Learning to earning: for youth by youth

The third annual No Lost Generation Tech Summit

UNICEF and NetHope/2019/ Esmail
01 July 2019

In the wake of the principles and initiatives promoted by Gen-U worldwide and across Regions,  the third  No Lost Generation Tech Summit in Middle East and North Africa (MENA) was held in Amman 25-26 June 2019, bringing together nonprofit, private sector, educators, policymakers, as well as youth and communities to seek out the most promising solutions that leverage technology and partnerships to connect learning to earning. Focusing on this key challenge facing adolescents and youth in the region, the summit was designed to catalyse scale-up of existing tech-enabled initiatives that empower vulnerable adolescent girls and boys, and young men and women, to transition from education into dignified work.

With half of its population under 24 years old, the MENA region has the highest youth unemployment rates in the world – with young women most severely affected. Bridging the gap between learning and earning is one of the main challenges that young people face: conflicts have disrupted education for millions of children and young people, pushing many into exploitative work in order to support themselves  and their families. For those that do access learning, more investement is needed to strengthen the quality and relevance of education across the region. New, dignified employment opportunities are much needed: between now and 2030, an additional 39 million young people will enter the workforce in the region. It is therefore urgent that we increase the number and quality of opportunities for adolescents and youth and ensure that their voices are heard.

The third annual No Lost Generation (NLG) Tech Summit was a two-day event co-led by UNICEF and NetHope, with the support of a multi-stakeholder steering committee and under the Patronage of Her Royal Highness Princess Sumaya bint El Hassan, President of the Royal Scientific Society of Jordan and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Princess Sumaya University for Technology. With a total of 250 attendees, including 75 young participants from the region, the summit saw an unprecedented level engagement of young people, who were involved in every aspect of the event from design to execution and follow up. In addition to shaping the discussions for the Summit young people and presenting on the main stage, young people led on communications, taking on the roles of social media managers, videographers and designers.

“This summit is a step towards the future for us young people in the region. I have been waiting for this opportunity to showcase my tech skills to companies and institutions. Helping to organise the summit has empowered me to work with my peers to find solutions to our common challenges together.”

Salam Freihat, 25, youth participant in the summit

“By taking part in this event I have made connections with people from various backgrounds and I have seen how technology can help youth to develop their skills and find new opportunities. As a young journalist, the discussions here have really opened my eyes to new possibilities to address the problems that young people face - and the new connections will be helpful in my career.”

Shahed Jrajreh, 24, youth participant in the summit

The Tech Summit featured 9 promising tech-enabled solutions selected from over 100 submitted from across the region, and offer a diverse set of opportunities and resources such as online learning, mentoring, co-working spaces, internships, and freelance work among other initiatives. The outcomes of the Summit include a set of commitments from a range of stakeholders to contribute to both scale-up and replication of the promising solutions showcased, as well as promoting an enabling environment in which opportunities for young people to learn and transition to earning can be strengthened and scaled sustainably.