Novo Nordisk Foundation DKK 200 million (€ 27 million) grant to create better future prospects for young Syrian refugees in Jordan


Copenhagen, Denmark, January 6, 2022 / PRNewswire / – Welcoming more than 1.3 million Syrian refugees, Jordan is among the countries that have received the most refugees from the conflict-affected country. The lives of Syrian refugees are uncertain and many struggle with poverty and unemployment. A consortium led by PlanBørnefonden will ensure that more young Syrian refugees enter educational programs and join the workforce.

Youth unemployment in Jordan is a record, and up to 50% of young people were unemployed in 2020. With a grant from the Novo Nordisk Foundation of 200 million Danish kroner (27 million euros), PlanBørnefonden will strive to give more young people access to employment and income opportunities.

The Foundation donated over DKK 500 million (€ 67 million) to counter the effects of the conflict by Syria, which over the years has grown into the most widespread humanitarian crisis in the world. The last grant from 200 million Danish kroner is the largest humanitarian grant in the history of the Foundation.

“With the grant for PlanBørnefonden, we are sowing the seeds for many more Syrian children and young people to have a better future in which they can support themselves and their families and lead a life of dignity. Unemployment is a huge problem among young people, so considerable effort needs to be made in primary schools and other levels of education, paying particular attention to ensuring that the educational programs offered correspond to the current labor market ” , declares Mads Krogsgaard Thomsen, CEO, Novo Nordisk Foundation.

The initiative is expected to reach up to 48,000 young Syrian refugees and other young people in Jordan affected by the conflict of Syria, which has been going on for over a decade. PlanBørnefonden is using the grant to launch Najahna, a 5-year program that includes initiatives to strengthen the transition from education to employment through, for example, financial offers that will allow young people to access loans to very interesting conditions so that they can start their own business.

Professional and mental tools targeting young women

Girls and young women are particularly cut off from educational institutions and the labor market. This is partly a result of traditional conceptions of education and work, but also of the fact that more young women drop out of school at an early age due to early marriage or pregnancy.

Dorthe petersen, CEO of PlanBørnefonden, says: “It is absolutely crucial that girls and young women, especially Syrians and Jordanians, have access to high quality education and employment. This is the only way to long-term sustainable development. By giving younger women the professional and mental tools to become financially independent, we are ensuring that more people can support their families and have a say at home. We can do it with Najahna because we and our partners have a strong presence among young people but also in the labor market to which they enter. We are extremely happy and proud to receive this grant.

PlanBørnefonden’s Najahna project comprises a consortium of international and Jordanian public and private actors, including the Confederation of Danish Industry (DI), whose sister organization, the Jordan Chamber of Commerce, contributes to local efforts in Jordan, as well as the PlanBørnefonden country office in Jordan that advances the rights of children and young people in Jordan with particular emphasis on equality for girls.

Thomas Bustrup, Deputy Director General of the Confederation of Danish Industry (DI), says: “We need to work to ensure a greater focus on vocational education in Jordan, and above all that these educational programs correspond better to the needs of companies. We rely on many years of experience of Jordan creating better apprenticeships for young people and making finding employment in a Jordanian company attractive to refugees and other young people. “

The Najahna Consortium also includes the Norwegian Refugee Council, the Royal Health Awareness Society (RHAS), the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) and the King Hussein Foundation. From the start, a key element of the Consortium has been to involve private and public actors to strengthen the local base of initiatives. The project was created in collaboration with the government of Jordan.

Facts about Najahna

Development of the Najahna project began in early 2021, with the Foundation awarding a first grant of DKK 1.2 million (€ 160,000) to PlanBørnefonden. The stream 200 million Danish kroner (27 million euros) the grant for the project extends over a period of 5 years from the January 2022.

The project is part of the Youth Empowerment Foundation’s flagship strategic humanitarian initiative, which aims to improve access to education and self-reliance opportunities among young people in conflict-affected areas, by emphasizing the crisis in Syria.

About the Novo Nordisk Foundation

The Novo Nordisk Foundation is an independent Danish foundation with business interests. It has two objectives: 1) to provide a stable basis for the commercial and research activities of the companies of the Novo group; and 2) supporting scientific, humanitarian and social causes.

The Foundation’s vision is to contribute significantly to research and development that improves the lives of people and the sustainability of society. Since 2010, the Foundation has donated over 30 billion Danish kroner (4 billion euros), mainly for research in public institutions and hospitals in Denmark and other Nordic countries as well as research-based diabetes treatment and prevention. Read more on www.novonordiskfonden.dk/en.

About PlanBørnefonden – part of Plan International

PlanBørnefonden works long term in the most fragile and vulnerable areas of the world to guarantee the rights of children and young people and to create equal opportunities for all, regardless of gender. This is done in close collaboration with colleagues from Plan International in 77 countries around the world. Plan International is one of the largest and oldest children’s rights organizations in the world. Read more here: https://planbornefonden.dk/om-os (in Danish).

SOURCE Novo

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