Kuwait has a population of 3.89 million and GDP US$114.04 billion. While youth unemployment rate is 2.4%, Kuwait is the only ESCWA member state where unemployment among male youth (2.6%) is higher than that among female youth (2.1%). The average educational attainment is 5.8 school years in Kuwait where the adjusted net enrolment rate for upper secondary education reached 65.5% in 2012. Youth political participation is below average at 0.415 while civic participation is above average at 0.62.
LOYAC Internship Program was founded in 2003 to lead youth to personal and professional growth away from negative social phenomena like drug addiction or extremism. The program, accredited by the American University of Kuwait, targets youth in Kuwait ages 16-27 from all nationalities. It consists mainly of training workshops provided by LOYAC, a paid internship provided by participating companies, and volunteer work. The workshops cover personal development and all aspects of work readiness. The internships and volunteer work are closely supervised by LOYAC to ensure the commitment from companies and the participating youth.
Implementation of programme/ initiative:
LOYAC Internship Program aims at reducing youth unemployment and decreasing occurrences of the permission paradox. More specifically, it aims at:
- Raising youth employability by providing them with training and work experience to add to their resumes
- Helping youth find direction and passion in life when choosing fields of study or jobs
- Instilling LOYAC values (Love, Commitment, Creativity, Contribution, Awareness, Peace, and Empowerment) in participating youth through program workshops and their participation in volunteer work
Due to the financial constraints of running a donor dependent NGO founders had to cope by slowly increasing staff and gradually developing infrastructure (IT, and other facilities). Other challenges faced while implementing the program include:
- Convincing companies to donate and participate in the program was a serious challenge that was overcome with sheer persistence until companies came to believe in the program’s impact.
- Society’s negative attitude towards specific lines of work (retail and restaurants). This attitude was later changed when people noticed the diverse backgrounds of LOYAC interns.
- Measuring program impact on beneficiaries presented a challenge that was overcome by the establishment of an M&E department.
In 2017 alone, the program has benefited nearly 1000 participants, some of whom received job offers while on internship. The job offers were in some cases accepted and resulted in interns securing their first job through LOYAC internships. Detailed reports on program phases have always shown that females have been represented proportionately with their percentage in population.
LOYAC has plans for new successful expansion into other countries in the region. The financial constraints are being mitigated with the use of many strategies such as streamlining operations, relying on technology and exploring new income generating projects.
The program received many awards and recognitions such as:
- The EU’s Chaillot Special Mention for promotion of human rights in 2014
- Best Practice Certificate by the Dubai Municipality and the UN human settlements program (UN-HABITAT)
- Mentioned in the book “Learning a Living” by Qatar Foundation’s WISE initiative
Several success factors led to the expansion and replication of LOYAC Internship Program in Kuwait and in regional branches in Yemen, Lebanon, and Jordan. Those factors include:
- The design of the program that is based on values that appeal to all humane individuals
- The founders having been very resourceful, highly educated, passionate and, well connected individuals
- The constant state of improvement attracts sponsors and donors to LOYAC programs as an opportunity for corporate social responsibility activity
- Proper branding, communication with the public and corporate partners were key factors in achieving success
World Bank, 2016
International Labor Organization, 2016
Common Wealth Youth Development Index, 2016
Report of the national workshop on enhancing youth participation in public issues and decision making in Kuwait
 You can’t get the job without the experience, but you can’t get the experience without the job
Date: October 12, 2017