While the Arab Spring has highlighted the urgent need to address the economic obstacles that prevent young people from being fully integrated into their societies, it has also opened “civic space” for them to participate in shaping the futures of their communities. Sustainable, lasting social change requires grassroots involvement and participation, and Silatech believes that the long-term viability of the youth agenda is strengthened by the engaged participation of young people in solving the challenges that affect them directly.
Silatech’s Civic Engagement Unit was established toward the end of 2012 in recognition of the importance and urgency of nourishing Arab youth’s sense of social responsibility and their ability to be agents of positive societal change, while at the same time developing their skills and enhancing their employability.
The Civic Engagement Unit focuses its activities around the following:
- an unconventional values-based leadership program (Qasd Responsible Leadership Program);
- a program (Wajibi: My Education, My Community) that focuses on mainstreaming civic engagement practices and activities on university campuses in the Arab region;
- raising awareness of and building the capacity of social entrepreneurs and youth-serving organizations; and,
- organizing multisectoral consultations and other events that engage all sectors around resolving the challenge of youth economic empowerment and inclusion.