MENAACTION, established by a group of young Middle Eastern GW students, is a nonprofit organization designed to advocate for the rights of Middle Eastern youth and the Middle East in general. MENAACTION is for youth by youth, focusing on issues of policy, advocacy, democracy and human rights.
Youth in the Middle East face a number of issues including lack of agency in the political process, socioeconomic disenfranchisement, restrictions on human rights and personal freedoms. This is documented by many global indicators, including Freedom House. Additionally, young people in the Middle East are generally perceived as a burden on society, perpetrators or victims of violence, rather than an opportunity and agents for change and development.
Globally, only 1.9% of all elected representatives are under the age of 30 in spite of the fact that young people are voting more than before, and showing improvements in voter turnout rates, when compared to other age groups. Youth also face major restrictions on their personal freedoms particularly freedom of speech, as the number of young political prisoners is increasing on daily basis.
MENAACTION looks to build a vast network of young people in the region and Middle Eastern youth around the world. As such, our beneficiaries are primarily Middle Eastern youth, policy makers, relevant international organizations, and local civil society organizations. Our team brings a wide range of backgrounds including research, policy, advocacy, and media and journalism, and are fluent in Arabic, Persian, Turkish, Amazigh, French, and English.
MENAACTION combines academia with practical experience in research, analysis, advocacy, human rights, and media and journalism. Recently, following the United Nations General Security Council Resolution 2250 on Youth, Peace, and Security, there has been a growing interest in youth, albeit mostly from a security perspective. At MENAACTION, we go beyond that to incorporate human rights, freedoms, democracy, and political and structural challenges. This is particularly because youth in the MENA region remain overlooked and disengaged. Our team is comprised of individuals born and raised in the Middle East, and thus, have lived through these dynamics, and understand how to deal with them.
MENAACTION believes in the meaningful engagement of youth as stakeholders and active agents. As such, we utilize our network of peers around the world to be our network of advocates, experts, and activists. They are provided with the space and opportunity to contribute our programs and activities through our online and offline presence. We compile their contributions and utilize them under our programs of policy, advocacy, democracy, and human rights. Such contributions will also inform our campaigns, and we will ultimately produce white papers and reports to be delivered to the relevant stakeholders, including decision makers.
MENAACTION is rooted in empowering voices in and from the Middle East and North Africa to lead efforts to incorporate youth in the region into policy and decision making, while expanding opportunities for youth involvement across society. Through a focus on youth and a combination of policy, advocacy, democracy, and human rights programs, MENAACTION provides a unique and distinct approach to addressing issues in the region. Our platform empowers not only young experts on the region, but also young experts from the region, providing an expertise that is lacking among existing approaches. Our core group is fluent in Arabic, Persian, Turkish, Amazigh, French, and English. This will enable us to realize one of our guiding principles: MENAACTION is for all.
MENAACTION combines the work of separate fields like academia, advocacy, research, analysis, journalism, and media into one place in order to put forth more effective solutions to empowering youth in the region and helping policymakers understand how best to lift up these voices. We take a wholistic and comprehensive approach to youth empowerment, rather than the current piecemeal nature of approaches that has long remained ineffective in contributing to meaningful change.