The daily news landscape in Denmark are full of stories from the Middle East and North Africa. Frequently, the stories deal with war, conflict, and terror, however, the Middle East and North Africa do also persist and deliver lots of constructive stories filled with hope and development
Denmark is among the few countries that have established a partnership programme between Danish and Arab civil society organisations and that employs to promote good governance and ensure economic opportunities, especially for women and youths.
A unique partnership
Over a span of five years from 2017-2022, DAPP is stakeholder in supporting the four focal countries Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, and Tunisia with one billion DKK.
Specifically, it means that Huda from Syria who lives in Jordan has gone from living in poverty to earn her own money, due to her entrepreneurship of making homemade soaps, and that 25 year-old Mohamed from Morocco is now permanently employed and assured a minimum wage in a country struggling with youth unemployment.
It has also meant that Rehab from Egypt who was married into an arranged marriage, have through a feministic workshop found her voice to express herself. And in the Tunisian city called El Kef, an alliance between the justice system and the women organisations of the city has arisen, together fighting to ensure that the national law abolishing violence against women has a real impact.
It is DAPP’s five strategic partners, DIGNITY, KVINFO, International Media Support (IMS), Ulandssekretariatet, and Oxfam Ibis contributing to the substantial realisation of projects in their respective areas such as human rights, equality, freedom of press, labour market, job creation, and entrepreneurship.
Additionally, there is DAPP’s youth pool that is composed by GAME, Dansk Ungdoms Fællesråd, MS Action Aid, and Cross Cultures, and aims to support innovative approaches to engage young people in the four countries.
What and why?
Since 2003, Denmark has strengthened its effort in the Middle East and North Africa as a part of the prevailing Danish foreign- and development policy. The cooperation programme, appertained to the Foreign Ministry of Denmark, was launched under the Arab initiative and has since 2017 continued under the name: Danish-Arab Partnership Programme (DAPP).
It is no secret that the contemporary Middle East and North Africa are one of the most challenged places in the world. In Syria, Libya, Iraq, and Yemen the states have collapsed and replaced by armed conflicts. According to the World Bank, the MENA-region is the least democratic in the world, and human rights- and civil society organisations have outmost limited room for manoeuvre.
Nevertheless, the region offers opportunities. Most of the countries contributes actively to reformistic and democratic initiatives. DAPP has succeeded in establishing a comprehensive network composed of authorities, civil society organisations, and corporations in the region. The experience and opportunities in the region undertake a Danish effort in removing extremism and migration, and simultaneously maintain the dialogue with those working for democracy, human rights, and economic opportunities.
One of the biggest challenges I the Middle East and North Africa is youth unemployment. Two-third of the population is under 30 years old. If the young people are unable to establish themselves on the labour market, there is an increased risk of extremism and/or pursue of an uncertain future to Europe.
Hence, DAPP’s focus on engaging the youth in their respective country’s development and hinder brain drain, migration, and radicalisation by strengthening job creation and entrepreneurship.
Despite several progressions for women in relation to health, education, and political participation, there are still very different circumstances for men and women in the region, which is ranked as the least equal in the world. Judicial and economic gender discrimination impede for democratic and economic development.
Hence, DAPP’s attempt to promote equality initiatives, and strengthening women in political and economic participation.
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