Youth Economic Empowerment Initiative - Aie Serve
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Youth Economic Empowerment Initiative

Background

Lebanon has severe economic problems; its national debt as a GDP ratio is one of the world’s highest.  Its currency has devalued by more than 80% against the USD in a little over a year, leading to strict capital controls, rapidly rising commodity prices, many businesses’ failure, and a significant increase in unemployment and poverty. Around 50% of Lebanese live under poverty lines (World Bank, 2019), including youth who are university graduates who cannot find a job or have lost their job since late 2019. Not only is the devaluation that is alarming, the rate of the inflation jumped from 15% to more than 150% according to the Central Administrative Statistics, meaning that the economy is not working. COVID-19 has resulted in overstretched medical and economic infrastructure in Lebanon, exacerbating the crisis further. A massive explosion in Beirut port in August 2020 destroyed much of Beirut’s port storage and surroundings, taking with it lives, houses, businesses and creating a traumatic experience for Beirut’s residents.

According to the LFHLCS (Labour Force and Household Living Conditions (LFHLCS) 2018-2019 survey), Lebanon’s youth unemployment rate was 23.3 percent, more than double the general unemployment rate of 11.4 percent. Among university graduates, the unemployment rate was even higher, at 35.7 percent. The LFHLCS had the Lebanese labor force at 1.79 million people, of whom 1.59 million were employed, and 203,600 were unemployed.

Purpose

The purpose is to empower the youth to have a decent, equitable, and sustainable life.

The impact of Lebanon’s compounded crises is hard to split apart, whether it being economic meltdown, currency devaluation, loss of jobs, Beirut port explosion, political standstill, or COVID19. The common factor is that they all impact youth’s financial ability to have a decent and equitable life.  We aim at tackling the accentuated challenges the youth are facing by assisting them in having livelihood to sustain themselves and their families, whether by helping youth get trained on how and where to look for opportunities, connecting startups with funders, or securing a freelance role for some of them.

Goals

 

  • Support youth to earn a living by giving them access to freelance, part-time or full-time positions.
  • Training youth on employability skills via online workshops, access to available related videos, material, and guides.
  • Empower youth who have entrepreneurship potential to start their own business by providing them with seed funding, advice from trusted mentors, and support to establish their legal entity.

Theory of Change

IF there are economic opportunities for youth;

AND we ensure access to those opportunities;

AND training youth on employability skills or providing them with the needed resources;

THEN youth can have a higher chance of securing income and maintaining their livelihood.