UNSMIL Launches New Youth Engagement Strategy for Libya in Ghadames

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14 May 2024

UNSMIL Launches New Youth Engagement Strategy for Libya in Ghadames

GHADAMES – 14 May – Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary General and Resident Coordinator, Georgette Gagnon, launched UNSMIL’s new youth engagement strategy, #YouEngage in a meeting with young men and women held in Ghadames City.

#YouEngage aims to change how the Mission interacts with youth through in person and digital workshops, communications and leadership training and amplifying youth recommendations and ideas to decision-makers through UN communications and good offices.

“Youth should be integrated into all municipality meetings and decisions because their views and ideas matter,” said Gagnon. “They make up the largest part of the population in Libya, and UNSMIL will work to amplify their recommendations and concerns as much as possible,” she added.

Some 35 youth from Ghadames, Derj and Awal, including from the city’s youth councils, discussed the challenges they faced in the region including employment, housing, limited facilities for youth and specifically women, lack of training to establish businesses and absence of psychosocial support.

“Ghadames has potential for small to medium enterprises in traditional handicraft, palm trees and other local resources,” said one participant. “But what is needed is financial support to set up the businesses and then marketing support to promote them once they are established.”

Other participants highlighted the challenges facing young women from poorer backgrounds who wish to go to university, saying that security issues were a significant barrier, and they were unable to afford safe housing in the cities. This meant many did not receive education beyond high school.

Throughout the discussion the group made the following recommendations:

  • Vocational skills training to support their ambitions to set up businesses;
  • Equal employment opportunities including establishing a quota for youth employment in the public sector;
  • Accommodation and support for women to study at universities away from their home;
  • Government programmes to support access to funding for young entrepreneurs;
  • Training in marketing and communications, as well as leadership skills;
  • Establishing facilities for youth such as clubs and sports, as well as spaces specifically for women to be able to work and socialize;
  • Providing more psychosocial support to youth and training health workers in this, as well as to support those with disabilities;
  • Offering more resources and support for educational activities for all, particularly in newly established municipalities like Awal.

“Youth need employment and have to learn the skills to be able to find jobs in the private sector,” said another participant. “If they are not utilized properly, they might join illicit activities like human trafficking and smuggling,” he added.

As part of the #YouEngage initiatives these recommendations will be documented and raised with decision makers in meetings led by the Mission. The youth engaged in these meetings will also continue to work with the mission to share their ideas, actions they have taken to improve their communities and engage in training workshops.