Case studies

Creating job opportunities for Arab youth

Bab Rizq Jameel works to boost youth employment in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Morocco. In addition to job training programmes and placements, it also supports entrepreneurs with microfinance options.

  • Primary philanthropist The Jameel family, through Community Jameel
  • Established 2003
  • Primary focus Job opportunities
  • Geography Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Morocco

BAB RIZQ JAMEEL

OVER SIX MILLION YOUTH (AGED 15 TO 24) ARE UNEMPLOYED IN THE Arab region, nearly double the global average. For the region’s girls and young women, finding work is even more of a challenge. Their unemployment rate is about three times higher than the global average for their peers.

Community Jameel, a Saudi-based philanthropic initiative established in 2003 by Mohammed Abdul Latif Jameel to continue his family’s long tradition of giving, seeks to reverse these troubling trends.

Since 2003, BRJ has sought to boost youth employment in Saudi Arabia, and the wider Arab region (including Egypt and Morocco), particularly among women. It has helped more than 900,000 people find jobs, largely by matching qualified candidates with the right opportunities in the private sector.

BRJ also helps create new positions by collaborating with large employers, such as the operators of football stadiums.

Through this work, BRJ seeks to change mindsets around employment in Saudi Arabia, by encouraging more sectors to employ women and by supporting youth to pursue options they might not traditionally consider, in areas like the hospitality industry. Altogether, these efforts have made BRJ one of the region’s largest organizations working to reduce youth unemployment.

BRJ also runs job-training programs that address skill gaps and has supported 25,000 youth to acquire the necessary skills to obtain work.

Its Productive Family Program has helped create job opportunities for more than 250,000 women in producing and selling products from their homes. After researching communities’ needs, BRJ recently launched a microfinance company.

The first company to be licensed by the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority for microfinance activities, it aims to finance entrepreneurs through three products: group finance, home business finance, and small business finance including murabaha.

“We understand people’s needs and consider what ideas will help the economy grow,” explains Abdul Rahman Al Fehaid, executive director of BRJ Microfinance.

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This content was first published in 2020 by Project Inspired, a collection of video interviews and case studies drawn from conversations with some of the Arab region’s leading philanthropists and foundations. Project Inspired is supported by the Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation for Education and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and produced by knowledge partners The Bridgespan Group and Philanthropy Age.