Jordan’s youth are the country’s future, and they are expected to play a critical role in ensuring that national efforts to achieve the country’s “demographic dividend” continue. The demographic dividend is the economic growth potential that can result from shifts in a population’s age structure, typically when the share of the working-age population (15 to 64) is larger than that of the non-working-age population (14 and younger, and 65 and older), as is the case in Jordan. To that end, the Abt-led USAID Jordan Communication, Advocacy, and Policy (JCAP) Activity, in collaboration with the Higher Population Council (HPC), is empowering Jordanian youth to make decisions related to family planning,
JCAP developed a participatory and interactive training program dubbed Shabab Al Fursa or “Youth of the [Demographic] Dividend.” The program is based on existing JCAP modules, including the youth population/family planning/gender guide; the peer-to-peer education guide; We Are Social Leaders; and Recreation, Accommodation, Fitness, Food, Aspiration, Health, Expenditure, and Education. The training program aims to enable youth to take part in national investment efforts in the demographic dividend by designing and executing entrepreneurial initiatives within their communities. These efforts address five areas of concern: population growth, women’s empowerment, unemployment, entrepreneurship, and water and energy.
The program’s leadership consists of a steering committee comprising representatives from several organizations, including JCAP.
In April and May 2018, the program trained 50 young men and women between the ages of 18 and 29 on population-related issues. The training introduced participants to concepts such as autonomy, and explored topics related to reproductive rights, life planning, the impact of population growth on economic development, and the empowerment of women, with a focus on economic empowerment and entrepreneurial skills.
“The Shabab Al Fursa program is in line with the Royal directives on the importance of continuous collaboration with young people and the investment in their education and training, all of which are intended to empower them to face development challenges,” said HPC Secretary General, Eng. Maysoon Al-Zoubi. “The program acknowledges youth’s important role in improving the country’s present and planning for its future.”
In the coming months, JCAP and HPC will seek funding sources to support additional youth community initiatives.