Adolescents Development and Participation

We advocate for the voice of adolescents and youth in Syria through partnering with them and ensuring they have equitable access to safe and participatory opportunities, services and enabling policies

UNICEF/Syria2019/Muhannad Al-Asadi

Challenges

Young people make up around one-third of the population in Syria, including adolescents(10 to 19 years) and youth (20 to 24 years.)

Adolescents and youth, an age group significantly impacted by the protracted conflict, have had to prematurely assume adulthood responsibilities, missing out on many opportunities especially in learning and development.

We believe that empowering young people as rights holders and preparing them for active citizenship and adulthood initiates a cycle of opportunities that brings positive outcomes for both the individual and the community.

The ADAP programme works closely with the Child Protection, Education, Health and Nutrition, Social Policy and WASH programmes within the ‘No Lost Generation’ (NLG) framework and our Strategic Plan (2018-2022), promoting the engagement of adolescents and youth, to ensure young people reach their full potential.

We are faced by a number of challenges while trying to reach young people who need our support, including:

  • The lack of positive engagement opportunities resulting from conflict, such as family and social structure fragmentation caused by displacement and safety concerns. According to a study by Mercy Corps, three in four adolescents in Syria are not able to participate in activities outside their homes due to safety concerns their parents or caregivers have. Also, adolescent girls and young women are particularly affected by isolation due to conservative social norms in some locations.
  • The absence of positive choices, which has led to negative social consequences such as child labour and early marriage, forcing adolescents and youth to assume adulthood responsibilities and exposing them to risks of exploitation and abuse.
  • The economic, institutional and infrastructural effects of the conflict which have contributed to increased unemployment rates in youth, who have also been struggling in schoolto-work transitions. The increase in unemployment is also caused by skill-mismatch as young people miss out on learning some cognitive skills such as communication, teamwork and problem solving that are essential for work.
  • Limited data on young people in Syria that leads to the unavailability of sufficient evidence for programme design and hinders the ability to measure the impact of adolescents and youth programmes.
  • The absence of a ministerial unit dedicated for adolescents and youth, limiting the scope for advocacy on relevant policy matters and affecting the availability of youth strategies.
  • A Lack in the required level of technical capacity of national partners in terms of ADAP programming.

Solutions

We believe in the importance of engaging young people as partners and encouraging them to act as agents of change, that is why we work on measures to overcome the challenges affecting the progress of our Adolescents and Youth through:

  • Building the capacity of adolescents and youth through civic and social participatory opportunities, including youth led-initiatives, Sport for Development, digital engagement (e.g. through Voices of Youth platform), Participatory Action Research, seed funding, entrepreneurship and mentoring.
  • Increasing young people’s knowledge about their rights through community based technical and vocational education and trainings (TVET), citizenship guidance, life-skills trainings and health education.
  • Partnering with our regional office to develop data collection and monitoring tools to assess the impact of our interventions and overcome data limitations, aiming for improved programme design.
  • Partnering with government entities, UN agencies and Civil Society in ‘evidence generation’ ensuring up-to-date relevant data is available as a foundation for making adolescents visible at a national level
  • Working with our partners toward more inclusive policies and strategies prompting positive engagement of young people.
  • Capacity development activities for strategic partners based on needs and keeping our vision in perspective.

Resources

Find more information on this programme at our Research and Resources section

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