What do Yemeni youth want?
During my first visit to Yemen, I met with a group of young people in the capital, Sana'a. The purpose of the meeting was to learn more about how the youth are thinking; what is important to them; and how the World Bank can help them achieve their goals.
I was amazed at the level of their understanding of priorities, the immediate and short-term ones. Their enthusiasm was overflowing with an expression of unconditional love to serve and develop Yemen, their country. They expressed their full readiness to contribute to the national dialogue and work to build the new civil state if they were given the opportunity to do so. This is what I heard from young people about their priorities:
- Revive the economy to create jobs
- Improve the education system and improve the quality of education
- Improve services to the people in vital sectors such as electricity, water and health
The youth, like me, are fully aware that some of these aspirations will require a lot of work and time to achieve. But what is important now is to know these aspirations and take the first steps to achieve them.
Hana, for example, runs a non-governmental organization, and spoke about her dream to contribute to the work programs for youth. She talked about the modest World Bank support through our small grants program which gave her the opportunity to work with other civil society organizations to educate Yemeni youth about qat.
In my meeting, and for just a few hours, we discussed how the aspirations of those young people in the room may become a reality. But now I want to use the technology of blogging and Facebooking to reach a much bigger room, to hear views from many, many more Yemeni youth, about how the World Bank can help them achieve their goals and aspirations!