Established in 1999 by a group of Palestinian youth professionals, the Palestinian Youth Association for Leadership and Rights Activation (PYALARA) is a youth-oriented organization that seeks to empower young female and male Palestinians aged 13 to 25 in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza. The issue of youth rights, participation, social entrepreneurship, and inclusion in the decision-making processes at the local and national levels is at the core of PYALARA’s work. We aim to activate and enhance the capacity of young Palestinians especially in peripheral and marginalized areas to serve as agents of social and political change inside their communities and the society at large.
Since its establishment, PYALARA has been working at both the community and national levels, and in recent years has expanded its work at the regional level including Jordan and Egypt. PYALARA develops its programs based on a public/community achievement model which views children and youth as having the insights, capability, and talent needed to solve their problems and that of their communities and to contribute to the development of Palestine. Our approach focuses on practical work and community engagement techniques, equipping children and youth with the necessary skills and tools to diagnose issues and work together to affect political change. Our methodology is based on capacity building, community initiatives, local and national advocacy campaigns, including offering channels for youth to debate with Palestinian officials and decision makers, using media whether visual, social or print as a means of awareness raising and lobby and advocacy. We were one of the first youth organizations in Palestine to pilot and develop a model of youth-produced newspaper, television programming, and a forum for youth journalists.
Our programs therefore support children and youth to rebuild their resilience through activating their role in the society improve their life conditions and grant them independent media forums through which they can interact, express their issues and advocate for their rights. We believe that by fully engaging children and young people, we can both bring about immediate change in the targeted communities as well create a better future for children and young people in Palestine, thus contribute in the longer-term towards ending the occupation and creating stepping stones for democratic nation building.
Our organization is governed by a nine-person Board of Directors that provides overall guidance and oversight. The members of the Board of Directors are elected once every three years by the General Assembly, the highest governing body at PYALARA that is in charge of deciding PYALARA’s policies. In turn, the General Assembly is composed of 38 members qualified to monitor PYALARA’s technical, administrative, and financial performance. PYALARA has 30 employees in its West Bank headquarters and Gaza field office.
A world of active, engaged young people who are empowered to develop their potential, and realize their rights.
PYALARA protects and promotes children and young Palestinians’ rights as stipulated in national and international conventions and combat all sorts of ill practices against Palestinian children and youth, including gender inequality, through capacity building, advocacy campaigns, and policy change.
We will stay true to our values of being an organization: that is independent, objective, professional and accountable; that respects and promotes democracy, good governance, rule of law, non-discrimination, gender equality, and human rights; that is responsive and built on collaborative work and synergy building; that strengthens national commitment; and that refuses conditional funding and normalization.