© Qudra Programme

Enhancing skills development measures for youth

The first regional Madad Skills Innovation Lab in Beirut

© Qudra Programme

“We started discussing major issues on a country level while exchanging information and learning about the situations in different contexts. The exercises were really important and helpful in narrowing our broad issues to two to three specific items. We can now go back to our countries with new ideas on skills development for the youth and see them translated into projects. Excellent organization.”

This is a statement by Ghadeer Khuffash, the Chief Executive Officer of Jordan Education for Employment (JEFE), one of the participants of the Madad Skills Innovation Lab that took place from 28 till 29 March 2017 in Beirut, Lebanon.

This first-of-its-kind regional Madad Lab was organised by the Qudra programme, which aims to strengthen the resilience of Syrian refugees, IDPs and host communities in response to the Syrian and Iraqi crises. More than 75 experts for skills development from different sectors and countries, including Jordan, Lebanon, North Iraq and Turkey, participated in it.

The two-day Skills Innovation Lab provided a platform for the experts to discuss and share their organisations’ common goals, challenges and success stories. The main topic was how to address and develop the skills of youth amongst the Syrian refugees, host communities and IDPs. The Skills Innovation Labs aim to collaboratively develop ideas for change and new initiatives in the field of skills development. This event featured country presentations, team exercises, plenary discussions and sessions for designing new models for skills development of youth by making use of various unique facilitation tools and techniques. It was moderated by facilitators experienced in skills development in international contexts.

© Qudra Programme

After the two days, the Innovation Lab had achieved its key objectives of providing a safe platform for experts for skills development, advancing in-depth dialogue between them and mutual learning from each other. It generated new ideas that participants will now take forward to their own countries and institutions. One example of a new innovative approach came from the North Iraq/KRI country team: They proposed having greenhouses in refugee camps that are managed by those living in camps. This way, the camp inhabitants can grow fruit and vegetables in the greenhouses and sell them on the local markets in the camps and host communities. The greenhouses are an environment-friendly solution for providing grocery products, jobs and small incomes for the camp inhabitants.

The first Madad Skills Innovation Lab constituted a key step in a 12-month innovation lab period of the Qudra programme. By gathering partners and experts from the field in country teams, encouraging them to share experiences and to reflect on national contexts, it paved the way for enhancing regional multi-stakeholder collaborations that drive sustainable development and innovation in regard to the Syrian crisis.

© Qudra Programme

In his keynote remarks, Ryan Knox, the Programme Manager for the EU Regional Trust Fund in Response to the Syrian Crisis – The Madad Fund at the EU Delegation Beirut, emphasised the importance the EU Madad Fund attaches to the Skills Innovation Lab. Accordingly, the Lab presented opportunities for different actors to meet for the first time and share their views, reflect on lessons learnt from the field and identify ways to move forward in skills development.

At the end of the two-day regional workshop, participants have evaluated and expressed their satisfaction with the format of the meeting, and its contents sharing their enthusiasm for the next steps of the Lab.

The Qudra Programme is a regional action financed by the EU Regional Trust Fund in Response to the Syrian Crisis, the ‘Madad’ Fund and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) seeking to strengthen resilience for Syrian refugees, IDPs and host communities in response to the Syrian and Iraqi crises. GIZ is a leading implementing agency of the action in cooperation with Expertise France (EF) and the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID).