Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?
The recent 2008 global economic crisis caused an alarming increase in unemployment rate. Despite the huge worldwide recovery, it is still a significant issue in Gaza. According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics Report, "In the Gaza Strip, unemployment rate of total youth aging over 15 years old increased from 38.5% to 40.8% in the first quarter of 2014”. The issue of youth unemployment in Gaza is still increasing in size due to different factors, such as the Israeli Occupation and blockade, and the lack of government attention to social issues.
There is also a lack of international recognition of Gaza as a country, which limits the freelancing work size and the sources of international humanitarian help. One of our members has been a coordinator for youth employment in Gaza, we realize how urgent to address this issue is. We know what the realities are on the ground.
Unemployment should be firstly addressed because it is correlated with an increase in the poverty rate which can negatively impact the economy in the long term. Furthermore, it results in brain drain as many well educated youth will try to legally or illegally immigrate to another country in hopes of finding better jobs and a better life. Since the government does not have the power or the possibilities to fulfill youths' wants and needs, Gaza will lose potential leaders who cannot bear living in that miserable reality anymore. Also, unemployment has negative impact on the mental health of youths, leading to more crimes, more drugs, hostility, destruction of social fabric and unrest.
There are many challenges facing Palestinian freelancers. First challenge is that paypal is unavailable in Palestine because it is not internationally recognized as a country. Palestinian freelancers cannot use normal debit cards to receive their money. This means that international clients will not able to transfer payments to freelancers in Gaza. Our solution to this problem is to use a Payoneer Card and businesses can deposit funds on it. The Payoneer Card is connected to US bank account therefore online freelancers are able to receive their money from any international clients with ease. The only downside of utilizing the Payoneer Card is that it charges high services fees.
In addition, Palestinian freelancers encounter challenges dealing with international clients as some of them may be biased against Palestinians. We hope that we can challenge perceptions through our work. However, there are many of international clients who trusted the work quality of Palestinians and find it cheaper as well.
Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!
We believe that online freelancing will provide good solutions to youth unemployment in Gaza. This is where Freelancing Job Opportunities in Gaza (FJOC) steps in. Online freelancing opens regional and international markets to unemployed youth in Gaza rather than being confined to the local market or depending on modest grants from relief projects which is not sustainable. Therefore, it is beneficial to spread freelancing culture amongst a wide range of youth to provide more opportunities of self-employment especially youth who are proficient at graphic design, architecture, translation, video editing, data entry, web development and others. However, our main sectors will be concentrated on: Translation, Information Technology, and journalism to help youth develop their skills of freelancing and be able to cover their livelihood costs.
The Freelancing Job Opportunities Center in Gaza (FJOC) will provide the following services:
1. Providing places equipped with computers and internet for people who suffer from power outage.
2. Providing mentors in each skill areas to train freelancers on tendering and winning bids.
3. Training workshops to facilitate freelancers on how to apply for tests and join committees on freelancer websites.
● What we invest: Staff, volunteers, mentorship, training, time, money, research base, equipment, materials, technology, and partners.
Outputs for pilot project
● 33 freelancers benefit from facilities in our center (e.g. internet access, reliable electricity).
● 33 participants receive one training course in English language and another freelancing one.
● 2 companies benefit from lease options for our center.
● Who we reach: Participants (trainees/freelancers), clients, agencies, decision makers, customers, satisfaction.