ENCOURAGED SUCCESS

Kuwait 2016 | HEALTH & EDUCATION | VIP INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Rana A. Al-Nibari, CEO of INJAZ-Kuwait, on the organization's role to inspire young people in the country to economic success.

How would you describe INJAZ's role in empowering Kuwait's youth to “own their economic success”? What is your strategy as CEO to ensure the organization is achieving its objectives?

INJAZ Kuwait is a non-profit organization committed to inspiring, preparing, and empowering youth in Kuwait to succeed in the global economy. Together with the private and public sector, our programs provide hands-on learning experience in entrepreneurship, work readiness, and financial literacy from our corporate volunteers. Business leaders lend a hand in transferring work readiness and entrepreneurial skills to students starting from middle school to university to help prepare them for work in the private sector. INJAZ Kuwait forms part of the global network of Junior Achievement Worldwide (JA) based in the US. The programs are designed to narrow social inequities, encourage social engagement, foster creativity and experience, and develop generations of highly skilled workers. INJAZ Kuwait offers English and Arabic-based programs from Middle School in Personal Economics and an Entrepreneurship Master Class, High School through the JA Job Shadow, Innovation Camp, JA Company Program, and JA Personal Finance programs, to University with our Business Leaders Campaign, JA Job Shadow, Steer Your Career, JA Company Program, and Start Up Program. The youth of Kuwait have extensive exposure to the world around them. I believe that preparing young people with the necessary critical thinking, analytical abilities, and soft skills needed to function in a competitive workplace will allow them to become the entrepreneurs, leaders, and drivers of tomorrow's economy.

What have been some of the major achievements of INJAZ in Kuwait over the past year?

INJAZ over the past year has worked with government, private sector and relevant bodies in driving youth engagement in different forms. Our values remain unchanged; a belief in the boundless potential of young people, a respect for talent, creativity, and the perspectives, and backgrounds of all individuals, conviction in the educational and motivational impact of relevant, hands-on learning, commitment to the principles of market based economics and entrepreneurship, belief in the power of partnership and collaboration, passion for what we do, and honesty, integrity, and excellence in how we do it. We will continue to encourage a larger number of youth to expose them to our hands-on educational programs and become confident, skilled workers, who understand the real world and are people employers want to hire.

INJAZ's member countries include Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Yemen. What synergies exist between INJAZ Kuwait and these other member countries and how do you collaborate with your regional partners?

Collaboration within the network comes through the sharing of best practices and therefore INJAZ-Kuwait is able to gain from the knowhow available and vice versa. We also collaborate in training and regional competitions. INJAZ Kuwait is an active member in good standing with the regional head office, INJAZ Al-Arab. As a member in good standing, INJAZ Kuwait provides training and capacity building for its regional partners. Over the past 10 years, INJAZ Kuwait has attended every Annual MENA Training, participated in almost every company program competition, and hosted two regional competitions in Kuwait, hosting 14 member nations. INJAZ Kuwait has won a number of regional awards, from INJAZ Al-Arab including Communication and Collaboration.

What networking opportunities does INJAZ offer through its corporate and educational partners? What benefits do corporates receive from working with INJAZ?

INJAZ works with its partner companies by involving corporate volunteers with INJAZ programs. Other than monetary support for INJAZ Kuwait, corporate volunteers contribute their time and effort in teaching INJAZ Kuwait's programs to high school and university students. In turn, the volunteers have a unique opportunity to experience first-hand how work in the community and voluntary sector is conducted. Volunteering impacts the community in a way that changes lives for the better. INJAZ Kuwait's partners are mentioned throughout INJAZ programs and events as well as INJAZ's marketing activities.

What are your goals and expectations for INJAZ Kuwait in 2016?

Awareness is key. Today, youth and stakeholders involved directly and indirectly realize the hardships of the job market. Therefore, I feel the youth are more willing and able to invest in themselves to secure a brighter future. But standard education is not equipping our young people for success. Our young people have the opportunity to contribute to their communities and nations through engagement and involvement in the development of a private sector for their nation. INJAZ over the past year has been involved in working with government, private sector and relevant bodies in driving youth engagement in different forms. We plan to continue working with the communities to address that gap and we encourage the youth to take the utmost advantage.