Presentation on theme: "More than 60% of the Palestinian population is under the age of 25, and the Local Democratic Reform program implemented by CHF International with funding."— Presentation transcript:
More than 60% of the Palestinian population is under the age of 25, and the Local Democratic Reform program implemented by CHF International with funding from USAID is harnessing this youth energy through the Youth Shadow Local Council initiative. The project focuses ensuring the development of a sense of citizenship at a young age, through participating in a wide range of community development initiatives and problem solving so these youth become effective leaders in their adult years. In the picture above you see the 11 members of the Illar Youth Shadow Local Council with representatives of the Local Government. Illar YSLC 1
The LDR program is working with 13 youth councils across Palestine. The one in focus, the Illar youth council was formed due to the impetus undertaken by the Illar local government. Other than giving youth a voice, this partnership also assisted in extending the perceived role of the local government in Illar beyond mere service deliverers to catalysts and facilitators of the local development process through positive, sustained and responsive engagement with their constituents. Recognizing the future of a stable and independent Palestine will come from leaders dedicated to serving citizens at the local level; Mayor of Illar Sufian Shadeed who was a champion of the youth council acknowledges the active role of youth in their community development. Illar YSLC 2
After several meetings between youth representatives, local government staff, the Mayor’s office and local civil society organizations, Mayor Shadeed officially endorsed the launch of the YSLC process in Illar. Youth Councils are a dramatically new concept for Palestinian Local Government Units (LGUs) and community acceptance was an issue, particularly resistance to the idea of involving young women in governance. But if the program was met with skepticism early on, today it has the support of mayors, representatives, communities and the youth themselves, as they have seen the impact and success of their Councils. Illar YSLC 3
The YSLC project provides youth an opportunity to play a leading role in their communities and learn more about civil governance. The Mayor explaining the concept in schools and colleges in the town of Illar and galvanizing youth to get involved and run for youth council elections. Illar YSLC 4
Mohammad Nairat, CHF’s Civic Engagement Officer illustrated election procedures to youth participants in Illar. Illar’s preparation to form a youth council began in early January 2011 with workshops to explain the election procedures and youth starting to campaign to win seats on the council. Training was held for nominees on election procedures, electoral campaigns, and concepts of democratic governance. Illar YSLC 5
LDR undertook extensive coordination with local organizations and the LGU leading up to the Election Day of January 30, In this picture one sees students who ran as candidates in the Illar YSLC elections presenting their individual proposals through wall posters. They also gave presentations to their fellow student constituents during their campaigns. Illar YSLC 6
Recognizing the Illar youth local governance program was unique, Palestine TV interviewed Wa'ad, a female elected YSLC member. Wa'ad had a comprehensive program for the residents of Illar. She covered the cultural, educational, entertainment, volunteering, and the networking aspects. The civility of the campaigns and the candidates’ programs were especially distinguished, ranging from pledges to improve the environment, reaching out to youth, and enhance their opportunities for a prosperous future. Illar YSL 7
The 38 YSLC candidates, 23 of which were female, were presented the opportunity to compete on January 30th for the 11 seats of the anticipated youth council in Illar. Above is a picture of Illar’s youth enthusiastically submitting their ballots for their favored candidates. Illar YSLC 8
9 On Election Day, a total of 205 youths turned out and voted, representing a high-turnout rate of 83% of the General Assembly.
Following the end of the voting period, the campaign committee counted the votes for each of the nominees. In total, eleven youth were voted to the youth council, of which 6 were male and 5 were female members. The election process itself was smooth with the help of the observation committee, representing the Ministry of Local Government and other line ministries and institutions. Illar YSLC 10
Realizing a successful campaign process had ended, Mayor Shadeed announced the election results to an eager community. In the following week, a meeting was held for the YSLC to distribute the seats and create specialized committees (media, projects, finance, etc). Illar YSLC 11
On 15 February 2011, the newly elected members of the YSLC pursued a vigorous program of capacity building activities, starting with an exchange visit with its YSLC counterpart in Qalqilia to learn from their experience and share successful practices. A one-year plan has been prepared and adopted by the YSLC, gaining the endorsement and support from the LGU. So far, with substantial support from the municipality, the Illar YSLC has been effective in immersing themselves in their community. Illar YSLC 12
Illar YSLC 13 As council members, these youth have developed plans for municipal improvements that they can implement, in addition the youth council has worked with the larger community and the LGU to organize events and volunteer activities, such as cleaning roads, painting walls or providing services for the elderly and disabled. Organizing these activities supports the youth in developing their leadership skills and building on their talents. One of the more successful activities undertaken by the Illar youth council was the cultural heritage event titled “Old Days in Illar”. Over 260 people attended the cultural event and participated in its different activities, ranging from sports, folklore dancing, poem recitals, and showcasing cultural heritage products.