At present, the world community has limited options for responding to humanitarian crises. It’s time to engage more the youth in building plans in order to create a collective commitment of key actors to ensure that the priorities and rights of communities around the world affected by disaster, conflict, forced displacement, and other humanitarian crises, are informed and meaningfully engaged during all stages of planning and action. The goal ought to be to not only fund, research, and address youth’s needs in crisis settings, but also to ensure they are part of leading those responses.
The High Atlas Foundation (HAF) alongside the agencies of the United Nations, the International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF), the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and Qatar Red Crescent (QRC) all together participated in MYCHA program organized by Reach Out To Asia. It is a program of Education Above All Foundation (EAA), an organization established and existing under the laws of Qatar that works to create access to quality education for young people and to shape the development of their communities.
MYCHA is is a capacity-building program designed for young people in the Middle East and North Africa to support them as engaged partners in Humanitarian Action. MYCHA also provides knowledge and skills on how to plan and carry out small-scale social and community development projects in emergency and post-crisis environments. The program hosted 210 youth participants (53% of them were female) from 15 Arab countries. Everyone proposed a development project that can be funded and implemented in one of the Arab communities. MYCHA focused on many important points that can positively contribute in helping the youth to implement their projects/initiatives based on a participatory way:
A - The International Humanitarian System and its Actors (OCHA):
OCHA reported that they stand at a critical point in history. Already at the beginning of 2018 they have faced the largest humanitarian crisis since the creation of the United Nations. Without collective and coordinated global efforts, people risk starving and succumbing to disease, stunted children and lost futures, and mass displacements and reversed development gains. Only in MENA region there are such serious crises such as: - Yemen: 18.8 million Internally displaced person (IDPS) and 10,3 million in acute need; and - Syria: 6.5 million IDPS and 5 million refugees. Now the agency took a new way of working that aims to offer a concrete path to remove unnecessary barriers to such collaboration in order to enable meaningful progress. Achieving this will be through involving youth in decision making and partnerships among: UN agencies, International and local NGOs, private sector and civil society actors, governments and alignment, and where possible between humanitarian and development processes.
B - Steps to organize a humanitarian action initiative:
To build and implement a development project or a humanitarian action, it’s important to go through these steps:
1 - Develop the idea based on a participatory approach that involves the beneficiaries, and examine the idea of work through the follow questions: Is it feasible and technically possible? Is it applicable? Is it desirable by the people and the donor? What are the expected benefits and the collateral impacts?
2 - Plan, which comes by the beneficiaries’ determining the purpose and the objectives; list the tasks to be performed and detail the budgets.
3 - Evaluate the feasibility of the work, options, and partnerships; identify a network of knowledge that can be used to accomplish the work, as well as build an organized work plan.
4 - Implement, which comes through an operational plan that arranges the tasks to be carried out.
5 - Follow-up the work progress, which helps in:
- Evaluating and demonstrating progress in achieving the goals to ensure that the need is met.
- Improve decision-making on plans of action and how the team works (success factors, difficulties, identifying useful / useless ways, etc.).
- Empower and motivate volunteers and supporters.
- Ensure accountability for key stakeholders (community, friends, supporters, financiers, etc).
The High Atlas Foundation introduced one of its main programs with youth in Morocco that managed by a Moroccan youth; Sami's Project which is dedicated to working directly with schoolchildren in rural areas. HAF also presented its future visions, one of which is to grow organic fruit trees within the schools to supplement their incomes, as well as to focus more on improving infrastructure, especially drinking water systems and bathrooms.
Errachid Montassir HAF representative at MYCHA, met with Mr. Essa Al Mannai the executive director of Reach Out TO Asia (ROTA), regarding an upcoming collaboration between the Education Above All Foundation and HAF, in order to enhance high quality education for rural schoolchildren in Morocco through initiatives starting in June 2019.
Morocco and all the participant countries are wonderfully contributing in expanding the humanitarian action in Africa and Asia.