Rafeef is a young Palestinian woman (24 years old) living in the governorate of Hebron in the south of West Bank.she finished her university education in the field of languages in 2018. Rafeef was a volunteer in ActionAid Palestine’s programme of Child Sponsorship. Rafeef believes in the importance of youth participation and volunteerism in building the capacities of youth saying: “voluntary work had attracted my attention to the importance of utilizing the potential of youth in serving and supporting the marginalized groups that suffer from lack of opportunities due to Israeli occupation and other political and economic causes. Voluntary work creates opportunities for youth and breaks the fear barrier among them, enhances their life and professional skills and role in serving their community under current conditions”
COVID-19 crisis forced Rafeef as other youth in the world to stay and work from home due to lockdown and safety and social distances measures. Those measures did not impede Rafeef from continuing her community and youth activism, while they encouraged her to use digital tools to continue her community work and activism. She joined the project of “COVID-19 Youth-Led Digital Engagement” that AAP launched in the end of 2020. The purpose of this project is to leverage the use of technology to support the work of young people in holding duty bearers to account. Through the creation of digital engagement tools, young people will be supported and empowered to access information, analyze data, present evidence, and lead their communities in taking action to create positive change in their communities and empower youth to become agents of change in their communities.
This project has impacted personality of Rafeef saying: “the trainings that we received through this project in the fields of facilitating digital campaigns, collecting and analyzing data, designing surveys, disseminating information and organizing electronic advocacy and lobbying campaigns have enhanced my digital activism and influence on social media to serve my community and raise the demands and concerns of its marginalized groups. They also strengthened my personal skills and helped me to overcome negative energy. For example, designing and disseminating surveys increased my knowledge about the needs of the marginalized groups in my community during COVID-19 and how they are impacted by pandemic and tools that can be used to support them or practices pressures on duty bearers to fulfil their commitments towards them”.
Through the digital platforms created by this project, the Palestinian youth from the Occupied Palestinian Territory (oPt) including Gaza and West Bank are able to meet and discuss despite of Israeli checkpoints separating Palestinian cities from each other and lockdown resulting from COVId-19. Those platforms offered them the opportunity to discuss their common problems and to be introduced to youth influencers in their cities and communities as this discussion enriches exchanging of youth ideas and creating solutions for community Problems.
It is worth mentioning that ActionAid International (AAI) implements this project in six countries that include Palestine, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda and Zambia. The outcomes and results of the project will be used by AAI to support its work with youth in the future after the end of COVID-19. The project targets 50 young people from each country who will be represented by an advisory committee that consists of 5 members with the other participating countries in this project.
ActionAid in Palestine (AAP) is a part of global federation working for social justice and gender equality and eradicate poverty in more than 45 countries around the world. AAP started its work in Palestine in 2007 to strengthen the resilience of Palestinian People as ActionAid believes that they should enjoy their rights to freedom, justice and self-determination. AAP implements a number of programs through its engagement with communities and women and youth groups seeking to empower them and enhance their influential civil and political participation to understand their rights and undertake collective activism to address the protracted rights violations resulting from the prolonged occupation of Palestine. AAP works simultaneously to enhance their leadership capacity and knowledge to practice their citizenship in holding authorities and other duty bearers to account.
For more information, please contact
Coordinator of Advocacy and Communication in Palestine
+972 (0) 595242890
+972 (0) (2) 22 13 137