Sharek Youth Forum was originally launched as an initiative of the United Nations Development Programme/Programme of Assistance to the Palestinian People (UNDP/PAPP) in 1996. The success of the initiative led to its institutionalisation as a private, non-partisan, non-profit, non-governmental organisation (NGO).
Our primary philosophy centres on the principle of involving youth as active participants within society. Our name, Sharek, the Arabic word for 'participation,' reflects this fundamental approach to the organisation's work. We amplify the voices of Palestinian young people, giving them a much needed space for expression in Palestinian society. To this end, we provide a space for Palestinian youth to meet, develop ideas, think creatively, implement community projects, and become better organised in order to meet the needs of the community and to experience participatory group processes within civil society.
Sharek's key areas of intervention are the civic, economic, social, and cultural sectors of Palestinian society. We focus on empowering young people economically, giving them the skills they will need to both access and succeed in the labour market. Our interventions also encourage active citizenship, giving young people both the tools they need to demand greater representation and provision of services from decision-makers, and enabling them to take on leadership roles themselves, within their communities. Finally, we strategically cross-cut advocacy into all of our programs, lobbying for the change and dismantling of structural barriers which adversely affect young people in Palestine.