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Entrepreneurship can help to improve the future of young Syrians and Jordanians

In Jordan, unemployment is one of the greatest threats to the future of young people. One solution may be that they have to create their own jobs. Photo: Oxfam IBIS.

The approximately 1.3 million Syrian refugees in Jordan are challenging for society and the economy, which is already under pressure from high unemployment among young men and women.

Young Syrians especially have few immediate prospects of joining the labour market and are especially vulnerable because many have only very rudimentary education and therefore have limited opportunities to get a job.

Oxfam IBIS is addressing this challenge in a project in which young adults in Jordan are trained and coached in entrepreneurship and mental resilience so that they can improve their prospects of creating a brighter future for themselves in both Jordan and Syria if they are able to return home one day.

“We are struggling to counteract the inequality experienced by the people affected by the crisis in Syria. All too often, the potential of young people is not recognized and they are not given the opportunity to create positive change for themselves and society. This project is about giving young people the opportunity to contribute positively to society in both Jordan and Syria,” says Thomas Oxholm, Partnership Advisor, Oxfam IBIS.

Helping 150 young adults to develop their business ideas
The project focuses on 18- to 30-year-old Syrians and Jordanians affected by the conflict in Syria, who have high unemployment.

The Novo Nordisk Foundation has awarded a grant of DKK 965,155 for a project in which Oxfam IBIS and the Jordanian aid organization I-Dare for Sustainable Development will help 150 young adults to integrate and to contribute to the economy by either creating their own job or getting a job.

This will be achieved through extensive training and skills development, especially in the creative sector and in entrepreneurship. Oxfam IBIS will make a space available (C-Hub, operated by I-Dare) in Amman and provide teachers to help them develop their own ideas into business plans that are oven ready.

The project will also connect these young adults to the labour market, increase their self-confidence and promote gender equality. Finally, the project will use social media to engage and inspire other young people to aspire for a better life.

“The physical spaces will become incubators for ideas through which these young adults can develop products and boost their independence and the courage to take chances so they can realize their ideas. There are many facets to the help that we provide and hopefully this will help the young people develop many products and business ideas,” says Thomas Oxholm.

Self-confidence is key to breaking into the job market
Boosting young people’s confidence is an important aspect of Oxfam IBIS’s work with young people. According to Thomas Oxholm, it is not just about sending the young people out into the world with a good idea and a business plan, but also with the belief in their own abilities and the resilience to implement their ideas, even in adversity. Believing in one’s own abilities can also be the entry ticket to the labour market.

“We focus on young people who have an idea but lack the tools and framework to realize it. They be willing to create something, but they are also vulnerable and need support to unleash their potential. In this way, we must support them both in terms of entrepreneurship, but also in relation to their mental strength,” says Thomas Oxholm.

The grant to Oxfam IBIS is one of 11 grants the Foundation recently awarded for humanitarian initiatives and emergency aid in disaster areas. Read more here:

New call for applications

The Foundation has opened a new call for applicartions for humanitarian initiatives and emergency aid in disaster areas. The deadline for applying is March 20. Read more here.

Further information

Christian Mostrup, Senior Press Officer, [email protected], +45 3067 4805