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Youth economic security, skills and empowerment: Learning from positive outliers among youth affected by forced displacement in Jordan

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Youth economic security, skills and empowerment: Learning from positive outliers among youth affected by forced displacement in Jordan

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A collaborative investigation into wellbeing outcomes for displaced adolescents in Jordan.

A collaborative investigation into wellbeing outcomes for displaced adolescents in Jordan.

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Youth economic security, skills and empowerment: Learning from positive outliers among youth affected by forced displacement in Jordan

  1. 1. Youth economic security, skills and empowerment: Learning from positive outliers among youth affected by forced displacement in Jordan July 2022 Zaatari 2018 Innovation Lab © Herwig/ UNICEF/ 2018 Nicola Jones and Jude Sajdi
  2. 2. Outline of presentation 1 • Introduction: The Jordan context, GAGE and the positive deviance approach 2 •Research conceptual framing, sample and methods 3 •Findings: Broader economic (in)security—and how some youth beat the odds 4 • Implications for policy and programming
  3. 3. Please note that the photographs of adolescents DO NOT capture GAGE research participants and consent was gained from their guardians for the photographs to be used for GAGE communications purposes. Introduction UNICEF and NRC VOCATIONAL training in Zaatari Camp © Herwig/ UNICEF/ 2018
  4. 4. Jordanian refugee and labour market context One-third of those living in Jordan are refugees. On a per capita basis, Jordan has the second highest number of refugees globally. There are over 2 million registered Palestinian refugees—most, not all, have citizenship. Those that lack citizenship attend UNRWA schools, are not allowed professional work, and are very likely (<30%) to be poor. Of the 1.3 million Syrians, half are registered refugees. Most have been there a decade. They attend government schools, are limited by law to only a few sectors of work and are primarily (~80%) poor. Jordan has the world’s 3rd lowest rate of female labour force participation: 16%. Nationally, 67% of males are in the labour force. Young people access to work is extremely limited. The youth unemployment rate is 37% (51% for females)—and 49% of those aged 20-24 are neither working nor in education.
  5. 5. Jordanian educational context Access to basic education varies by nationality: more than one-tenth of non- Jordanians (primarily Syrians) are not enrolled, while nearly all Jordanians are. Gaps at the secondary level are even larger: 75% of Jordanians but only 30% of non-Jordanians are enrolled. By age 15, approximately one-fifth of Palestinian students have already left school. Uptake of TVET is low—university education is prized despite graduates’ high unemployment rates. Gender gaps favour girls across nationalities and levels.
  6. 6. Research conceptual framing, sample and methods Syrian girls in Azraq camp © Herwig/ UNICEF/ 2018
  7. 7. Gender and Adolescence: Global Evidence (GAGE) By finding out ‘what works,’ for whom, where and why, we can better support adolescent girls and boys to maximise their capabilities now and in the future. We are following the largest cohort of adolescents in low and middle income contexts
  8. 8. GAGE’s conceptual framework—Economic Empowerment
  9. 9. The positive deviance approach  Approach is used alongside ‘big data’— which provides the context  Approach uses detailed case study ‘thick data’ to identify the strategies that enable positive deviants to ‘beat the odds’
  10. 10. GAGE longitudinal research sample
  11. 11. Jordan sample breakdown Nationality: Syrian: 3,090 Jordanian: 642 Palestinian (Gaza Camp): 304 Other: 65 Vulnerable Groups: Adolescents w/ disabilities: 417 (10%) Married adolescents: 190 (5%) Gender: 10-12 Girls: 1,108 Boys: 1,065 15-17 Girls: 1,006 Boys: 922 Location type: Camps: 1,348 ITS: 308 Host communities: 2,445
  12. 12. Positive deviance research 66 IDIs with positive outliers aged 15-24 4 types of positive deviants: • University students on scholarship • TVET students • Small business owners • Participants in economic empowerment programming 14 FDGs with outliers aged 15-24 15 IDIs with parents of outliers 14 KIs in relevant sectors Phase 1: August 2019-February 2020 •IDIs and FGDs with adolescents and parents •KIIs with key stakeholders Phase 2: November and December 2020 •Follow-up interview with 16 adolescents to explore the impacts of COVID- 19 on their lives Phase 3: January- May 2021 •Follow-up interview with 16 adolescents to explore the impact of COVID-19 on their lives, and KIIs with key stakeholders and employers
  13. 13. Findings: Broader economic (in)security—and how some youth beat the odds Vocational training at Azraq Camp© Herwig/UNICEF/2017
  14. 14. Adolescents' aspirations are high 73 10 8 4 Professional work Skilled labour Homemaker Retail  Boys’ aspirations are more realistic than girls’ ‘I have an ambition to have my own workshop and business – for car mechanics.’ (15-year-old Syrian boy) ‘Dreams are not even present. You can think about, but they are hard to come true…you don’t have money to achieve your dreams.’ (19-year-old Syrian boy) ‘In the future I would like to become a chef ... If I told anyone at home about my dream, they would laugh at me and think I’m not serious.’ (15-year-old out-of-school Palestinian girl)  Some girls are afraid to even voice their aspirations  Refugees acknowledge their dreams are dreams
  15. 15. But their access to education and learning is limited At baseline, enrolment varied:  95% of 10–12-year-old girls  92% of 10–12-year-old boys  65% of 15–17-year-old unmarried girls  54% of 15–17-year-old boys Jordanians> Palestinians>Syrians Only 9% of ever married girls were enrolled in school. At baseline, learning was low and variable:  52% of girls could read a short story—vs 39% of boys  44% of girls could subtract—vs 35% of boys Jordanians performed the best  Of girls, Syrians lagged 50% could read and 40% could subtract  Of boys, Palestinians lagged 22% could read and 28% could subtract At baseline, truancy rates were high—with adolescents missing school approximately 1 out of every 9 days.
  16. 16. What limits education and learning? Our research highlights several main reasons that adolescents are denied an education:  Conflict and displacement—esp. for older adolescents, who do not see a route back into education.  Poverty--amplified by adolescent concerns about fitting in with peers (in terms of attire, pocket money to socialize). ‘My 13-year-old doesn’t go to school. I can’t afford it.’ (Syrian mother) Poverty Amplified by adolescence Labour market realities Conflict and displacement ‘Teachers punish those who do not wear school uniforms, but how can a girl explain the reason for that in front of the other girls? She would be embarrassed.’ (younger Syrian girl) ‘My brother graduated college and he’s been unemployed for a year and a half now…. It is not only my brother, most of his friends graduated and are unemployed.’ (Jordanian 17-year-old boy) ‘I tried when I first arrived in Jordan… They refused and said I couldn’t go to school… I felt hurt and I never went again.’ (older Syrian boy)
  17. 17. What limits education and learning? Social norms—that prioritise girls’ reproductive roles and boys’ productive roles.  Some girls leave school to marry—most leave school because they will marry & family honour is paramount.  Lack of/unaffordable transport forces families to prioritise protection over education for girls.  Boys are expected to contribute to household economic needs—but have limited employment options. ‘Parents let their boys drop out of school starting from sixth grade so they can help them with work.’ (12-year-old Syrian girl) ‘In my family girls don't complete their education. They only study until grade seven or eight. The girl in the end [is intended] for her husband's house. These are our customs and traditions.’ (17-year-old Syrian girl) Norms for boys Norms for girls
  18. 18. Adolescents’ access to work skills and work is also poor  64% of older boys had had paid work in the last year  Due to higher poverty rates, Syrian boys are the most likely to work  Boys’ work is intermittent and poorly paid—an average of 10.6 days in the last month at $2.39/hour  Refugees reported significant unmet need—given restrictions on their work  Of those that had, most had had short courses offered by NGOs (most often cosmetology aimed at refugee girls and women) ‘If you tell the young people in general that there will be training in carpentry or a craft, you will find more than half of people in the camp come to you because of that.’ (KI, empowerment programme)  Very few adolescents had taken part in skills training courses  11% of older girls had had paid work in the last year  Most girls’ work is unpaid –due to gender norms that restrict them to home to protect family honour
  19. 19. Adolescents’ access to cash and social protection lags  Due to cultural age hierarchies  Due to household poverty (36% of Jordanians vs 22% of Syrians)  Girls were disadvantaged compared to boys (22% of older girls vs 28% of older boys)  Syrians are eligible for WFP vouchers and UNHCR cash—but values are low and cash wait lists are long  UNICEF’s cash helps support education—but targets only those in basic education and has been severely impacted by funding cuts  UNWRA’s budget has been slashed—leaving Palestinians without a safety net ‘They sent a message that there was a shortage in aid … Now there is nothing.’ (Syrian father) ‘Everything is directed to Syrians, and we have been marginalised.’ (Palestinian mother) At baseline, few GAGE adolescents (24%) had controlled any cash in the last year. Social protection helps but is too limited given need.
  20. 20. Individual interest, commitment and flexibility Family support (especially for girls) Inspiring and supportive teachers Finance What shapes outliers’ choices? ‘He wanted to study medicine and honestly, we did not want to deprive him from his ambition. He wanted to do that since he was young and worked a lot by himself. The difference between him and his siblings as well as the children of this community is that he worked really hard on his own.’ (Palestinian mother of her 21-year- old son, studying medicine) ‘My parents encouraged me to go out and learn so I can build self-confidence, because they will not live forever to protect me… They kept us in school as the education is the future of the woman.’ (19-year-old Syrian girl in EE programme) ‘Our teacher…was also sending us videos and educational material… After the course, he kept following up with us.’ (20-year-old Palestinian female in mobile phone repair class)
  21. 21. Similarities and differences among the types of youth outliers University scholarships •Exceptional individual work ethic •Commitment to contribute to better future for their family and community •Strong commitment by parents to value of education including financial sacrifice •Teachers as role models who had overcome odds to get higher education TVET training • Individual resilience - initial disappointment (due to death, exam failure, poverty) channeled into acquiring new skills and adapting future goals • Support by parents for girls to pursue non- stereotypical career paths • Supportive tutors and mentors – during TVET course and beyond Economic empowerment classes • Individual interest in self-improvement and empowerment, esp. adolescent girls • Parental support for adolescent learning • Mentoring by teachers to continue to develop potential Micro- entrepreneurs • Individual financial ambition esp. to support family • Individual entrepreneurial interest in a particular field – e.g. robotics or catering • Lower levels of family support
  22. 22. What impacts do programmes have? ‘You are encouraged to aspire towards excellence before of the environment around you – the students and the professors.’ (19-year-old Syrian boy at university) ‘I repair my relatives’ mobiles and ask them for a small fee… this is a skill that will enable me to become economically independent in future.’ (20- year-old Palestinian female in TVET) ‘The relationships with my friends became stronger than before.’ (16-year-old Jordanian boy in EE course) ‘When I came here [the TVET college], I encountered multiple challenges but these situations provide me with a lot of strength… So, this helped to strengthen my personality.’ (17-year-old Syrian girl in TVET) ‘Studying is what made me go out of the box and complete my education, learn new things and see a new society. I see success stories at the university and learn from them.’ (18-year-old Palestinian girl at university) New learning and skills Exposure to positive role models New mindset Better economic conditions Enhanced social networks
  23. 23. Impacts on girls are transformational ‘My ambition now is not [to find] a man. I am not waiting for anyone to fulfil my dreams, I will fulfil them myself.’ (19- year-old Jordanian girl at university) ‘Previously, I didn’t like to go out so much, but the programme encouraged me to go out and to do many things. It encourages people to get out of home and to think about new things. I benefited from life skills so much… I go wherever there is an opportunity.’ (17-year-old Syrian girl, in tailoring class) ‘My cousins used to make fun of me by saying: “You can’t work! You need to drop out!”… But when I finished the [plumbing] course and got the toolbox and so on... they liked it. They no longer told me to stay home…’ (23-year-old Palestinian woman in TVET)
  24. 24. What stands in the way of outliers’ aspirations? Funding ‘My son studies in Jerash University … They try to pressure us to pay the fees. They prevented the students from entering the exams rooms. They are about to graduate, and they did not allow them to take their tests.’ (Palestinian mother) ‘I don’t have enough money to buy my own equipment, so I have to rent the equipment.’ (19-year-old Jordanian boy, plumber) Discrimination ‘You feel that sometimes they hate the Syrians…Our education is not like their education … The Jordanian students are excellent.’ (20-year-old Syrian woman at university) ‘We cannot work in medicine and engineering. The companies are not allowed to hire Syrians…We worked hard to get the scholarship, but we cannot know the result.’ (21-year-old Syrian man, at university) Gender norms ‘No one would accept that a little girl works in a shop, to place trust and give me their items to work on.’ (19-year-old Jordanian girl, tailor) ‘We cannot open a shop where we women are working alone. If I open a shop, I need a man to talk to the customers.’ (24-year-old Syrian woman with a home catering business)
  25. 25. Implications for policy and programming Syrian boy at vocational training in Zaatari Camp © Herwig / UNICEF 2018
  26. 26. Support basic education 1 Provide cash or vouchers to support education for low-income students through secondary school: ensure amounts are sufficient to cover costs of school supplies, uniforms, and transportation. 2 Provide tutorial support after school and in community venues: make programming open to all. 3 Support out-of-school young people to keep learning: scale up informal education and build bridging programmes that support young people to go back to school if they wish. 4 4. Provide school- and community- based programmes that teach life-skills and support young people’s psychosocial wellbeing: ensure programmes address discriminatory gender norms and ideally mix nationalities to foster social cohesion. 5 5. Provide parent education courses: ensure courses include awareness raising about the importance of education, address gender norms, strengthen parent-child communication and provide information on both university and TVET pathways.
  27. 27. Support higher education 1 Develop awareness raising programming aimed at raising aspirations for education: include local role models, especially targeting girls and refugees. 2 Provide Syrian adolescents and parents with guidance about the Jordanian educational system: beginning no later than lower secondary school, offer sessions at school and in the community about gateway exams and academic versus vocational pathways. 3 Scale up tertiary-level scholarships and interest-free education loans: pair support with awareness raising sessions that support young people through the application process. 4 Provide transport vouchers to help low-income tertiary level students—especially girls-- access education. 5 Work with the MoE to reduce tertiary level educational fees requires of Syrians, stateless Palestinians and other refugees.
  28. 28. Support work skills and self-employment 1 Promote TVET starting in intermediate school—to ensure that families are aware and to shift attitudes that undervalue this pathway. 2 Support young people’s access to work—strengthen links between secondary schools, TVET, universities and the Ministry of Labour. 3 Think big by thinking small—use economic empowerment courses to help young people find and enter niche markets that en masse could provide work for many. 4 Grow skillsets—teach soft skills, starting in basic education, and ensure that post-secondary students and those in EE programmes are provided the financial and business skills that help them find or create gainful employment. 5 Offer logistical support--help young people apply for work permits, conduct market assessments and access credit on favourable terms. 6 Work with the GoJ to remove barriers to refugees’ formal employment.
  29. 29. Support girls and stateless Palestinians 1 Programme for girls—by providing transport vouchers and empowerment programming that raises aspirations and strengthens their communication and negotiation skills. 2 Invest in shifting gender norms—work with girls’ natal and marital families to raise awareness about the importance of girls’ access to education and work (and mobility and decision-making). 3 Expand girls’ options--scale up employment-related courses that are considered culturally acceptable for females (e.g. graphic design, computer technician, management). 1 Address fatalism—pair awareness raising with hands on programming, targeting boys and their parents and using local role models, to show what is possible. 2 Work with the GoJ—to remove the barriers that are responsible for stateless Palestinians’ social and economic exclusion.
  30. 30. Publications ‘Some got married, others don’t want to attend school as they are involved in income- generation Social protection in humanitarian contexts: how can programming respond to adolescent- and gender-specific vulnerabilities and promote young people’s resilience? (unicef-irc.org) Youth economic security, skills and empowerment: Learning from positive outliers among youth affected by forced displacement in Jordan ‘Each one of us had a dream’: An exploration of factors supporting gender-responsive education and economic empowerment pathways for refugee youth in Lebanon For more resources see: https://www.gage.odi.org/publications/ Adolescents in Humanitarian Crisis (forthcoming June 2021)
  31. 31. What do adolescents need to achieve and educational and economic success?
  32. 32. Contact Us WEBSITE www.gage.odi.org TWITTER @GAGE_programme FACEBOOK GenderandAdolescence About GAGE:  Gender and Adolescence: Global Evidence (GAGE) is a nine-year (2015-2024) mixed- methods longitudinal research programme focused on what works to support adolescent girls’ and boys’ capabilities in the second decade of life and beyond.  We are following the lives of 18,000 adolescents in six focal countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

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