RAMALLAH, Thursday, December 10, 2020 (WAFA) – Under the auspices of Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed today for the establishment of a Palestinian National Volunteer Service Programme together with the Higher Council for Youth and Sports, UNICEF, UNDP and UNFPA.
The signing of this MoU comes at an opportune moment, aligning with the Prime Minister's priorities for youth, as announced in relation to the 'Year of Youth 2020': employment; training and employability; participation and civic engagement; national identity and cultural heritage.
"This initiative is important to us. It aims to enhance the values of volunteering among Palestinian youth, and to heighten the spirit of belonging and participation in civil service", said Shtayyeh. "We hope that the core of this project will expand to include Palestinian youth of all ages, and volunteerism in the land, factories and all fields of work".
This project, funded through the global initiative "Generation Unlimited", will serve as a platform for diverse voluntary work initiatives throughout the State of Palestine. The National Volunteer Service will connect potential youth volunteers with opportunities to contribute meaningfully to their communities, while gaining valuable work experience and skills for future employment.
While this intervention initially will focus on young people, the longer-term plan will be the establishment of a social volunteer service which will service, and be serviced, by all segments of society.
"Harnessing the vast potential of young people for the common good is a key objective of the UN's work in the State of Palestine", said Gerald Rockenshaub, UN Resident Coordinator. "We are pleased to align the contributions of UNDP, UNFPA, UNICEF and UNV around the vision of the Prime Minister for a Palestine which leverages its young population for productive and meaningful engagement in the development of the nation".
Despite important achievements in school enrollment for both girls and boys, unemployment among young people remains high at 38% in 2019 (31% among males and 63% among females), as 63% in the Gaza Strip and 23% in the West Bank.
Some 22% of the Palestinian population is under 30 years old (29-18 years). Volunteering provides an opportunity for young people to be meaningfully engaged in their societies, shaping collective opportunities for meeting community needs, and strengthening social cohesion within wider systems of support.