ActionAid Denmark visit to Mafraq Youth Hub: Challenges and opportunities for the youth in Jordan
On the 11th of June 2022, ActionAid Denmark (AAMS) visited Mafraq Youth Hub in Jordan. It was a great occasion for AAMS team to meet with the youth and discuss topics of crucial importance.
Telescope Youth Hub
The Mafraq Youth Hub (Telescope), located in the heart of the city of Mafraq, is a vibrant place where dozens of motivated and passionate young volunteers and users gather and interact in an ecosystem that builds their capacity and serves as a platform for them to take action. Established by ActionAid Arab Region in 2021, the Youth Hub is a Youth-led physical safe space, allowing young people to meet, plan, organize, participate in events and trainings, and take action on their matters of interest. The hub is managed by a group of young volunteers (core team) who plans, designs and implements the activities.
During the field visit to the hub, the youth from Mafraq governate exchanged ideas and reflections with the ActionAid team about the whole situation in Jordan in general, and Mafraq Governorate in particular.
The youth demonstrated that, while youth volunteering in Mafraq hub is a great opportunity for them when it comes to the initiatives and trainings they receive, as well as the opportunities offered by the Youth Hub, they still feel that there is a gap between the trainings and employment.
Most of the youth volunteering at the Mafraq youth hub have university degrees, trainings and experience, but their career is collapsing because of the economic situation and the regional political unrest. The lack of jobs and the deteriorating economic situation in Jordan for instance, interferes with social norms like the ability of men to get married.
“Unemployment makes us not want to get married” said one of the youth participants.
Young people are likely dreaming about immigrating to Europe or America in search of better jobs and life. Additionally, due to the location of the Zaatari refugee camp - one of the biggest Syrian refugee camps in the world - competition for informal jobs has risen, especially in the Mafraq area. The young people compete for the same opportunities as the refugees and most times refugees are given priority because they accept a lower wage than the Jordanians.
IMPACT OF RISING FUEL PRICES
During the time of the visit, the government in Jordan took many steps to increase fuel prices to respond to economic challenges that the country is facing. The youth shared that with the rise of the fuel prices, which are already relatively high in Jordan, they are struggling to support themselves and to move around. Whereas most of the youth used to go to the youth space every day, lately it has been very tough, as they can only go when ActionAid Arab Region pays for their transportation.
A direct consequence of this issue is a decrease in the opportunities available for the youth. Nevertheless, the youth are still trying to come up with solutions. For example, in Mafraq, young people are starting to think out of the box to explore green opportunities like recycling and making compost in order to increase food production per household. However, even with this, they can barely raise any money, as society is mostly not ready to invest in recycled products, and therefore, this will be a long-term process. ActionAid Arab Region already started implementing climate action activities with the Mafraq Youth Hub, including workshops, recycling activities and waste-sorting projects (see the article below to know more about our Climate Action activities).
Through its Youth Program, ActionAid Arab Region puts the Youth Hubs intervention at the heart of its projects and activities. Several ongoing projects with different Youth Hubs across Jordan are being implemented with the aim to increase opportunities for the Youth in the country.