The Community Youth Development (CYD) program
The program aims to mobilize young people across the less advantaged communities in Lebanon into youth- led initiatives and empower them to become active agents of change in society. The program offers a training pack for youth on various concepts, skills and tools to help them identify their aspirations, needs, and problems critically, prioritize them, plan and implement advocacy projects to address priority issues. The program encourages youth- led initiatives to initiate a structured dialogue with local authorities over youth priorities and influence their agendas to bear a youth focus. It also creates linkages for youth to network with various stakeholders over issues that affect young people’s lives.
The program has been implemented to date in more than 40 communities across Lebanon either directly by Masar or through partner NGOs or CBOs. It has provided youth coming from different backgrounds a space to meet, exchange experiences, inspire each other, and appreciate diversity, which is a key characteristic of Lebanon. Through the planning and implementation of advocacy projects, youth put into practice the knowledge and skills they have learned in the training workshops, develop a concrete understanding of their communities and their needs and problems, receive recognition by the community, and gain self-confidence and self-esteem.
The CYD addresses youth as the citizens of today, and it empowers them to make their voices heard and acted upon today.
The National Youth Policy (NYP) program
The program aims to have a national youth policy in place, which would improve the living conditions of Lebanese youth through the provision of quality and multi- sectorial services, and ensure their access to decision-making and positions of influence in the public life.
Masar collaborates closely on the National Youth Policy with the “Youth Forum for Youth Policy”, a network of Lebanese youth civic and political organizations. Masar is a member in the Youth Forum and is in charge of its Secretariat since 2011 ().
The work on the National Youth Policy in Lebanon has been initiated by civil society organizations back in 2000, concurrently and in partnership with the establishment of the Ministry of Youth & Sports, and with the support of the United Nations Youth Task Force in Lebanon.
The NYP is an exceptional experience in the Arab region, particularly that young people themselves have set its recommendations and submitted them to the Ministry of Youth & Sports, demanding its ratification by the Cabinet. Those concerted efforts resulted in the endorsement of the youth policy document by the Cabinet in April 2012, as one package boasting diverse provisions. It was adopted shortly later by the Youth & Sports Parliamentary Committee. The official launch ceremony was held under the auspices and in the presence of the President of the Republic of Lebanon during the same year.
The NYP document, endorsed in 2012, comprises 136 recommendations divided into 5 sectors: migration and demographic characteristics, labor and economic participation, social integration and political participation, education and culture, and health.
Currently, Masar is working with a wide array of stakeholders and decision makers at various levels to implement the national youth policy, notably on: the production of relevant materials, empowering young people to advocate their rights, organising meetings with decision makers and publishing output through the media.
The National Youth Policy ensures Welfare and Influence for youth.
The “Human Rights for Palestinians in Lebanon” program
The program aims to advocate the endorsement of human rights for Palestinian refugees in Lebanon to ensure they have a dignified life until they return to their homeland, and to enhance opportunities of communication between Lebanese and Palestinian youth for the best interest of both peoples. The program operates at 2 levels as follows:
- At the community level: organizing strolls or study visits and dialogue sessions between Lebanese and Palestinian youth in many areas across Lebanon and in the Palestinian refugee camps. Through such encounters, Lebanese and Palestinian youth learn about each other’s reality and have thematic discussions, which help to break the prevailing stereotypes.
- At the policy level: drafting policy recommendations and presenting them to decision-makers with the aim to improve the living conditions of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon.
Palestinians in Lebanon are not foreigners. They are refugees, and forbidden from returning to their country. They contribute to the Lebanese economy if the laws allow it, and their blue ID should be the equivalent to a work permit.
Development through Art
Masar believes that art is a vehicle to achieve development. Through theatre, film making, mime, and music among others, youth express themselves better, break their shyness, and feel more confident to engage in the public life.