MENARY Monitor – Edition 108
April 23, 2023
Politics and Political Engagement
Ahead of the Turkish presidential and parliamentary elections, to be held on May 14, the Social, Economic and Political Research Foundation of Turkey held a meeting focusing on the situation of Turkish youth. Young people from political parties, NGOs, and researchers participated in the meeting, and the results of a research conducted by Public Opinion Research were discussed concerning young voters who would vote for the first time in their lives. According to the report, young people who will vote for the first time are less satisfied with their lives, compared to the rest of Turkey’s population. The report also revealed that 49% of Turkey’s population wanted their country to be like European countries. The study also divided lifestyles into three types: modern, generally conservative, and religiously conservative, showing that 33% of Turkey’s population finds themselves close to the modern lifestyle, compared to 57% among first time voters. When asked “Do you see yourself from the right or left stream?”, 35% of Turks see themselves on the left, compared to 45% among first time voters.
Economics and Entrepreneurship
Zawya reported that 11 MENA startups were selected to join Village Capital’s Financial Solutions for Migrants program, an accelerator for impact-driven startups developing financial inclusion solutions for migrants. The program will work with the startups to further develop and refine their products and solutions to fit the needs of different migrant communities including migrant women and refugees. It will provide a combination of intensive in-person and virtual investment readiness training, and connect the 11 startups with Village Capital’s wider investor and mentor community. It is also worth noting that 54% of the cohort selected have one or more female founders.
The “Sawa Shabab” program on Radio Sawa addressed, in its weekly episode, the reality and challenges of innovation among young people in the Arab region. It is reported that Arab youth are making valuable contributions, particularly in the area of technology. However, challenges remain that need to be addressed to effectively harness the potential of Arab youth and technological innovation. The most significant challenges facing young people are lack of access to finance and social welfare.
A Palestinian youth was found dead in Nazareth after being shot near the town of Ixal, hours after the murder of another young man, bringing the death toll to 48 among the Arab community. Youth in Arab society are becoming victims to the serious rise in violence and crime, while the police are failing to do their job to eradicate homicide and violence. Since the beginning of 2023, the number of victims of murders in Arab society has risen to 48. During 2022, the death toll was 109, including 12 women; and, in 2021, more than 111 homicides were documented in an unprecedented record tally.
The Israeli occupation forces launched a campaign of raids and incursions in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem, and they arrested of a number of young Palestinians. According to the prisoner’s club, 7 Palestinian youth were arrested during a campaign of raid and arrest in several areas of the bank and Jerusalem, on the pretext of involvement in armed resistance. Further, the occupation forces arrested a parent of a young Palestinian to put pressure on his son to surrender himself. Local Palestinian sources reported that the occupation army had broken into other areas of the West Bank and carried out raids, while heavy gunfire had been fired in several areas.
Moroccan specialists warned of the rise in the prevalence of the drug “pufa” or “crack”, also called “the cocaine of the poor”, considering it “the most dangerous new drug in the market“. In this context, the President of the National Anti-Smoking and Drug Assembly, said that the drug was “produced and promoted by some sub-Saharan migrant persons, with a cost ranging from 50 to 60 dirhams per gram,” adding that “addiction to this drug is widely and strangely known among youth in educational and formative institutions.” He also attributed this rise to the “policy of escapism,” warning that the continuity of this policy will only lead to an increase in drug use among Moroccan youth.
False information, rumors and unreliable sources abound these days and young people are particularly susceptible to targeted disinformation. Often unaware of the dangers, they unknowingly share fake news with others. In the Palestinian territories and Jordan, DW Akademie and its local partners have been working with youth, helping them develop creative approaches to inform peers about risks of the digital world. As part of the “MIL goes viral” project, they produced interactive apps that use different approaches to teach young users how to tackle false information and rumors. Hazem Ayasrah, a young Jordanian participant, said: “There is a big problem with fake news and disinformation in Jordan, and it is getting worse. We needed a solution, and the project involves us young people in creating something interactive that motivates people to participate and learn how to distinguish reliable from false information.” As part of the training, young participants learned how to write news and were also introduced to message verification. While researching, they found that particularly local media outlets based their news on false or unreliable sources. Realizing this, the topic became more tangible for the participants as well as more urgent. Hazem and his group decided to create a simple but dynamic game concept that would show players how to distinguish fake from trustworthy information, in which players need to learn these skills so they can use them in their daily lives, whether they’re using social media or just reading a newspaper.
The Youth Directorate of the Capital Governorate, in Jordan, held a seminar on “Digital Media” attended by 20 young participants. The seminar’s moderator spoke about the importance of digital media, the importance of news formulation through social media, and media’s commitment to code of ethical and professional conduct in news reporting. A representative of the Directorate of Public Security spoke about the importance of digital media in achieving community peace, the role of social media in shaping public opinion, and the role of young people in transmitting information and news from social media in a way that reflects their awareness in preserving communities.
In Bahrain, the second edition of the Youth Empowerment Centers Forum was held last week, titled “Empowering young people between reality and the future”, and organized by the Stone Youth Empowerment Center. The Forum aimed to maximize the role of youth empowerment centers by discovering, refining, and highlighting youth talent in various fields, along with finding the means to enhance the operations of these centers and address the challenges they face. These empowerment centers are a distinct incubator for young people, as they offer a package of programs that seek to enhance youth’s skills in various fields.
Abdelaziz Al-Ghurair, founder of the Abdelaziz Al-Ghurair Refugee Education Fund, stressed that Fund, established in 2018, sought to provide assistance to 20 thousand young people in a period of up to 3 years, noting that the goal was exceeded and reached 62 thousand young people. Al-Ghurair added, “We intend to focus on refining the skills of young Arab refugees and enhancing their access to secondary education in Jordan and Lebanon. We also aim to give refugee and marginalized youth access to vocational training courses approved in the competencies required in the labor market, thereby contributing to job creation and raising the standard of living.” It is worth noting that the fund had partnered with 20 institutions with shared visions and collaborated to achieve common goals in providing the necessary sustainable support to young refugees.
The World Bank approved two new projects to help scale-up support to climate responsive public and private investments to promote job creation and business opportunities for women and help improve the efficiency of Jordan’s electricity sector, with an emphasis on strengthening sector governance. The two projects will support the implementation of Jordan’s 10-year Economic Modernization Vision, which promotes sustainability as one of its main pillars and aims to position Jordan as a regional hub for green entrepreneurship and innovation and to attract investment.
The Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) launched the “DEWA Youth Sustainability Ambassadors” Program, in collaboration with the University of Cambridge Sustainability Leadership Institute. The program featured three workshops and will have a closing session in September. DEWA noted that the first workshop was attended by 20 young staff from different sectors of the Authority, who learned about various aspects of sustainability and acquired skills in innovation and effective communication, enabling them to be effective ambassadors for sustainability, to contribute to the realization of the Authority’s vision as a global sustainability leader, committed to achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.
UN Climate Change High-Level Champion for COP28, Razan Al Mubarak, and COP28 Director-General and Special Representative, Ambassador Majid Al Suwaidi, traveled to the United Nations Headquarters to engage with stakeholders on the sidelines of the 22nd Session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII). Al Mubarak emphasized the importance of leveraging the knowledge and values of indigenous peoples for achieving sustainable development and protecting biodiversity and encouraged their full engagement in the development of policies related to climate change. Both members of the COP28 leadership team reiterated the UAE’s commitment to closer collaboration with indigenous communities in driving solutions to the climate crisis. The Forum on Indigenous Issues is the central UN body dedicated to the concerns and rights of the world’s indigenous peoples.