Oxfam IBIS

Better opportunities for youth in MENA

Oxfam IBIS is part of the international Oxfam organisation and a new partner under the Dansk-Arab Partnership Programme (DAPP). However, as a member of Oxfam, IBIS is already very well established in the four countries selected (Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt and Jordan), where help has been provided for up to 50 years, including a large number of projects focusing on young people and their access to jobs.

Consequently, the Oxfam IBIS project will contribute strongly to DAPP’s stated aim of promoting growth and employment as well as democratic development via partnerships. The project also contains elements of other focus areas in DAPP, such as rights, including women’s rights and freedom of the press.

Oxfam IBIS objectives for the next five years

Unemployment in the MENA region is the highest in the world, and it is very much a youth phenomenon. The same applies to youngsters in the four countries that concern DAPP. Unemployment is high – and their access to democratic influence is very low. This is a source of concern about poor social and political stability. In many instances, unemployment leads to social stigmatisation, personal lack of self-confidence, loss of faith in the future and in certain cases, to drug abuse. Studies have also shown that unemployment is a significant factor in recruitment by IS and in migration. Oxfam IBIS wants this project to involve local partners to reduce unemployment. The organisation expects to help a total of 9,500 more youngsters develop their personal and vocational skills, to find work and to become more active as a group with a role in democratic development. Such a result will help turn prevalent perceptions of youngsters in a more positive direction by creating greater respect for their efforts, and understanding for the need for them to play a key role in development of the MENA region as the next adult generation.

The work of OXFAM IBIS in the Middle East and North Africa (the MENA region)

This project focuses on youngsters in Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt and Jordan. The entrepreneurism project will help youngsters gain access to the job market, or to start their own business and thus generate an income. Focus is on young people who have special problems in a variety of ways:

  • Socially deprived.
  • Living in rural areas where jobs are few.
  • Young women who are denied access to the job market in some of the countries.
  • The programme is also open to under-privileged young people, including migrants and such groups as Syrian refugees.

In specific terms, the programme will run via partnerships with local organisations – including those representing employees and employers, think- tanks, and authorities at local and national level. The civilian organisations that OXFAM IBIS already work with include youth organisations. Actual support provided takes multiple forms:

  • Education and training represents a significant element, along with various forms of matchmaking via job portals and other facilities.
  • Setting up programmes with special support for women and young people to achieve insight into and skills pertinent to the requirements for getting a job and gaining a foothold on the labour market.
  • Support to bring youngsters into formal employment – many often work for little or no pay in the casual employment sector.

Finally, they will also work with innovation within the food market, with a view to creating new jobs – including within the export of food products to Europe and Denmark. One of their collaborators is the Danish chef Claus Meyer, a major innovator within food products and the catering industry. Oxfam IBIS already has experience of working with Meyer from similar projects. 

Vast experience for new joint project

Oxfam IBIS is a new partner under DAPP, but the programme is based on results from similar Oxfam projects. In this context they are especially proud of having helped youngsters in the MENA region to find jobs. Young people in the region often state that a job as their biggest hope and therefore this approach involves young people and gives them influence at every level. The efforts of Oxfam IBIS under DAPP therefore make a significant contribution to getting youngsters to join processes that enhance democratic development. They are proud of being able to help youngsters in the MENA region to rekindle their hope for the future.