Digital Transformation Aids in Empowering Youth

Participating in online interactive sessions builds a momentum for youth of young ages

Located in the Northwestern side of Jordan, Belila is a small village in the governorate of Jerash 55 km away on the north of the Capital. With a population of 8.000 inhabitants, most of the available occupations in Belila fall into the governmental and agricultural sectors. It was two years ago, when USAID YouthPower entered Jerash, and conducted its youth outreach activities in BelilaComprehensive School for Females, that is how our friend Isra’a first heard about the Activity. Aspiring to sharpen her interpersonal skills and become a catalyst of change, she enrolled in the various activities of USAID YouthPower, and that was when her journey began.

Isra’a Al Maqableh is 19 years old now; a first year Bachelor's student majoring in Chemical Engineering at Al- Balqa' Applied University. Isra’a reflects back on her experience with the activity: “I was eager to make change, for myself and my community as well, it was really challenging, not because I am a female, but also because of young age”. 

I was eager to make change, for myself and my community as well, it was really challenging, not because I am a female, but also because of young age.

Two years forward, Isra’a have exceeded expectations by participating in almost all of the programs’ activities. She joined the Volunteers Ambassadors Network (VANers), a network of youth influencers with a mission to establish and continue a dialogue between the youth and government officials to highlight local policy opportunities and challenges at the community levels, and find solutions to invest in opportunities offered from youth perspective. Isra’a commented, “Becoming a youth ambassador, and meeting with government officials to positively impact my community has left me feeling empowered, and connected to my community. She then concluded, “I do feel empowered and capable, but to be honest, my young age is the main challenge I am facing right now, I don’t know how to explain it, but maybe being the youngest of my peers is making it harder for me to get more attention.

During March 2020, in response to the COVID-19 global crisis, and in order to continue engaging youth and psychosocially support them, USAID YouthPower rolled out the first wave of its digitized activities under the theme YouthPower Going Digital, utilizing online platforms such as Facebook and available various conferencing applications to conduct interactive sessions, trainings and initiative design workshops. Isra’a participated in one of the interactive sessions. Following the session, Isra’a commented, “It was like magic, suddenly all of the barriers I previously felt concerning my young age evaporated into thin air, I have never been as confident before, I will utilize this positive momentum to advance my interpersonal skills further, even after the crisis is over.”

In addition to Jerash, USAID YouthPower targets 60 communities in Jordan. Working innovatively on empowering youth to act as engaged citizens and productive members of society with the agency to advocate for themselves, and properly prepare them to enter higher education, vocational training and the workforce, leaving behind sustainable, community-based resources and avenues for civic engagement for youth in targeted partner communities.