By Maysam Alhadidi, Senior Programmes Officer at Generations For Peace, and Shahd Almahameed, Programmes Coordinator at Generations For Peace
“Globally, one in five young people are NEET: Not in Employment, Education or Training and three out of four of young NEETs are women.” Throughout Generations For Peace’s Code for Jordan Programme, we employ our peacebuilding tool “Empowerment For Peace” to equip programme participants, including young female leaders, with the hard and soft skills needed to enter the workforce whilst engaging them in a diverse atmosphere. The participants concluded the programme by creating three technical solutions through applications that addressed local issues facing their communities.
The pilot programme kicked off in 2020, the same year COVID-19 hit our planet. The programme was forced to adjust and respond to the pandemic, whilst still maintaining its original goals. On World Youth Skills Day, an opportunity to celebrate and pay tribute to the resilience and creativity of youth throughout the pandemic, we are highlighting how Heyam, a 29-year-old avid volunteer from Mafraq and a participant in the Code for Jordan programme, got involved in helping her community amidst COVID-19.
Like many other young people who joined local initiatives to support their communities when the virus hit Jordan, Heyam felt pulled to get involved. Realising the many psychological effects that resulted from the pandemic and the consequent increases in stress, anxiety, fear of losing loved ones, staying physically far from friends and family out of social responsibility, and the early curfew hours, she decided to step up and be a part of creating a sustainable solution.
Led by her belief that sharing daily struggles and experiences together as a community would contribute to the betterment of the current situation and inspired by her participation in the Code for Jordan Programme, she created a virtual support system via an easily accessible application. She drafted a proposal for her idea, an application that creates a virtual community with chat features and categories (such as parents, infected patients, people who lost loved ones, students, people who lost their job, etc.) so community members can virtually get in touch with those facing similar situations. As she explains, “I first came up with the idea when I saw many of my friends going through a lot because of COVID-19, however, I got the courage to act on it after the programme.”
Using the skills gained from the Code for Jordan Programme in combination with her passion for helping her local community, Heyam began developing her idea and working to create this application. She hopes it will help to bring together those who may be struggling in her community and find a sense of hope amidst the uncertainty of the pandemic and inspire others to think creatively and help support their community in whatever means they can. Now, she is applying to different grants opportunities to support her idea and continue the journey to giving back to her community. She encourages youth, both in Jordan and around the world, to use their skills to make a difference as well, especially amidst the pandemic.