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ZAATARI CAMP- MAFRAQ – On Thursday, August 12, 2021, a delegation of the French Embassy to Jordan celebrated International Youth Day (IYD) at Zaatari camp with presence from UNFPA and Questscope managements, and the Syrian Youth Team. The celebration took place at UNFPA/ Questscope youth center, titled “A Space for Change”.

“A Space for Change” center was launched in Zaatari camp in 2015. It is funded by UNFPA through the generous support from the French embassy, and it is managed by Questscope. UNFPA- Jordan in collaboration with Questscope support an inclusive and an open space led by 27 Syrian refugee male and female youths from the camp. The purpose of the center is to ensure that marginalized youths are not left behind. Moreover, the center focuses on informing the youths of their sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), introduces them to gender-based violence (GBV), youth peer-to-peer education and youth empowerment. The center provides youth with a participation platform through youth-led initiatives. All new youth mentors participate in a one-week mandatory training course on SRHR and GBV topics.

While maintaining safety and social distancing, adhering to COVID-19 Government’s precautionary measures, the celebration hosted an Open Day event filled with sports activities, along with a theatrical performance by youths from Y-PEER Network. Additionally, the youth collectively prepared a painting that reflected their sense of empowerment with the help of the center.  

Mr. Ma’en Rayan, Questscope’s Country Director stated that “Every year, on International Youth Day, we celebrate the dream, we celebrate hope; and we celebrate the youth. Throughout all the difficult times, these youths are still striving and working hard to keep the hope going. They are not only our path to a great future, but also in the midst of hardships and wars, they are the key for more stable communities. We believe in the power of youth, and the power of their dreams”.  

“I think there is no better place to celebrate IYD other than this youth center. Jordan provided many examples on innovation in Humanitarian Response, and I am not exaggerating if I were to say that this center, which is led by Syrian refugee youth is one of the contributors to this success,” said Bouchta Mourabit, UNFPA Humanitarian Coordinator. “We are looking forward to continuing this collaboration with Zaatari youth for years to come. However, this would not be possible without the generous support of our donors like the French embassy whom we are honored to have with us, today,” he added.

‘’Youth, indeed, represents a living force that is full of aspirations for the future. It should be empowered and protected in order not to waste its energy and potential. We are proud of this partnership that gave place to this inclusive and innovative center for Syrian youth especially during this difficult time of the pandemic and in a particular setting of a camp where their needs might have been overlooked.’’ Added Mrs Emilie Desormiere the representative of the French delegation.

The UNFPA/ Questscop youth center, “A Space for Change” is a proof of a great partnership between UNFPA and Questscope, providing a safe, welcoming space for young people to establish meaningful relationships and conduct activities that rely on their leadership to promote their positive development, wellbeing, and empowerment. By shaping and contributing to the very programs from which they benefit, youth participate in their community as agents of change.

It is noted that every year on August 12, the world celebrates International Youth Day, with various activities, and events. However, due to COVID-19 precautionary measures, the number of participants were limited. Nonetheless, the youth component is an essential pillar of UNFPA-Jordan’s agenda, and UNFPA is committed to delivering a world where every young person’s potential is fulfilled.