A delegation from Erbil Polytechnic University consisting of Assist. Prof. Dr. Nageb Toma Rassam vice rector for scientific affairs and Assist. Prof. Dr. Abdullah Omar Yassen head of cultural relations unit at International Relations Office was invited by United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) in Baghdad on Thursday, 22 December 2022 to participate at the launch of the “Jousour” (Bridges) initiative to provide youth with marketable digital and English language skills to boost their employability and enable them to build better livelihoods. Jousour is a bridge that can connect Iraqi youth with jobs through the pathway of digital skills. It is an extension of the WFP’s award-winning EMPACT (Empowerment in Action) programme that is already being successfully implemented, since 2016, in Iraq and other countries such as Lebanon, Palestine, Turkey, Colombia, Kenya and
Zimbabwe.The programme was designed by WFP Innovation Accelerator based in Munich focusing on the development of transversal, entrepreneurial and technology skills required to succeed in the digital market. WFP is increasingly leveraging the digital economy to build the resilience of urban, displaced, and vulnerable households. With an internet connection, a device, and sufficient IT skills, young refugees and food-insecure youth can change their lives. EMPACT equips students with in-demand tech skills and matches their newly found talent with IT vacancies in private sector companies and online job marketplaces.Erbil Polytechnic University are among a several universities in Iraq that deliver training courses to vulnerable and refugees and IDPs in Erbil. The program will start from January 2023 and it will last for 10 months. It is mission of EPU to help youth with marketable skills that build bridges (Jousour) towards a better life. It is also the mission to help young women and men to achieve their dreams and pursue their livelihoods. This initiative aims to create solutions that enhance opportunities and contribute towards tackling the challenge of youth unemployment. Through this initiative, youth in Erbil can prepare for emerging careers, contributing significantly to solving the unemployment challenges. It’s a win-win outcome: young people at risk of hunger find stable jobs and generate life-saving income, and employers can hire qualified staff to meet their tech needs. Both contribute to a more productive economy and sustainable development.Generous funding from WFP’s donors, such as Germany, enabled the launch of this initiative that will tackle unemployment in Iraq, one of the country’s serious economic issues facing about 27% of Iraqi youth.