In my own words: ‘Syrians still have ambition and hope’
15 July 2021
As a witness to the impacts of Syria’s internal conflict over the last decade, Bassel Al-Madani, a young engineer and former volunteer with the UN, was inspired to set up Entrepioneers 2030, a group that rallies youth to get involved in shaping the future of their country. He shares his story with us:
Despite the difficult times we have been living through, Syrian youth still have the ambition and hope to develop and empower communities.
Young people should have the right to participate in finding solutions to the challenges they face, not only as volunteers or participants but also as responsible leaders ready to take the lead in future projects.
In parallel to my civil and environmental engineering studies in the Syrian capital, Damascus, I helped to organize international events with many local NGOs, and my years of experience in the field of social entrepreneurship helped me to found Entrepioneers 2030.
We are a youth voluntary platform that supports and empowers Syrian youth, living inside the country and abroad, in raising awareness and working to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and cooperating to find solutions to challenges faced by young people.
We have worked on the platform with our partners, through campaigns and workshops, to educate more than 2500 young men and women about the SDGs and to develop interactive training and entrepreneurship programs for Syrian young people.
Of course, the Covid-19 pandemic has had an effect on our projects, but we used the period of home quarantine to develop our methods of remote working, and we were able to participate virtually in important events and build our network with experts and researchers. We were also able to provide an online seminar for hundreds of beneficiaries during the quarantine period.
‘My belief in Syrian youth could reach the sky!’
Being chosen as finalists of the SDG Action Awards, from among the 2,000 initiatives submitted by 140 countries around the world is such a great step. We are very proud to be able to represent our beloved Syria, and the Arab states, and we hope that this visibility will help us to provide more for the Syrian youth.
I’m so proud to be part of Entrepioneers 2030. My belief in Syrian youth is so high it could reach the sky! They are creative and smart young people who have endless energy and knowledge, but they lack the financial means, and the support of mentors, which hinders their ability to transform their creative ideas into reality.
Personally, I believe that the greatest opportunities are created from crises, so there is no need to give up and be disappointed. Let us give confidence to young people, as they are responsible for shaping the future. Their voices must be heard.
Entrepioneers 2030 and the SDGs
Entrepioneers 2030’s success in scaling up action for the Sustainable Development Goals has been recognized by the UN, which named the group as an SDG Action Award finalist in March 2021.
Entrepioneers 2030’s work supports the achievement of several Sustainable Development Goals, in particular:
SDG 8 Decent Work and Economic Growth, through training sessions provided for young participants focused on the basics of establishing SMEs and start-ups.
SDG 13 Climate Action, through advocacy campaigns and interactive workshops to educate Syrian youth on the importance of taking the necessary measures to reduce climate change.
SDG 9 Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure, through training in writing professional project proposals, presented to a committee of specialists to assess the proposed social initiative.
Produced by UN in Syria. Editorial support by Paul VanDeCarr, Development Coordination Office. To learn more about the results of our work in this area and beyond, please visit the UNSDG Chair Report on DCO.