Signing Partnership
Refugees: Priorities vs. Realities "Project"


July 27, 2023, | Amman, Jordan — In order to better understand the impacts of refugee policy across the Middle East and North Africa, 
Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom (FNF MENA) has partnered with Anera and ILearn to launch Refugees: Priorities vs. Reality. The project aims to identify the aspirations of refugee youth and align them with the realities of their host countries while enhancing their self-reliance and empowerment.

The project includes a regional survey of youth across a half dozen countries in the Middle East and North Africa, and will publicize the findings to inform and guide policy and change makers.

Yasmeen Alnajdawi, project coordinator for the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom MENA region, says,

“Our vision is to create a world filled with freedom, justice, and opportunity that allows all individuals to feel entitled practicing their rights regardless of their background or circumstances. Through our Refugee project in the MENA region, we aim to provide, outreach, support and empowerment to youth refugees, ensuring their integration and participation in society. Our values of compassion, solidarity, and human dignity drive our commitment to fostering inclusion and addressing the aspirations of the youth refugees in the region.”


Saddam Sayyaleh, Anera’s regional development lead, says,

“Refugees: Priorities vs. Reality is a powerful initiative that sheds light on the plight of refugee youth across the Middle East and North Africa. By understanding their dreams for a better future and aligning them with tangible pathways, we can pave the way for self-reliance and resilience among these young individuals. Together, we are embarking on a journey to transform lives, turning adversity into opportunity and inspiring positive change. The voice of refugee youth must be heard, and we are committed to making their aspirations a reality.”

The ongoing refugee crisis in the Middle East and North Africa has resulted in the displacement of millions of people, including children and youth. Many of these young people have been forced to leave their homes and communities behind and they face uncertain futures. The lack of educational and employment opportunities, as well as the trauma of displacement, has had a profound impact on the aspirations and mental health of youth seeking a better future.

By conducting focus groups with refugee youth, the project will inform how to link young people’s aspirations with pathways that enhance their empowerment and self-reliance. The survey will assess attitudes and aspirations toward education, employment, economic independence, family formation, entrepreneurship, migration, civic engagement, gender norms, and media use.

The project convenes focus groups of young people face-to-face, with youth refugee advisors and refugee experts present in each focus group. Following completion of the survey, the project will produce reports and videos highlighting the priorities and aspirations of refugee youth in each country and organize a regional event in Jordan in November 2023 to showcase the findings and share them with decision makers, stakeholders, youth advisors, and refugee experts.