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What do Yemeni youth want?

Wael Zakout's picture
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During my first visit to Yemen, I met with a group of young people in the capital, Sana'a. The purpose of the meeting was to learn more about how the youth are thinking; what is important to them; and how the World Bank can help them achieve their goals. 

I was amazed at the level of their understanding of priorities, the immediate and short-term ones. Their enthusiasm was overflowing with an expression of unconditional love to serve and develop Yemen, their country. They expressed their full readiness to contribute to the national dialogue and work to build the new civil state if they were given the opportunity to do so. This is what I heard from young people about their priorities:


  • Eradicate corruption and nepotism

    • Revive the economy to create jobs
    • Improve the education system and improve the quality of education
    • Improve services to the people in vital sectors such as electricity, water and health

      The youth, like me, are fully aware that some of these aspirations will require a lot of work and time to achieve. But what is important now is to know these aspirations and take the first steps to achieve them.

      Hana, for example, runs a non-governmental organization, and spoke about her dream to contribute to the work programs for youth. She talked about the modest World Bank support through our small grants program which gave her the opportunity to work with other civil society organizations to educate Yemeni youth about qat.

      In my meeting, and for just a few hours, we discussed how the aspirations of those young people in the room may become a reality. But now I want to use the technology of blogging and Facebooking to reach a much bigger room, to hear views from many, many more Yemeni youth, about how the World Bank can help them achieve their goals and aspirations!


    Submitted by ahmed shaibani on
    I really appreciate the hard work, thanks.

    I am the president of a group of youth that work on few projects in Aden. We are called AYAA (Aden Yes Alumni Association). All of the member have been to the US on an exchange program called YES. Our goal now that we came back, its to help our communities here in Aden through volunteer work.

    Submitted by New Day :) on
    “To Make A Difference” Yes - That's What We Want! I’m proud of the Youth priorities & determination, questioning us about our ideas on what youth wants & needs is a tremendous thing - it develops and encourages a sense of greater ownership and creates an expectation of things to come.

    Getting that input is extremely important for any youth programming decisions and in identify parameters and objectives of the potential project(s).

    We “Youth” are those who will eventually be involved in the programs. Thank you for the immense inspiration you provided with your blog. Sincerely, New Day.

    Submitted by Saleem Salih on
    I hope Mr Wael that you're not making such meetings and discussions (with a group of young people) whom reflected here as representatives of "US", Yemen's youth, in selectivity based on your own personal judgement or guidance (orientation as you may call) because we did not hear about such meetings, not even through our organizations, OR maybe your "COUNTRY OFFICE TECHNICAL TEAM" is making extremely and very carefully selection for the (group of young people) to meet with you, just as usual selection processes for participation in all WB activities during the past few years. Will you please tell us, as young people from Yemen, what criteria do you and your team follow in selection for participants, whether in this blog or any other WB participatory activity to hear the VOICE of the Yemen's Youth. Thanks

    Dear Saleem,

    I am glad you are interested in World Bank activities and that you wish you were included in my meetings. While I would love to meet with as many youth in Yemen as I can, from a practical sense, I could not do so because of the time limitation.

    I am planning to meet more youth groups during the upcoming months, and I do hope to meet more youth when I visit cities and provinces outside Sana'a.

    Submitted by Anonymous on
    While the concept of blogging and facebooking to reach a wider audience are great, the World Bank should keep in mind that less than 2-3% percent of the population actually has access to the internet (a prohibitively expensive luxury most Yemenis cannot afford). Traditional means of consultations should not be replaced by emerging social media technologies in a country like Yemen, rather the two should be combined for greater outreach. Perhaps using TV and radio to broadcast the purpose of consultation workshops, venues, etc. should be explored.

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