01.06.2012 - UNESCO Office for Iraq

Fighting Youth Unemployment through Education

UNESCO Iraq office, in cooperation with the Kurdistan Regional Government, launched, at the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, the project “Fighting Youth Unemployment through Education” – another UNESCO’s initiative to offer educated youth a real chance to benefit from their technical skills and education and build their own career.

Funded by the government of Japan, this project is designed to tackle youth unemployment by fostering entrepreneurial skills for unemployed Technical Vocational and Educational Training (TVET) graduates. The project will provide 400 male and female graduates with entrepreneurship training that will introduce them to modern self-management techniques, and enable them to set up and run their own businesses. Selected upon submission of their business plans, developed during the training with the support of certified trainers, 200 of these graduates will be awarded a dedicated loan by the Kurdistan Regional Government, specifically by the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, to start up their small businesses. UNESCO's experts will provide consultancy and ensure close follow up during the first months of activity of the newly established businesses. The short-term courses foreseen by the project are expected to produce concrete rapid results, therefore offering a unique opportunity to TVET graduates who will be able to guarantee their future and to have their own self-managed businesses.

Speaking during the event, Mr. Ken Mukai, deputy Chief of Mission and Minister Counselor in the Japanese Embassy in Iraq, highlighted the project as another effort from the Japanese people to support youth in Iraq. In his speech, the Director of UNESCO Iraq Office, Mr. Mohamed Djelid praised this pioneering initiative for its “promotion of entrepreneurship among young people and creating conditions for them to fulfill their dreams and build their futures”.

In addition to the short-term results created by the project and the significant impact it will have in improving the life conditions of individuals, in the longer term the success of these small enterprises will eventually create more employment opportunities for youth, and contribute in reducing poverty and improving the global economy of the Kurdistan Region.

Arab countries have the highest regional youth unemployment rate in the world reaching 23.4%, which is almost four times the global average; Iraq is no exception. The high unemployment rate of educated youth highlights the need to rethink the way education is delivered. UNESCO’s interventions focus on complementing education with programmes designed to respond to the country's economic needs and to the specific demands of the labour market.

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