Adolescent and Youth programme
UNICEF’s Adolescent and Youth programme aims to support adolescent and youth with second chance education, skilling, access to decent income generating and civic engagement opportunities
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Today, the youth population in Lebanon stands at 1.7 million. The deprivations of adolescents and youth are increasing in the context of Lebanon’s economic and financial meltdown, the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the disastrous impact of the Beirut Port explosion, as well as the continued impact of the Syrian crisis. The result of these compounding crises is a significant deterioration of the young people’s quality of life, rights fulfilment, and access to quality services, which has led to apathy, emigration and a loss of hope that things will get better in the near future.
Adolescents and young people are increasingly not in learning and lack opportunities for second-chance education. Just 43 per cent of those aged between 15-24 are enrolled in school, 12 per cent among Syrian refugees. The situation of adolescents and youth is characterized by inability and unaffordability to secured basic and functional literacy. Youth unemployment (aged 15-24) increased from 23 per cent in 2019 to 48 per cent in 2022; almost twice the adult unemployment rate which is at 25.6 per cent. It is estimated that around 50,000 Lebanese youth are new entrants to the labour market each year, yet many are not able to find a job with local firms.
The deprivations of adolescents and youth are increasing in the context of Lebanon’s economic and financial meltdown
Mental health issues are rising with one in three adolescents aged 15-24 reporting feeling depressed and over half reporting that their lives had worsened over the past year. The participation of adolescents and youth is constrained by negative social and gender norms and limited safe spaces for expression, including of participatory approaches in decision making. The youth population (10 to 24 years) currently stands at 1.7 million.
Far more needs to be done to support vulnerable youth across the country and prevent the loss of an entire generation. Lebanon’s policy measures should aim at investing and harnessing productivity gains through enhancing the capacity of its young population, including through adequate policies and educational programmes.
Lebanon’s policy measures should aim at investing and harnessing productivity gains through enhancing the capacity of its young population
These need to be complemented by social and behavioral change and gender transformative policies and programmes targeting disadvantaged youth to improve their wellbeing and enable them to realize their full potential through learning to earning opportunities. This should be done through an integrated package of support consisting from one side of education, skilling, employability, entrepreneurship and protection, empowerment and participation from another side.
Our Key Achievements
The UNICEF Adolescent and Youth programme’s core response to the needs of adolescent and youth in Lebanon focuses on a bottom-up approach comprising policy level strategies such as the TVET National strategic framework and the National Youth Policy; in addition to design and roll out of a holistic and integrated package of services addressing the growing vulnerabilities of young people at many levels.
To do that, we have invested in increasing professional readiness for the most disadvantaged adolescent and youth through providing access to technical and vocational training and innovative skills building programmes, facilitating transition to income generation opportunities, while at the same time empowering young people to become more active members of their community. This was coupled with cash assistance, digital learning and skilling and mental health services.
In 2021, UNICEF reached close to 60,000 vulnerable adolescents and youth with formal and non-formal education opportunities, employment support services, empowerment and engagement activities. This included:
- supporting formal technical and vocational education and training for almost 7,900 young people.
- providing basic literacy and numeracy skills for more than 4,800 young people.
- providing integrated skills trainings for close to 16,600 young people.
- supporting close to 10,000 youths with employment services, on-the-job training, internships, or apprenticeships and access to employment or income-generation opportunities.
- engaging more than 22,000 young people in activities to maximize physical and social well-being, empowerment and civic engagement.