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Private foundations

Novo Nordisk Foundation

In Jordan, the Novo Nordisk Foundation supports RYSE, a project where the Danish Refugee Council and four partner organisations are engaging 25,000+ young Syrian refugees and vulnerable young Jordanians in building resilient futures for themselves and their communities through access to education and support for a positive transition into adulthood.

In 2020, DRC, together with local and international partners, launched the Resilient Youth, Socially and Economically Empowered (RYSE) project in Jordan. This is a flagship multi-stakeholder project bridging government, private sector companies, and civil society organisations to bring about sustainable solutions for young people in refugee settings.

RYSE is an ambitious attempt to empower at least 25,000 displaced and conflict-affected youth in Jordan to become much-needed positive change agents in a region marred by war and political instability.

The project will improve the possibility for young people to take active part in their communities, better their opportunities for meaningful employment in Jordan, and through this improve their future.

Jordan hosts the second-largest number of refugees per capita in the world, and 70% of the Jordanian population is under 30 years of age. 84% of Syrian youth in Jordan are unemployed. This combination of factors puts huge pressure on the local economy. Only 7% of Syrian women participate in the Jordanian labor market.

Our studies show that opportunities for youth do exist in several sectors in Jordan. However, the youth often do not possess the skills required to take up available jobs. Moreover, there is a significant investment gap for start-ups and SMEs (small- and medium-sized enterprises). This lack of appropriate skills and continuing investment gap limit the ability of the Jordanian private sector to support displaced people and host communities.

”I came from Syria when I was 12 years old”

RYSE will improve the possibility for young people to take active part in their community, better their opportunities for meaningful employment in Jordan, and through this improve their future.

The Syrian crisis, in general, has negatively impacted Jordan, which has seen a rise in unemployment rates, a drop in average wages, a decrease in foreign investments, overburdened infrastructure and strained social services such as healthcare and education, rising child labor, and an expansion of the informal labor market, all of which increase public frustration among marginalized Jordanians.

Young Jordanians have limited access to meaningful employment, often working in informal economies which are unable to effectively harness talent and provide meaningful employment opportunities. For Syrians, the situation is worse still, with many unable to find any employment.

Young people’s leadership abilities, knowledge, skills, and creativity are often left untapped in humanitarian responses that do not specifically address youth’s unique needs. Young women, who have the potential to have a lasting impact on the economic growth and development of their communities, remain particularly at risk in displacement. With RYSE we wish to change this.

Theory of change

The theory of change of the project is, that If we provide youth with pathways to engage in transformative leadership and actively participate in civil society;

AND If we equip youth – particularly the most marginalized - with access to innovative skills training, financial support, and meaningful employment opportunities;

AND If we contribute to a more youth-inclusive civic and economic environment;

THEN Youth will have the resources needed to be resilient actors and positive change agents within their communities.

The Resilient Youth-Socially and Economically Empowered (RYSE) program is developing a flagship model in which youth, governments, private sector companies, investors and civil society organizations educate and empower youth to become positive change agents and leaders within their communities.

The RYSE program will reach at least 25,000 people through three main components:

  1. The first component provides life skills, training and pathways for youth to become civically-engaged leaders.
  2. The second provides a comprehensive approach to help young people obtain the training and support needed to be strong candidates for better jobs.
  3. The third component addresses formal societal structures that prevent youth from actively participating in civil society and the labor market.

Implementing partners

DRC Danish Refugee Council is leading the consortium and implementing the RYSE project together with Mercy Corps, Generations for Peace, Jordan River Foundation, INJAZ.

Donor: Novo Nordisk Foundation

The RYSE project is supported by the Novo Nordisk Foundation with 20 million USD during 2020-2022.

Novo Nordisk Fonden
Novo Nordisk Fonden

Other partnership projects

Ole Kirk’s Fond and Global Emergency Relief Pool

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Illemann Myschetzky

Advisor, Youth in Displacement