Yemeni Youth through Economic
        Opportunity’, Community and Local Economic Development International Network,
        Vol. 1, No. 6, September
This article provides an overview of the Youth Economic Development Initiative (YEDI),
started by CHF International in July 2004. A one-year project, it aimed to empower youth
through the provision of life-building skills, vocational training, and tangible employment
opportunities. CHF also partnered with a local organisation, the Girls World Communication
Center (GWCC), to provide practical, job-related training courses and internships with
businesses in the Sana’a area. CHF and GWCC also created a Business Enterprise Center
(BEC) and the Business Advisory Council (BAC) to complement its direct interventions with
youth. The BEC housed the training courses and acted as a hub for young men and women

to connect and liaise with successful business owners and trainers. The BAC, comprised of
leading business owners, young professionals, women's and youth organisations, community
leaders, and local government bodies, was established to provide advice about the skill
development needs of businesses in Yemen and ensure demand-driven and responsive
services. In this way, YEDI incorporated community participation into its approach, ensuring
that the skills taught to youth were applicable in the Yemeni business world.

    •    Programme: Operations Evaluation Department, 2005, ‘Project Performance
         Assessment Report: Vocational Training Project Yemen’, World Bank, Washington
This project was intended to strengthen vocational training system management, improve the
quality and relevance of vocational training, and reorient adult education and training
programmes for women. It aimed to build and refurbish training centres, develop updated
curricula, and train staff. It also aimed to involve the private sector in making policy and
decisions, reforming curricula, creating a revolving fund for in-service training, and helping
women and unschooled people obtain basic skills. While most of the planned activities were
carried out, including refurbishing of vocational centres, curricular revisions, textbook
production, and teacher training, the report notes that the project proved overly ambitious and
complex and could not involve the private sector to the extent expected. However, since the
end of the project, the government has carried out extensive policy development, and more
demand-driven training is likely to be provided in the future. Some of the lessons learned
             The establishment of functional training facilities is necessary but insufficient for
             producing skilled workers. Publicly financed vocational training centers are only
             viable when the government and the private sector establish a joint and effective
             strategic framework that sets priorities and allocates resources to those priorities.
             Governments may view vocational training as a means of helping school
             dropouts get jobs and alleviate their poverty. However, vocational training
             centers may select the better-educated students who are ultimately less likely to
             perform the type of tasks for which they were trained. Admission criteria might be
             adapted to suit the needs of less educated persons, who may have limited
             training opportunities.
             A series of shorter vocational courses taught in the evenings or weekends may
             be more suitable to the work schedules of the poor.
             For vocational education projects to succeed, potential trainees and the private
             sector must be consulted on project components, outcomes, and targets. A
             dialogue held exclusively with governments risks creating projects for which there
             is relatively limited demand and commitment.
             Management information systems and tracer studies are important tools to
             monitor the needs of beneficiaries. These activities must be given priority in
             programming project activities.

    •   Programme: World Bank, 2004, ‘Implementation Completion Report: Vocational
        Training Project, Yemen’, World Bank, Washington DC
This project aimed to strengthen Yemen's capacity to train skilled labour in line with current
and emerging demand in the economy. More specifically, the project sought to (a) strengthen
the management of the vocational training (VT) system by providing a major role to the
private sector in policy-making, management, and financing; (b) improve the quality and
relevance of VT through the enhancement of programmes in existing centres and selective

expansion of two pilot centres; and (c) reorient adult education and training (AET)
programmes for women through community participation. A number of lessons learned are
summarised as follows.
          Amidst major reforms, private sector participation must be secured through
          specific project activities to engage the private sector in the governance and
          financing of the sector, which requires technical assistance, and incentives to
          promote its participation.
          In the context of weak implementation capacity, sequencing of reforms is
          paramount, which should be addressed in project design, prioritising issues as
          agreed by the Government and stakeholders. This project design should have
          focused on major labour market needs, in this case, agriculture, commerce, and
          trade skills. The apparent lack of government commitment weakened project
          outcomes; instead, ensuring commitment to strengthen financial management, to
          counterpart funding, and to play a substantial role in ensuring private sector
          involvement, would have resulted in satisfactory outcomes. This would have
          fostered relevant cofinancing, efficient vocational training financing, and realistic
          goals for institutional reforms.

      • ‘Hakim, G., and Carrero-Perez, E., 2005, ‘Reforming Technical Vocational Education
          and Training in the Middle East and North Africa: Experiences and Challenges’,
          European Training Foundation/World Bank, Luxembourg

This report argues that the issue in education in the MENA region is today less a problem of
initial access, but one of quality and relevance. Many citizens in the region do not complete
basic education or do not have access to quality learning opportunities. As result, they are ill-
prepared for the challenges of knowledge-based societies which in turn limit the growth
potential of their countries, with serious implications for their participation in global markets,
job growth, poverty alleviation and social stability. This report explores the role of Technical
and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) in the provision of quality and relevant
learning opportunities in the region, and discusses it in the relation to improving governance;
financing; quality and relevance; the role of the private sector; and the acquisition of skills in
the informal sector. TVET in the region covers various institutional arrangements, from
vocational streams in basic and secondary schools to post-secondary institutions. The report
also summarises the key findings from detailed country reviews of Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon
and Tunisia.

    •   Atwan, A., 2004, ‘Increasing Employability of Youth in the Arab Countries’, Paper
        presented at the ILO Tripartite Meeting of Experts on Youth Employment in the Arab
        States, Amman, 6-8 April 2004
This paper provides information on the education profile of Arab countries, financing of
education and technical and vocational education and training (TVET), and the main issues,
approaches and policies on TVET in various Arab countries, including Yemen. It finds that
Arab governments are trying to liberalise their economic systems; they are formulating new
national strategies for youth development through education, TVET, and employment; public
and private organisations are looking for more partnership in education and TVET; and
employers and other civil organisations in Arab societies have started to be involved in
education and TVET policies, implementations, evaluation, and development. Key
recommendations include:
             Quality: Improving the outputs of TVET through better inputs (trainees\students,
             training programs, training facilities, and instructors\trainers), improving training
             processes, and better assessment of graduates.
             Relevance: Increasing the skills of graduates to suit job requirements in the
             labour market.

            Flexibility: Increasing the flexibility of training institutions to adjust training
            programmes and outputs to meet work requirements.
            Effectiveness: Developing modes and patterns of training which are less
            Responsiveness: Enhancing the ability of TVET systems to cope with
            technological developments in a knowledge economy though continuing
            education and training.
            Supply and Demand: Orienting TVET systems to be demand driven instead of
            supply driven.
            Financing: Supporting state budgets financing TVET systems through "Training
            Funds", productive work, and trainees' participation. Employers training centres
            under the supervision of social partners can share this financial burden.

Job Creation
     • Programme: Private Sector Development Project (PDSP), German Technical
         Cooperation (GTZ), Yemen
This is a general outline of a programme that was initiated in October 2007 and aims to
promote the development of the private sector through improving the business-enabling
environment and business development services. The programme’s design is based on a
previous GTZ employment-oriented private sector development programme. The current
project is being implemented in partnership with various local agencies and donors. This
includes cooperation government ministries, chambers of commerce, as well as public and
private business development service providers.

   1. The World Bank’s International Finance Corporation is working on activities that have
       a positive impact on employment and improve the enabling environment of the
       business sector in the region. IFC considers Yemen a frontier country in the MENA
       region and has a field office there.
   2. DED Yemen run a sustainable economic development programme which aims to
       develop vocational training as well as the services of government institutions to the
       small and medium enterprise sector.,lang,2/oid,4554/ticket,g_u_e_s_t/~/

      • Dunlop, A., 2006, ‘Business and Youth in the Arab World: A Sourcebook of Business
          Partnerships in Youth Employment and Enterprise Development’, International
          Business Leaders Forum, London

This is a sourcebook of good practice business-led initiatives from across the Arab region. It
aims to share lessons learned on the impact of the business sector on the employment and
enterprise prospects of young people. It is based on interviews within over 100 regionally-
based businesses and organisations, including multinational corporations, national and
regional companies, small and medium-sized enterprises, educational institutions and civil
society organisations. The sourcebook profiles eighteen examples of business and
partnership initiatives addressing youth development within the Arab world. The highlighted
initiatives include:
              A microfinance programme in Palestine, supported by the Bank of Palestine;
              Technology access and training in Morocco through a partnership with Microsoft,
              United Nations and the government; and
              Training nurses in Egypt as a result of work by the Sawiris Foundation.

    •    Office of the Chief Economist of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Region,
         2007, ‘2007 Economic Developments and Prospects: Job Creation in an Era of High
         Growth’, The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development/ the World
         Bank, Washington DC
The report emphasises the link between sustainability of economic growth and the potential
for employment creation. The authors highlight how strong oil revenues, a more dynamic
private sector and a shift towards more investment have led to a period of high economic
growth in the Middle East and North Africa region. The private sector is becoming the main
source of new jobs as the share of domestic and foreign private investment increases.
However, these outcomes are uneven and not all countries are benefiting. Also, while the
region may be producing an increasing quantity of jobs, their quality has not improved
greatly. And while the engine for this growth may be an emergent private sector which
operates within the context of greater integration into global markets, it may be quite volatile.
In fact, sustaining this growth in MENA will depend on the success of structural reforms - an
area where progress has been uneven. Particularly critical are improving the climate for
private investment, opening economies to greater trade, and improving governance
mechanisms for greater public sector accountability and inclusiveness, as well as improved
public sector efficiency. In addition, youth, traditionally underrepresented among the region’s
employed, are failing to benefit as other age groups. One of the most important
transformations has been the increasing presence of women workers. However, women are
still less successful than men in finding jobs and women’s unemployment is growing
alongside their employment. The paper concludes that in order to address the employment
challenge in the region, the vast majority of jobs will have to come from within MENA’s
economies. While migration provides an important mechanism for risk diversification and
income growth, labour demand abroad cannot alone fill the employment gap.

    •     Eid, F., 2005, ‘Entrepreneurial Finance for Job Creation in the Arab World: Elements
          of a Strategy’, Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD),

This paper aims to outline the steps necessary to support the potential role that
entrepreneurial finance can play in job creation, demonstrate evidence of success along
these lines, and suggest policy steps that can be taken in this direction. The author argues
that there exists a broad consensus that the way out of MENA’s unemployment trap is
through higher private sector investment and growth and that the policy challenge is to
maximise the potential of the region’s fresh graduates, equip them with skills needed in their
markets, and link them with capital when their ideas have promise. In most of MENA,
however, there are considerable financial, regulatory and educational barriers to firm creation
and expansion. The author argues that governments in the region must create the
institutional infrastructure necessary for the development of entrepreneurship, especially
financial legislation; and they must promote the creation of parallel educational programmes
to develop entrepreneurial skills at all levels of the economy, including the non-governmental

    •   Yousef, T. and Dyer, P., 2007, ‘Will the Current Oil Boom Solve the Employment
        Crisis in the Middle East?’ in Yousef, T. et al, 2007, ‘Arab World Competitiveness
        Report 2007: Sustaining the Growth Momentum’, World Economic Forum, Geneva
This chapter reviews recent developments in MENA’s labour markets, focusing on job
creation, unemployment, and government policies aimed at improving labour market
outcomes. The authors note that although unemployment rates for the region as a whole
have declined since 2000, most new jobs have been created in oil-producing countries and
remain dependent on public expenditure. Many non–oil producers, in fact, have seen

unemployment rates rise, a situation which has been exacerbated by decreased transfer
mechanisms - particularly remittances and migration - between regional oil countries and
non-oil countries. The authors also note that Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries
continue to face significant problems in employing nationals trying to enter the labour force.
The authors find that mostly the region will continue to face significant challenges in creating
quality jobs for a growing labour force - particularly for young, new entrants and women.
These challenges will require moving beyond government-driven labour market interventions
and selective reforms towards comprehensive reforms aimed at inspiring entrepreneurship
and private-sector development; faster integration into global trade and investment flows; and
rapid progress in educational reform, gender equality, and governance.

     • Al-Gaderi, H. and Al-Kebsi, A., 2006, ‘Study on Women Members of Chambers of
         Commerce and Industry’, ILO Beirut
The executive summary of this document (located at the end) is in English, and introduces
this study which was undertaken in order to address the gap in research on the emergence of
businesswomen in Yemen, and particularly in the governorates of Sana’a, Aden and Taiz.
The study finds:
            The majority of businesswomen are owners of micro-enterprises involved in
            sewing, catering and personal services (e.g. beauticians, coiffeurs, making
            While most of these women are secondary school graduates, they are unable to
            develop their skills in line with the needs of the labour market due to the lack of
            appropriate technical and vocational training institutions and curricula.
            Women often face difficulties in joining non-traditional activities due to negative
            social perceptions.
            Women often face discrimination in accessing loans, vocational training or
            business services.
            They are often unfamiliar with the regulations, policies and procedures of
            They often have weak communication skills and can find it difficult to access
            markets and information.
In addition, the study highlights that many women working in the informal economy
experience difficult working conditions and often receive lower wages than their male
counterparts. The study concludes with a discussion of the role of the Chambers of
Commerce and Industry and some general recommendations.

    •   Programme: Youth Leadership Development Foundation (YLDF), ‘Case Statement’,
        YLDF, Sana’a
YLDF aims to revitalise Yemen’s private sector by teaching male and female Yemeni youth to
develop business and entrepreneurial skills that will enable them to enter the market as small
business entrepreneurs or professional employees. It offers a one-year programme - Youth
Business Professionals Program (YBPP) - which consists of four training modules, and
includes placement and referral support to its graduates.

        The US State Department’s Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) implements
        various job skills and entrepreneurship training projects in Yemen and the MENA


    •    Chamlou, N, 2007, ‘The Environment for Women’s Entrepreneurship in the Middle
         East and North Africa Region’, World Bank, Washington DC
This report explores how women entrepreneurs can contribute to economic and social
development in the MENA region. The author argues that two main challenges for the region
are to create better jobs for an increasingly educated young workforce; and to diversify its
economies away from the traditional sectors of agriculture, natural resources, construction,
and public works and into sectors that can provide more and better jobs for young people—
sectors that are more export oriented, labour intensive, and knowledge driven. Chamlou
believes that the private sector must play a crucial role in this. The report is based on a
survey of over 5,100 male and female-owned firms in eight MENA countries: Egypt, Jordan,
Lebanon, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Syria, West Bank & Gaza, and Yemen. It finds that overall
economic openness and reform of the business environment will reduce barriers and create
opportunities for all investors, particularly women. The report concludes that while women
entrepreneurs still face more hurdles than their male counterparts, the business and legal
environment is less discriminatory than is assumed. The report finds that social attitudes that
discourage women’s employment can act as barriers, and that certain laws – such as those
requiring a husband’s permission to travel - can interfere with both a woman’s opportunities
and the implementation of business legislation. Interestingly, access to finance was not
identified by the report as a gender-specific barrier, as it is high for both men and women.

    •    Programme: Injaz Al-Arab, 2006, ‘Programme Profile’, Junior Achievement
This is a profile of the regional Injaz Al-Arab initiative which is driven by the private sector and
aims to create a new generation of business-oriented youth. For an hour each week business
leaders and staff visit local schools and universities to share their professional experience,
expertise, and success stories with Arab youth, and provide practical training on how to
succeed in the private sector. Over six semesters, students learn how to manage budgets,
and how to follow stocks in the newspaper. They learn about competition, marketing, and
how the banking sector supports businesses and industries. They are also involved in setting
up community projects, and develop skills in leadership, planning, and teamwork. They are
also given training on giving presentations, CV writing, and job hunting. The programme was
implemented in Jordan in 1999 where 1,400 volunteers from the private sector are now
teaching 50,000 students in government schools and universities. It has since been
implemented in Lebanon, Egypt, Bahrain, the West Bank, Kuwait, Oman, and the UAE. In the
academic year 2006/7, 90,000 students are participating across the region, with a target to
reach one million by 2015. For further information visit the country sites:

    •   Programme: OECD Centre for Entrepreneurship, SMEs and Local Development,
        2007, ‘Pilot Project on Promoting Women’s Entrepreneurship in the MENA Region’,
        Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, Paris
This programme aims to address the question of how best to improve the business
environment for job creation, enterprise development and innovation, and build capacities for
entrepreneurs and SMEs to enable them to compete in the global knowledge-based
economy. The OECD Centre for Entrepreneurship, SMEs and Local Development (CFE) is
developing a two-year Pilot Project for Fostering Women’s Entrepreneurship in the MENA
Region (2007-2009) to address the needs of both nascent and established, growth-oriented
women entrepreneurs.

Disadvantaged Children and Youth
No documents were found.

     • Consortium for Street Children, 2004, ‘A Civil Society Forum for North Africa and the
         Middle East on Promoting and Protecting the Rights of Street Children’, Conference
         Report, Cairo, March 3-6
This conference brought together key NGOs and government representatives from selected
countries to exchange experiences and formulate recommendations for the promotion and
protection of the rights of street children within North Africa and the Middle East. The report
includes an overview of street children in Yemen as well as case studies on NGO responses
and best practice. The Yemen case studies include the Society for the Development of
Women and Children (SOUL) whose activities include improving educational services for
women and children; working towards increasing enrolment and reducing dropout rates; and
promoting literacy and vocational training programmes for women.

    •     Programme: Gwin, C. and Le Libman, M., 2006, 'An Independent Evaluation of the
          Word Bank’s Support for Regional Programs: A Case Study of the Middle East and
          North Africa Child Protection Initiative’, World Bank, Washington DC

This report argues that the Middle East and North Africa (MNA) region has experienced an
increase in vulnerable and disadvantaged children in urban areas. These are children with
special needs, street children, child labourers, internally displaced and refugee children, and
orphans. While many MNA countries have agencies to monitor the well-being and advocate
on behalf of children, there are few policies and programmes targeting children at risk due to
a lack of national awareness of the growing problem, inadequate municipal level attention
and capacity to respond effectively to problems, and insufficient mobilisation of government
and donor funding. While responsibility for issues of children and youths has traditionally
resided with national governments, the Child Protection Initiative (CPI) was created in 2003 to
encourage municipal authorities to take more action. Specifically, the three objectives of the
programme aim to:
              Build a regional knowledge base on key issues confronting children;
              Strengthen the capacity of municipalities and local authorities to effectively
              address children’s issues by building a knowledge-sharing network among
              municipal authorities and providing training and technical assistance in individual
              Assist stakeholders in developing an effective approach to mobilizing resources
              for municipal level activities.
The report finds that the CPI has established its presence as an actor in the region on issues
of urban children, begun to raise awareness about the importance of the role of municipalities
in addressing those issues, established a working relationship with a number of regional and
international partners, and promoted pilot projects in four cities. Yet, the programme appears
unlikely to achieve the objectives it set for its first three years, especially in the areas of
capacity building and resource mobilisation, and its lack of both an explicit business plan and
monitoring and evaluation system will make it hard for it to know if it has been successful in
another three to five years. Activities have so far mainly involved one-off meetings,
dissemination of papers and reports, and website postings. Moreover, CPI’s capacity building
and networking activities have so far been limited to sponsoring mayors and other municipal
officials to participate in specific regional and international conferences and workshops.

    •    Programme: Non-Formal Education (NFE) – Educating Drop Outs in Jordan,
         Questscope for Social Development
This programme targets marginalised children aged 13-18 in Jordan and aims to develop
participatory environments that emphasise their educational rights in the Department of Non-
Formal Education in the Ministry of Education, schools, neighbourhood catchment areas, and
in a national governmental organisation for vocational training. The programme aims to bring
about improvements in literacy as well as in self-awareness, citizenship and life skills and
competences necessary to reach goals within society.

Security and Stability
     • Cragin, K. and Gerwehr, S., 2005, ‘Dissuading Terror: Strategic Influence and the
         Struggle Against Terrorism’, RAND Corporation, Arlington, VA
This report addresses the role of strategic influence in achieving the objectives of dissuading
terrorists from attacking the United States, diverting youths from joining terrorist groups, and
persuading the leaders of states and nongovernmental institutions to withhold support for
terrorists. On pages 41-47, the paper considers the case of Yemen, and attempts to identify
the reasons for Yemeni involvement on the attack on the USS Cole in 2000. The authors
suggest that these include:
              Lack of central government authority outside the central cities due to the
              authority retained by the local tribal sheikhs. As a result, Yemen has traditionally
              been a haven for a variety of different militant groups, including Palestinian
              terrorists, weapon smugglers, and mujahideen from Afghanistan;
              Links between Al Qaida and some powerful Yemeni tribes;
              The prominence of local colleges that teach radical Islam. Authorities have
              identified at least five colleges, such as Al-Iman and Dar al-Hadith, which teach
              radical, pan-Islamic views. Significantly, Osama bin Laden is known to be
              associated with and to recruit from these colleges. Moreover, some of these
              colleges have links to mosques in Yemen’s cities, such as Aden and Sana’a; and
              Two local militant groups which have also played a role in the radicalization
              of society: the Islamic Jihad Movement (IJM) and the Aden Abyan Islamic Army
              (AAIA). In fact, many scholars trace the escalating dynamic between support for
              radical Islam and political violence in Yemen back to the early 1990s and the
              mujahideen fighters who returned from Afghanistan.
The paper concludes by identifying three audiences for influence campaigns – the leaders
and members of the local tribal communities; students in local colleges and universities that
teach radical Islam; and IJM and AAIA militants.

    • Benard, C., 2005, ‘A Future for the Young: Options for Helping Middle Eastern Youth
        Escape the Trap of Radicalization’, RAND Initiative on Middle Eastern Youth Working
        Paper, Arlington VA
This paper is a collection of the presentations made at a conference organised by the
RAND’s Center for Middle East Public Policy and the Initiative for Middle East Youth (IMEY)
to address the issue of why young people enter into Jihadist groups and what might be done
to prevent this or to disengage members of such groups once they have joined. The
conclusions emerging from the working groups on practical programmes and public
diplomacy included:
            Researchers and analysts must view terrorism as a complex phenomenon that
            requires interpretation through multiple disciplinary lenses.

             Youth programmes are often seen as a ‘soft issue’, or as less important to
             counter-terrorism and security goals. This misconception must be addressed and
             corrected in order for the US government to utilise youth programmes effectively.
             Programmes that aim to have an impact on deterring radicalism must be
             sustainable and long-term, and must address the actual needs and wishes of the
             Youth should be involved in designing these programmes to best suit their
             needs. By respecting youth input, programme implementers can encourage the
             empowerment process and may uncover effective solutions to population-specific
             A comprehensive, international database should be established that catalogues
             past and existing programmes and their impact.

    •   International Business Leaders Forum, 2006, ‘Business Action on Youth Disaffection
        and Extremism’, IBLF, London
This briefing focusses on the growing challenges of disaffection and extremism and the role
of business in promoting economic inclusion. It is supported by a ten point framework for
action on practical initiatives that business can take in partnership with others, drawing on
good practices in the workplace, marketplace, value chains and local community.

    •     Baylouny, A., 2004, ‘Emotions, Poverty or Politics: Misconceptions about Islamic
          Movements’, Strategic Insights, Vol. 3, Issue 1

This article explores the question of what motivates an individual to join an Islamist group and
possibly use violence. The author argues: “Islamism in (…) psychological and economic-
based explanations is the outcome of an explosion of pent-up grievances, "the straw that
broke the camel's back", or a person "fed up" and gone crazy. While it makes intuitive sense,
this theory does not fit the reality. Varying economic circumstances across regions and time
periods do not correspond with the occurrence of rebellions and protest movements, as many
scholars have shown.” Baylouny believes that the real motivating grievances of Islamism are
local issues and it is exclusion or inclusion from the political system that plays a powerful role
in radicalising movements. Conversely, participation in the formal political arena moderates
political parties. “This process (of radicalization) can be halted at the local level, by identifying
the operative political grievances, and opening the political realm to contestation.”

    •     Krueger, A. B., and Maleckova, J., 2002 ‘The Economics and the Education of
          Suicide Bombers. Does Poverty Cause Terrorism?’, The New Republic Online

This paper analyses the determinants of participation in militant activities in the Middle East,
examines cross-country data on the connection between economic conditions on the national
level and the occurrence of terrorism by individuals from various countries, and analyses
public opinion polls on the strength of support for attacks against Israeli targets in the West
Bank and Gaza Strip. These analyses suggest that the connection between poverty and
terrorism is not explicit: “What is less clear, however, is whether poverty and low education
are root causes of terrorism. In the aftermath of the tragic events of September 11, several
prominent observers and policymakers have called for increased aid and educational
assistance as a means for ending terrorism…But a careful review of the evidence provides
little reason for optimism that a reduction in poverty or an increase in educational attainment
would, by themselves, meaningfully reduce international terrorism. Any connection between
poverty, education, and terrorism is indirect, complicated, and probably quite weak. Instead of
viewing terrorism as a direct response to low market opportunities or lack of education, we
suggest it is more accurately viewed as a response to political conditions and long-standing
feelings of indignity and frustration (perceived or real) that have little to do with economics…
Indeed, the available evidence indicates that compared with the relevant population,
participants in Hezbollah's militant wing in the late 1980s and early 1990s in Lebanon were at

least as likely to come from economically advantaged families and to have a relatively high
level of education as they were to come from impoverished families without educational

    •    Fuller, G. E., 2003, ‘The Youth Factor: The New Demographics of the Middle East
         and the Implications for US Policy’, Brookings Institution, Analysis Paper no. 3
This paper argues that the existence of a relatively large youth cohort within the population of
Middle Eastern societies serves to exacerbate nearly all dimensions of its political, social and
economic problems. The author states “It is youth that often translates broader social
problems into an explosive and radicalizing mixture.” He also identifies Yemen, Saudi Arabia,
Pakistan, and Iraq as constituting particularly threatening demographic scenarios. Rapid
population growth places immense strains on the entire infrastructure of the state, especially
on educational services that are already poor and declining in quality, and creates greater
dissatisfaction among the most volatile elements of society. States are unable to employ the
growing number of university graduates or to expand social services in order to meet the
needs of the growing population. The latter gap is often filled by Islamist organisations which
gain increased support from the population. In addition, youth unemployment also acts as a
volatile force for instability. Concerned primarily with the attitudes of these youth cohorts
towards the US, the author makes various recommendations to address the demographic
challenge. These include promoting ‘liberalisation’ or good governance; encouraging
democratisation; providing better and secular education, to men and women; and promoting
family planning and better healthcare.

    •     Richards, A., 2003, ‘Socio-Economic Roots of Radicalism? Towards Explaining the
          Appeal of Islamic Radicals’, Strategic Studies Institute

This paper argues that radicalism is a political response to the deepening economic, social,
political, and cultural crisis in the Muslim world. Rapid demographic growth, educational
changes, government policy failure, and rapid urbanisation are among the causes of high
unemployment, and increasing poverty, which, together with other forces, have alienated
large sectors of Muslim youth. Key points include:
              ”The first major social element in the noxious cocktail of religious radicalism in
               the region is the phenomenon of the “youth bulge””.
               Millions of young men now have enough education to find difficult, dirty jobs
               unsatisfying, but do not have the skills needed for the modern global economy.
               The Middle East has the most rapidly growing labour force in the world.
               Poverty provides a fertile recruiting ground for opponents of regimes. Poor
               people, particularly younger ones join violent opposition movements. The basic
               profile for the rank-and-file of many of today’s violent radical Islamic groups is a
               young person with some education, who may also have recently moved to the
               city. Such young people are often unemployed or have jobs below their
               The employment problem is the most politically volatile economic issue facing the
               region as it encourages many of the relatively educated, young, urban residents
               to support radical Islamist political movements. One must be cautious here,
               however. Many complex political and cultural forces are behind the various kinds
               of Islamist political movements. To understand how and why the discontent
               spawned by unemployment takes a specific political and ideological form, one
               cannot have recourse to demography and economics alone: we must also look at
               political structures and ideological environments.
               Unemployed, frustrated young men can also turn to crime, apathy, indifference,
               muddling through, dogged hard work, or any number of other, personal “coping”
               strategies. The decision to join a revolutionary movement is a deeply personal,
               idiosyncratic one. Socio-economic contexts are important for understanding
               these movements, but they hardly provide a full explanation for them.

            Nevertheless, huge numbers of discontented young men (and women) are a
            major threat to internal stability throughout the region.

No documents were found.

    • De Silva, S. J. and Silva-Jauregui, C., 2004, ‘Migration and Trade in MENA:
        Problems or Solutions?’, Office of the Chief Economist, World Bank, Washington DC
This paper analyses migration and trade in the MENA region from the employment
perspective and assesses the extent to which migration and trade can provide a solution to
the region’s employment problem. The authors argue:
             Migration has been an important safety mechanism in reducing pressures in
             domestic labour markets, transfer oil rents from the Gulf and increase household
             income through remittances. While the economies of the MENA region may have
             not integrated much via trade, they have done so, to a large degree, via
             Today, there is less demand from oil producing countries who have educated
             national labour forces of their own.
             Accelerating trade integration could help MENA in making the transition from
             public to private sector led growth, from oil to non-oil sources of dynamism, from
             protected domestic markets to competitive world markets and from agriculture-
             based economies and public employment to industry and services.
             Trade expansion could bring a large assortment of job opportunities to the
             This will need supportive macroeconomic, regulatory and trade policies.

    •   Al-Ali, N., 2004, ‘The Relationship between Migration Within and From the Middle
        East and North Africa and Pro-Poor Policies’, Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies,
        University of Exeter, commissioned by DFID, London
This reports notes that recently, the migratory patterns of the region have become much
more diversified and complex due to globalisation, a series of wars and conflicts, changing
labour markets, transit migration and emerging transnational networks. The main findings and
recommendations of the report include:
            Rapid urbanisation processes and migration of economic migrants, refugees and
            IDPs puts increasing pressure on the resources and infrastructures of cities
            within the MENA region. Development agencies should focus on integrated
            projects to incorporate both long and short-term residents.
            Cheaper and more reliable mechanisms for the transmission of remittances are
            needed to ensure that they are used more efficiently not only at the individual
            family level but also in terms of local development and investments. The creation
            of investment frameworks and technology transfer opportunities should also be
            There is a need to address the skill mismatch in the region in order to build up
            human capital in the region. Building schools in targeted rural areas, establishing
            training schemes, and promoting the exchange of teachers and students, etc.
            could help to address the skills mismatch in the region.

            ‘Transnational’ and ‘virtual’ links between skilled and highly educated migrants
            and between people and development projects in their countries of origin should
            be facilitated.

Additional Issues
    •    Singerman, D., 2007, ‘The Economic Imperatives of Marriage: Emerging Practices
         and Identities among Youth in the Middle East’, Middle East Youth Initiative Working
This paper argues that the consequences of the youth bulge in the region can only be fully
understood by an examination of the political economy of youth through the lens of the
“marriage imperative”. While economists speak of the phenomenon of “wait unemployment,”
or enduring long periods of unemployment in order to secure a high paying ‘permanent’
position with good benefits, in a similar vein, many young people in Egypt and throughout the
region experience “wait adulthood” or “waithood” as they negotiate their prolonged
adolescence and remain single for long periods of time while trying to save money to marry.
The author argues that there has been silence around the economic dynamics of marriage
and thus many youth and parental attitudes and decisions, as well as policy interventions
surrounding the school to work transition make little sense without incorporating marriage into
the calculus. Policymakers must, therefore, consider the school-to-work-to marriage transition
when designing strategies to improve the lives of young people.

Research Programmes
    •   Middle East Youth Initiative (MEYI)
The Middle East Youth Initiative (MEYI) was launched in July 2006 by the Wolfensohn Center
for Development at the Brookings Institution in partnership with the Dubai School of
Government to further examine the economic and social dimensions impacting youth in the
region and to generate new recommendations that promote inclusion. It is a two-year, multi-
country research project which aims to work with researchers and policymakers to develop
actionable policy solutions to meet these challenges and encourage greater youth inclusion in
the region. The Initiative has identified education; employment; and issues of marriage and
family as key factors that frustrate the transition to adulthood of young people in the Middle

    •   RAND Initiative for Middle Eastern Youth (IMEY)
The RAND Initiative for Middle Eastern Youth (IMEY) is housed within RAND's Center for
Middle East Public Policy (CMEPP) and is a combined research and outreach effort geared
towards the greater Middle East's youth population. IMEY undertakes baseline studies to
achieve a differentiated, fine-grain understanding of the setting, the problems, the goals and
the perceptions of youth. Its activities include:
        Conducting research and evaluations analysing the relevance of youth-related trends
        in the region and focussing both on overall phenomena and on the situation in
        specific countries;
        Assessing existing and planned programmes aimed at youth and suggesting ways to
        improve them;
        Designing and testing new approaches tailored to specific population subsets and
        Identifying partners and a talent pool, creating a resource base and a network of
        committed individuals and groups in the West and in the region who can move
        forward with constructive dialogue and cooperation.

Further Resources
   •    Conference: Urban Children and Youth in the MENA Region: Addressing Priorities in
        Education, MENA Child Protection Initiative, Dubai, May 16-18, 2005
This webpage includes a programme of the conference as well as links to presentations and
speeches. The issues discussed included youth employment issues in the MENA region;
innovative learning approaches; street children and empowering disadvantaged youth; and
dialogue between youth, municipal and national authorities.

   •    Workshop: Reaching Vulnerable Children and Youth in MENA, World Bank,
        Washington DC, June 16-17 2004
This webpage includes a links to a number of presentations from the workshop. Some of
these are cited below:
             Carmen Niethammer, Operations Officer, MNSED, "Gender and Youth: A Cross
             Sectoral Challenge"
             Dr. Curt Rhodes, Questscope, Jordan, "Partnerships in Challenges to Leadership
             with "At Risk" Children in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan: An NGO Viewpoint"

4. Press Articles

   •   ‘Programme offers second chance for 50,000 dropouts’,, 3 October 2007

   •   The Editor, ‘In search for qualified youth’, Yemen Times, 17 September 2007

   •   IRIN News, ‘Yemen: Female Education Remains a Key Challenge’, UN Office for the
       Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, 6 September 2007

   •   Al-Ajel, F., ‘Youth and decision makers ‘working together for a better Yemen’’, Yemen
       Times, 23 July 2007

   •   Al-Ajel, F., ‘’My idea’ competition makes youth dreams come true’, Yemen Times, 14
       June 2007

   •   Hassan, E., ‘Training and Qualifying the Jobless Youth of Yemen’, Yemen Observer,
       4 August 2005

   •   Al-Sakkaf, N., ‘YEDI: An Initiative to save the Yemeni Youth’, Yemen Times, 11 July

5. Additional Information

Arwa Al-Deram, Executive Director, SOUL Yemen
Taufik Al-Dobhani, GTZ Private Sector Development Project, Yemen
Antelak Al-Mutawakel, Sana’a University/YLDF

Iman Al-Tawqi, Executive Manager, Youth Leadership Development Foundation, Yemen
Fuad Ali, Team Leader Pro-Poor Economic Growth, UNDP Yemen
Marta Colburn, MercyCorps, Jordan
Kim Cragin, International Policy Analyst, RAND Corporation
Navtej Dhilon, Director Middle East Youth Initiative, Brookings Institution
Felix Eikenberg, Resident Representative, Freidrich Ebert Foundation, Yemen
Philipp-Oliver Gross, Desk Officer GCC Countries and Yemen, European Commission
Michael Taarnby Jensen, Project Researcher, Danish Institute for International Studies
Marta Colbun, MercyCorps, Jordan
Martin Kade, Reproductive Health programme, GTZ Yemen
Mark Katz, George Mason University, US
Magdalene Kloss, GTZ Yemen
Mehyar Mu’ayyad, Middle East Partnership Initiative, Abu Dhabi Regional Office
Safa Rawiah, Executive Manager, Youth Economic Development Center, Yemen
Gerhard Redecker, Director, KfW Yemen
Monalisa Salib, Programme Officer Middle East, CHF International, US
Soraya Salti, Junior Achievement International
Jalila Shujaldeen, Social Fund for Development
Digby Swift, Education Adviser, DFID
Maaike van Vliet, Donor Coordinator/ First Secretary Education, Netherlands Embassy

Websites visited
American Institute for Yemeni Studies, British Yemeni Society, Carnegie Endowment for
International Peace, Center for Contemporary Conflict, Danish Institute for International
Studies, DED, Economic Research Forum, Education Resources Information Center,
European Commission, Friends of Hadhramaut, Global Development Network, Henry L
Stimson Center, GTZ, Google, Gulf Research Center, Harvard University, International
Business Leaders Forum, International Centre for Technical and Vocational Education and
Training, ICG, International Education Systems, ILO, International Research and Exchanges
Board, MENA Child Protection Initiative, Middle East Partnership Initiative, Population
Council, Population Reference Bureau, Questscope, RAND Corporation, SOUL Yemen,
OECD, SOAS, UNDP, UNESCO, USAID, University of Exeter, University of Westminster,
World Bank, World Economic Forum, Yemen Center for Arab Studies, Youth Microenterprise

Please note that GSDRC responses are compiled for DFID use only and should only be
disseminated at DFID’s request.

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