Hivos believes that when people are given a chance to live in freedom with dignity and choice, they are able to live a life full of potential and have better chances at finding a job, they can take control of their own lives, whilst contributing to the greater good of humanity. Coworking for Sustainable Employment (CSE) is based on this conviction, especially regarding young people and women. However, for young communities in the Middle East and North Africa, the path towards individual and economic fulfilment is paved with obstacles, which is why we have chosen to work in this particular region.
In this difficult environment, we strongly believe that change starts with inspiring people who are creative, passionate and courageous. Indeed, when these three qualities meet, new solutions can be found to persistent global problems. The CSE approach is thus fully in line with Hivos’ values and methods.
The programme has engaged with frontrunners who inspire others, connecting them to networks, capital and support. In this context, these agents of change can experiment and innovate, critically reflect on their work, learn from each other and start new partnerships. They also receive the necessary financial and human support to scale up their initiatives. Nonetheless, the ultimate objective of Hivos and the frontrunners we support is for them to become self-sufficient, which is why the business training is crucial in their economic and individual development. This particularly applies to our work for women’s empowerment. Our goal is to ensure that women and girls have control over their lives and can fully and equally participate in social, political and economic domains.
Moreover, expressing one’s opinion can be a real challenge in countries that provide limited space for creative expression. As a result, young people, marginalised groups, and women tend to remain silent. We support the creative industries so people can express themselves feely and openly and increase their independence through this sector. Pluralism, dialogue, innovation, jobs and civic engagement are more likely to thrive in such an environment.
CSE has thus supported young people who work together to shape their own lives and society, developing their individual and economic independence, fostering freedom of expression, job creation and women’s empowerment. Mideast Creatives innovates for social change.