Empwerment, Youth and ICT - Promoting Young People's Empowerment in Achieving Poverty Eradication, Social Integration and Productive and Decent Work for All

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Can ICT empower youth? Some research argues that there does not exist a direct and causal relationship between ICTs and empowerment. The relationship is much more complex and indirect in nature, whereby the issue of its impact on the livelihoods of the poor depends to a large extent on the dynamic and iterative process between people and technology within a specific local, cultural and socio-political context. Although many would give credit of mobilizing the massive protests during the uprising to the digital media and even calling it the “Facebook Uprising” (Smith 2011), however, I argue that the social media tools would not have had the same impact in the absence of social movements that were ready to be deployed in an open confrontation strategy with the regime. Social media as such is not the main reason behind the uprising. Instead, it was a tool effectively utilized by the existing opposition movements. As the recent statists of social media users in the Arab countries show, a country like Saudi Arabia has more Facebook users, both in term of numbers and percentage to the population, than Egypt (Arab Social Media Report 2012). Nevertheless, the absence of civil society forces in Saudi Arabia, among other factors, explained why the Arab spring has little influence there.


Ahmad Alhindawi

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