Fostering Young Palestinian Jerusalemites active citizenship towards meaningful civil and political participation

The current socio-economic and political situation in East Jerusalem is dire: lack of political representation, little economic opportunity and potential for growth, limited access to services, weak law enforcement, numerous efforts to wipe away their heritage and identity, settler and police violence, and a restrictive construction and zoning regime paired with home demolitions and forced evictions – all of which creates a context that leaves little perspective for the Palestinians in general and the youth in particular.

While youth constitute a major share of the society and while there is a range of organizations in East Jerusalem dedicated to youth work or targeting youth in one way or another, they hardly appear as civic actors and are barely represented in decision-making processes.

Palestinian youth and young adults living in East Jerusalem do not currently use their potential as active citizens and there still a major gap between desired and actual participation. Past initiatives that started promising in their attempts to achieving a more inclusive and participatory political role  proved short-lived. Given the fact that today’s youth are the future there is an urgent need to counter this trend.

Building on the importance of youth participation, the project strives to explore the reasons and obstacles for their non-engagement and how the capacity of young Palestinian Jerusalemites as civic actors can be developed, how they can be encouraged to become engaged with central issues of (their) concern, what skills are needed to equip them to make their voices heard, and what active steps are needed to give them the space to be their own agents of change.