Equipping Young Peacemakers initiative spotlight: Shughel Shabab
written by EYP leader Daniella Khalil
Many of the AMENDS Global Fellows have initiatives pushing back against unfair stereotypes and biased media depictions of the Middle East and North Africa: check out Ashley Lohmann’s talk on her Beyond the Bombs website, for example, or Becca Farnum’s curriculum asking Does the Telly Lie? I first got to know about AMENDS through another MENA youth network who came together because of this same issue.
During a conference on “Youth, Peace, and Security” in Jordan in 2016, a group of young peacebuilders found common ground in their dismay over how the region is portrayed by Western media. We were frustrated with how the incredible positive work of the region’s many changemakers is frequently overshadowed by news stories overly focused on the negative. So we decided to own a new narrative, creating an advocacy campaign called “Shughel Shabab” – which is Arabic for “the work of the youth”. The project launched 7 June 2017 at the UNDP Regional Office in Amman, Jordan.
Shughel Shabab started as a social media platform to share the diverse work of young leaders throughout the Arab states, showing the world that there is so much more to this region than the stereotypes they seem comfortable believing. However, our mission soon expanded. Though we knew many amazing projects existed around the Middle East, identifying them was difficult because of one basic issue: communication. It became clear that while youth changemakers had the skills to create positive impacts in their local communities, they struggled with showcasing and amplifying their work for larger audiences. So our Shughel Shabab project that had started as a one-time advocacy campaign soon became a full-scale platform for training young people in various matters pertaining to the Youth, Peace, and Security agenda. Over the past several years, these have included awareness-raising sessions about Resolution 2250, workshops on engaging the community, and trainings to develop young leaders’ organisational capacities.
Equipping Young Peacemakers is the newest of our training initiatives, and I am thrilled to be part of the program team. EYP is our first major collaboration with the AMENDS Global Fellows (though our co-founder, Hezha MohammedKhan, was a 2017 AMENDS Delegate – check out her AMENDS Talk!). Through Equipping Young Peacemakers, we are making sure youth activists in the Middle East and North Africa have the tools necessary to develop their projects. We also want them to have their voices heard by and resonate with people around the region and across the globe — which is why we’ve launched this blog series highlighting our participants’ local initiatives.
For my part, I promise that Shughel Shabab will continue with its mission to amplify the voices of youth leaders, telling the many good stories of people and changemaking in MENA. I look forward to creating more spaces for young peacemakers to learn from each other and elevate the work they are doing. Together, we can maximise our impact.
Learn more about Shughel Shabab:
Learn more about Equipping Young Peacemakers:
Watch the EYP Program Launch: