New center to support youth empowerment
By RIYADH: ABDUL HANNAN TAGO, ARAB NEWS STAFF
Published: Mar 19, 2012 00:44 Updated: Mar 20, 2012 19:05
According to recent statistics from the Ministry of Economy and Planning, nearly 70 percent of the Saudi population are aged between 16 and 30.
The Princess Al-Anood Center for Youth Development (Warif) was established to provide services to meet the needs of Saudi youth and work for their welfare.
Members of Warif will benefit from the rapid development and cultural movement taking place in the country.
Warif was inaugurated officially on Saturday by Prince Sultan bin Fahd, member of the board of trustees, at the foundation headquarters in Riyadh. The event was attended by a number of princes, senior officials and various media.
Simultaneously, the event has witnessed the important signings of a number of cooperation agreements with various local and international organizations that work for the welfare of the youth including one with the General Presidency for Youth Welfare (GPYW) that was signed by the presidency’s head Prince Nawaf bin Faisal bin Fahd.
Expressing his gratitude on the cooperation agreement, Prince Nawaf said he was happy with the responsibility given to him by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah to help young people in the Kingdom. “We all believe in the importance of developing the capacity of the youth of this country as statistics show that they represent 70 percent of Saudi society,” the prince said.
He said several social studies have proven the future of any nation and society are young people, especially given their use of modern technology and social networking sites.
Another agreement was also signed with radio station UFM, allowing Warif to sponsor the station’s various initiatives promoting the experiences of young people.
The third signing was with the Initiative of Children and Young People in the Middle East and North Africa.
According to the organizers, the advantage of this particular partnership is that it attracts one of the best international organizations and bodies working with young people and delivering programs that provide solutions to unemployment and financial problems among young people using local expertise.
Other important cooperation agreement was signed with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), represented by Dr. Riyad Musa Al-Ahmad.
This strategic partnership will study the actual work of volunteers in the Kingdom and submit a national report. It will also implement a three-year plan based on the outcomes of the national strategy for young people in Saudi Arabia and make use of the best international experiences in volunteering work.
Speaking on the occasion, Youssef bin Othman Al-Huzaim, secretary-general of the Princess Al-Anood Philanthropic Foundation that runs Warif, said the sons of late King Fahd and grandsons of Princess Al-Anood have been respectful to their parents, and become role models to young people.
Al-Huzaim said the new center focuses on the concept of partnership in order to prepare young people, especially as the Kingdom’s population is now 22 million and expected to rise to 40 million by 2040.
“Our young people will make mistakes when they try new things out. By correcting them they will gain the experience and skills that prompt them to be able to solve their problems on their own,” he said.
Outlining Warif’s programs, he said the center is specialized in developing and rehabilitating youth and enhancing their participation in charity and volunteer work and encouraging them to embrace initiatives to make them leaders.
It also develops initiatives to promote a culture of volunteerism among young people such as maintaining and cleaning mosques. There are also programs to combat drug addictions, where young people are coached to raise awareness about the dangers of drugs in schools and universities in the country.
The center also has an English course for participants to learn the language and meet other young people weekly.
Pharmacy students and graduates can volunteer to work at pharmacists.
Warif produces programs that allow young people to work with traditional media channels as well as new media. The partnership with UFM radio gives young people the chance to talk about personal circumstances and challenges in their lives and how they overcame them.
Warif also produces a national report on volunteering work with the help of experts and research in addition to public opinion polls.