Where We Work: Middle East and North Africa
Across the MENA region - from North Africa and Egypt to the Gulf and the Levant - Peace First supports innovative young leaders to find and implement solutions to social problems. We’ve supported young people to develop sustainable agriculture solutions, create peer-to-peer mental health support systems and advocate for the rights and inclusion of immigrants. Our community of young social innovators is spread across the region and represents nearly every country, and we support their transformative changemaking work through special programs such as our regional Accelerator in Dubai in Fall 2019 and region-wide Hackathon in Summer 2020.
The experiences of incarceration alone are not the only punishment people recieve. For too many, no matter the offense they committed, employment opportunities are extremely limited or nonexistent. This is especially true for women in Egypt coming out of incarceration, something Hana couldn’t help but notice. Seeing the stigma these women were facing motivated Hana to learn more about the experiences of these women and better understand the situation they were being released to. For Hana, these women were victims of an injustice that was compounding on itself; their inability to find proper employment was forcing them into more and more dangerous situations.
“You are a girl, not a boy. You can’t travel alone.” “Sorry, you are a fresh graduate who doesn't have enough practical experience, so we can’t consider you for this entry level job.” “Unfortunately, we don’t provide any workshops or training in your city.” These are all sentences that were repeated endlessly to Arwa, a young woman from Upper Egypt, when she was looking to begin a career after graduating from college.
Fellow in Residence & Regional Manager, MENA
Mohamed is a mentor, coordinator and advocate who has devoted himself to youth policies, peacebuilding, social entrepreneurship and community development. Mohamed is MCW's Young Leaders Conference coordinator and the founder of Agent of SDGs enterprise, which aims to build up young people as "SDGs Agents and Advocates" to achieve Egypt's 2030 agenda. He is also a certified civic education instructor from the Goethe-Institute Cairo and the Center for Applied Policy Research (CAP) at the Ludwig-Maximilian The University of Munich.
As a youth trainer, Mohamed works with young people to help strengthen their skills in debate, active citizenship, civic engagement, sustainable development, and social entrepreneurship. Mohamed received the Lotus scholarship from USAID to study political science in British University in Egypt and University of California, Davis.
Yousra is an artist and a youth activist who is dedicated to the development of underprivileged communities in her region through social entrepreneurship, technologies, and dialogue. Inspired by the hundreds of young people in her marginalized community, Yousra participated in several peace-making projects focusing on gender-based violence, social discrimination, bullying and lack of opportunities. Yousra also leads a project that empowers kids to resolve injustices in their local communities and practice changemaking.
In addition to her youth-focused work, Yousra has several years of professional experience in supporting start-ups, social enterprises and SMEs to accelerate their growth and leverage their success in the MENA region’s biggest incubators and innovation hubs. Besides her B.Eng. degree in computer engineering from Jordan University, she holds a diploma in conflict management from Fryshuset-Sweden. Yousra is also a member of the UN office of counter terrorism youth unit working with a global team of changemakers on designing international peace-focused youth programs and materials.