Omar’s Blog #3: Cooperation and Capacity Building

In a fast-developing society, the urge for computer engineers is high. Very high. If you think about it, we cannot move forward without computer engineers. All our fast credit card payments are impossible without all the people designing the necessary infrastructure. Not only that, the same people need to keep the infrastructure up to date and well protected from various state and non-state actors. We are currently transitioning into the future, mark my words. But Omar, you might ask, why are you telling us this and why is it relevant for team MENA?

I have seen many tech projects created by Palestinians for Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. Both parts of the country face difficult circumstances and a high unemployment rate, despite a highly educated young population. I am fascinated by their resilience and creativity to work with what they have. PalGeeks has shown they can set up a value network made up of an almost equal amount of men and women! I concluded that we need more of these projects in the region.

Last week I introduced you to the team. Carmen and I are focusing on one of the projects we’re working on as a team. Due to COVID-19, we had to change certain plans and projects and find a suitable alternative. We however decided to move forward with work on digitalization in the MENA region. The region has a huge potential for technology-related companies and the youth is highly educated. But the circumstances, due to geopolitical tensions and the corona crisis, make it hard for the current generation to have hope for a future with stability in their daily life. Security is not only about being free of fear from wars or worrying about what to eat every day. Security is also about mental health, having a job, and being able to live freely without stress for finances regarding you or your family.

We decided to team up with an organization called ReCoded, which is active in the Middle East. ReCoded provides boot camps and training in coding for the youth in the region. It gives these people an extra asset to find a job that is in high demand in the times we live in.

Why wouldn’t we do something like that as well? We decided to set up a workshop for about 20 people in the region. We are still working on the project and it is not ready yet, but that’s only a matter of time. Even during COVID-19, we will be able to provide valuable skills to people who can use them well.

The current generation in the MENA region is a generation with which we will be working closely. The Middle East is not as Far East as people might perceive it. It is a direct neighbor of ours. Why should we wait with working together if we can start today? I am fully convinced there is a lot we can learn from youth there and therefore we should team up today and not tomorrow.

I will write more about this project soon. See you next time!

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