In light of the global economic downturn, the Middle East’s long-term prosperity hinges on creating a skilled workforce which is productively employed. Many efforts are underway by governments, civil society organizations, and private sector companies to tackle the economic challenges facing this generation.
“Given the sheer scale of the youth employment challenge in the MENA region over the coming two decades, it is critical to invest in ideas and solutions that have proven results and solid data. Takeem has the potential to make a significant contribution to the understanding of what works and what doesn’t, and under what conditions”
Mr. Rick Little the CEO of Silatech said.
To maximize the benefits of on-going reforms and policies, three major needs must be addressed:
- Investment coupled with impact evaluation: Billions of dollars are invested in youth programs and projects throughout the region. Yet investors, government policymakers, ministers, and the private sector continue to question the impact of such projects, and young men and women across the region face recurring problems. There is a critical need to establish reliable evidence on what is working, what is not, and the reasons behind each.
- Scaling-up successes: With the youth between the ages of 15 and 29, requiring more and better services, the region needs scaling up of successful programs. However, despite a proliferation of interventions few reach regional or even national scale. Measuring the impact of such interventions is needed to influence the next generation of policies programs and investment targeting youth.
- Learning across borders: The best ideas for solutions can be found within the region, however this remains a largely untapped source of strength for youth development in the Middle East. Many countries in the region face common challenges with regard to improving the quality of education, expanding employment and promoting entrepreneurship. Current reform efforts in several countries can therefore serve as best practices and provide lessons for the entire region.
To meet the urgency of these needs, Silatech, the Wolfensohn Center for Development at Brookings, the Dubai School of Government, and the Issam Fares Institute at American University of Beirut will launch Taqeem at the 2009 Doha Summit on Young People, Enterprise and Employment on June 8th. Taqeem, housed within the Middle East Youth Initiative, will focus on impact evaluation to generate new solutions to youth challenges by linking effective policy, sound knowledge and smart investment.
Mr Rami Khoury Director of Issam Fares Institute at American University of Beirut commented: “We are delighted to be a part of this important and much needed effort from its inception, and to play an active role in bringing together high quality research from around the Middle East and the world to address the evaluation gap in a multi-disciplinary manner.”
“There have been important investments made across the region to resolve the economic challenges facing youth, but few have resulted in maximum impact. In this regard, Taqeem will provide the expertise to evaluate programs and policies at early stages of design and facilitate mid-course corrections needed to ensure sustained effectiveness,” Dean of the Dubai School of Government and Nonresident Senior Fellow at Brookings, Tarik Yousef, said in remarks to the Taqeem program. The program will employ a holistic and integrated approach working with public and private stakeholders on regional, national, and local levels to achieve the following goals:
- Measure the impact of interventions to influence the next generation of policies and programs targeting youth. Taqeem will undertake impact evaluations of local programs and policies. By doing so, the new program will assist policymakers and civil society in establishing standards for effective policymaking. Through streamlining benchmarking efforts, Taqeem will also generate best practices for policymakers, civil society, and private sector stakeholders.
- Drive smarter investments, shape more effective policies and scale up successful projects through new knowledge generated from impact evaluations. Taqeem will form a network of evaluators to boost local capacity in the region and promote the integration of impact evaluation in pilot projects.
- Discover and document flourishing innovations on the ground with the goal of integrating them into national policy and aligning investments for their scale up. Taqeem will be at the forefront at discovering, studying, promoting and advocating for these local yet “hidden” innovations with potential for scale.
- Promote learning across borders by sharing best practices on a local, regional and global level. Taqeem will provide a platform for greater learning from within the region as well as globally through more effective South-to-South knowledge exchange.
Silatech, the Wolfensohn Center for Development at Brookings, the Dubai School of Government, and the Issam Fares Institute at American University of Beirut strongly believe that Taqeem will make significant impact on the many valiant attempts throughout the region to promote the employment of young people. Taqeem will help ensure a sustainable future for the youth and generations to come.
Monday, June 8- 2009 @ 11:22 UAE local time (GMT+4) Replication or redistribution in whole or in part is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Mediaquest FZ LLC.