Economic Empowerment


Programme Statistics

  • 13 years
  • Over 100,000 youth
  • Over 50 projects
  • 43% men
  • 57% women
  • Over 10,000 internships
  • 220 start-ups supported
  • Over 12 partnerships with universities and colleges
for more information 

Since 2004, Sharek Youth Forum has assumed a pioneering role in the design and implementation of programmes to enrich youth skills and experiences, and to increase their competitive advantage in the labour market. These successes led to the establishment of the now independent Palestinian Center for Youth Economic Empowerment (CYEE) in 2011.

Structural barriers to economic growth in Palestine, primarily caused by the Israeli occupation, have led to exceedingly high unemployment rates, with young people most severely impacted. Currently 1 in 4 young people in Palestine are unemployed. Sharek believes that gainful employment is a basic human right and underpins all other socio-economic rights. We therefore take a human rights- based approach to our interventions, aiming for long-term structural change. With a recognized gap between the skills learned in traditional education and the actual needs of the labour market, it is clear that young people need options.

That is why we work closely with the private sector and higher education institutions to bridge this gap. At the same we encourage youth to consider non-traditional economic options, such as pursuing vocational training or establishing their own start-up. When there are over 20,000 graduates every year and the market is only able to absorb 5,000, it is time to think outside the box. We place a special emphasis on young women, noting that women are the most marginalised in the labour force.

Through our economic empowerment programmes, we:

  • Develop the capacity of Palestinian youth, providing them with technical and life skills\
  • Help them to access gainful employment
  • Create new start-ups and enterprises
  • Expose them to new ideas and opportunities through guest lectures, field trips, and experiential learning

We do this through a mixture of employability and entrepreneurship trainings, experiential learning, and career guidance.

Most critical to our approach is that we focus on young people holistically, taking into account their interests, experience, skills, and ambitions to assist them in developing a long-term career plan. We do not see young people as insignificant in the economic structure, but as essential proponents to growing and developing the Palestinian economy to reach its potential.