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From December 4-6, 2018, forty-one Young Researchers from Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Iraq convened in Amman, Jordan to participate in the 2018 MENA Regional Participatory Action Research Workshop. Throughout the 3-day workshop, Young Researchers compared the experience of implementing PAR in their respective countries, analyzed preliminary data collected from 2,971 young people ages 10-24, and identified key issues and priority areas to share with national and regional stakeholders.

This PAR study focused on three key research areas related to young people: (1) hopes and aspirations, (2) health and well-being, and (3) positive contributions. Following data analysis to determine which youth issues are common across all four countries, Young Researchers voted on the last day of the workshop for the key issues they will present to regional policymakers in 2019. In partnership, Young Researchers and policymakers will then agree on plans of action to tackle these issues.   

To empower young people to achieve their hopes and aspirations, Young Researchers called for revising educational curricula, combatting “wasta” and patronage, and developing the skills and capacities of youth in the MENA region.  

To improve young people’s health and well-being, Young Researchers highlighted the need to address smoking, mental health – in particular the impact of online addiction, and the lack of access to health care. 
To spur young people’s positive contributions to their communities, Young Researchers identified the need to increase opportunities for young people to engage and participate in society, address young people’s financial conditions as a barrier to their positive engagement, and confront corruption in their communities.  

Following the workshop, Young Researchers returned to their countries with plans to implement data-driven local initiatives in their community as well as to prepare for the national and regional consultations with stakeholders in early 2019.