Introducing youth in Syria and Lebanon to successful volunteerism

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© UNESCO

Unemployment, violence, displacement, oppression, and poverty are all problems that face youth in the Arab countries. Realizing the need to enable, empower, and engage youth in the different aspects of the public life, UNESCO office in Beirut is conducting in partnership with several agencies and local NGOs a set of activities supporting youth policies and participation.

In this framework, UNESCO office in Beirut and Makhzoumi Foundation organized a training workshop on Volunteers management targeting Syrian and Lebanese youth organizations.

Held from 5 to 8 February 2015, and regrouping 24 members of youth led and youth targeting organizations in Syria and Lebanon, and conducted by specialized trainers from Makhzoumi foundation, this workshop aimed to build capacities of youth NGOs in Lebanon and Syria in managing young volunteers.

“UNESCO’s work on youth and with you are both policy and service delivery levels" stated Seiko Sugita, Programme Specialist in UNESCO, addressing participants in this workshop. "Youth volunteerism, properly managed and empowered can help the society to explore and apply innovative approaches to social justice and social cohesion”, she added.

Imad Shmaitelly, the trainer from Makhzoumi Foundation, considered that : "We have excess in volunteers in Lebanon and Syria with a deficiency in volunteer management skills". "The training enriches the managers with skills, the know-how of volunteer management and it provides them with an added value in the world of community service and civic engagement".

Building on previous components achieved during the regional Training Of Trainers workshop on Volunteerism management conducted jointly by UNESCO and UNV (in Amman, Jordan, November 2014), this activity also aims to empower the networking skills of Lebanese and Syrian youth organizations, particularly in terms of promoting social cohesion in the time of conflict situations.

Dr Zeina Mkarzel, a Lebanese trainee, a medical doctor, who recently set up a NGO to support young drug-users’ rehabilitation, stated: “I did not know that out of my medical field there are volunteerism workshops with theoretical and practical applications that would actually help me benefit”.

Akleh Hani, a trainee, and the director of Syrian Trust for development club, also praised the training, saying that "the benefits of the training is immense and the team is waiting to reach Syria so we could start applying what we learned at the Volunteer Management training camp".