The MENA Adolescent and Youth Hub created by the MENA UN:NGO group on young people is a centralized platform providing access to resources and feedback on key issues of relevance to young people in 20 countries throughout the Middle East and North Africa. The site is also the primary data and resource hub for Pillar III, the adolescents and youth of the No Lost Generation (NLG) initiative, a concerted effort by donors, UN agencies, NGOs and governments to ensure that children and young people affected by the crises in Syria and Iraq have access to education, protection and opportunities to engage positively in their community and society. With its emphasis on bolstering adolescent and youth engagement, the Hub plays a key role in supporting NLG’s third pillar focused on adolescents and youth. Ultimately, the Hub seeks to support and empower young people and those working with young people with the resources to positively shape the present and the future of young people in the MENA region.
At the 2017 Evidence Symposium, practitioners, policymakers, and young people presented the latest evidence and tools related to adolescents and youth and proposed the creation of an online repository to host these resources. The UN:NGO group, a regional interagency group that supports adolescents and youth in the Middle East and North Africa region, agreed to share up-to-date resources with the public as part of a broader effort to shed light on the importance of programming for young people and best practices and tools for doing so. Thus was born the idea for a regional resource repository focused on adolescents and youth.
Since then, the content for the MENA Adolescent and Youth Hub has grown and will continue to evolve to meet the changing needs of young people, though its overarching goal remains constant: to inform and influence policymakers and development practitioners working on key issues of relevance to adolescents and youth. At the moment, the Hub offers two main features that advance this objective. First, the Hub provides a one-stop-shop of evidence and tools related to young people in the region, a wide-ranging repository encompassing multiple sectors – from manuals on youth engagement in programming to reports on protection and presentations on employment. Second, it includes secure access to a discussion platform for the Regional Adolescent and Youth Advisory Majlis (RAYAM). The RAYAM is envisioned to serve as a sustainable and inclusive regional platform for young people from the MENA region, particularly young people whose voices are rarely heard and those who are civically engaged and demonstrate leadership in their communities and among peers. The online platform managed by RAYAM, provides an avenue where young people can share their voices; for example, through discussion forums, webinars, group chats, surveys; to amplify issues of relevance to young people in MENA and ensure their voices influence decision-making processes on issues of concern to them.