33.5°N, 36.3°E

Extremist ideas can
only be challenged by
human-rights ideas and
not by force.
Zaid Al Rayes

the future

Previous chapters have highlited the
special contributions that young people can
make because of their ability to work
        together and innovate

Social and entrepreneurial innovation

As we have seen he challenge is not just to oppose violent extremism but to develop better alternatives for people who are drawn to radical propaganda. This is where social innovation meets entrepreneurship: together they can create new spaces for promoting integration, tolerance, inclusion and prosperity. Research shows that e. Ex-combatants can be agents of positive social change who can assist households and communities to respond resiliently after war and violence.

In regions that have experienced conflict, it is particularly necessary to create livelihoods. Employment provides young people with much more than an income: it gives status, and offers young people the chance to be independent, to marry, to travel and learn new skills, and build their future. Young entrepreneurs who create new economic activities and decent jobs therefore play a critical role. They simultaneously inspire hope, promote stability, reduce aid dependency, and generate economic development. Overall, one third of the world’s 1.8 billion young people are unemployed, educating themselves or training. One billion young adults will enter the job market in the next decade, but only 40 per cent of the jobs they need already exist. This indicates the scale of the task that confronts the next generation of social and economic entrepreneurs.

Giving one Syrian a job can benefit a whole family. Zaid met Halid in a Syrian refugee camp in Jordan, where he was living with 23 members of his family. He had lost a sister and a brother in the war and was tempted to join jihadists to fight the Al Assad regime. When Halid found a job in Dubai as an assistant chef, however, he could provide for his family and his niece could go back to school. "When people are in extreme poverty, not allowed to work, and have no source of funds, they turn to violent extremism as it provides a future," Zaid said. "To counter this, we need to show people that they have a future and will be able to provide for themselves and the family, elsewhere.

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