Last week, AstraZeneca’s Young Health Programme (YHP) and Orange Corners (OC) signed an agreement to support the Orange Corners business incubator in the Palestinian Territories. In May 2022, AstraZeneca and Orange Corners signed a letter of intent to demonstrate their intention to collaborate in this initiative (see: AZ YHP and OC sign LOI), which has now been formalized through a partnership agreement.
The Palestinian Territories continues to suffer from unsustainability and volatile conditions, worsened by the COVID-19 crisis and the armed conflict in May 2021. According to the World Bank, the percentage of youth Not in Employment Education or Training (NEET) combined in the West Bank and Gaza has increased from 27.5 percent in 2011 to 34.5 percent in 2020. The labour market is currently not able to cater for the demand from the 40,000 young Palestinians who graduate from university each year. On average only two out of five manage to secure a job, resulting in frustration and desperation among the Palestinian youth.
The aim of the Orange Corners programme is to create an enabling environment for young Palestinian entrepreneurs and give them the possibility to shape their own future, with a focus on young entrepreneurs working in healthcare. By providing training, access to networks with expertise, and mentorship to young entrepreneurs, the programme aims to strengthen the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the Palestinian Territories and create employment opportunities.
The partnership builds on the YHP’s ambitions to strengthen the knowledge and capacity of young leaders and their organisations to develop sustainable programmes which boost inclusive economic progress, specifically in marginalised areas with vulnerable youth. When young people have equitable access to economic opportunities, they can thrive in their homes, jobs and communities. These opportunities can impact their health choices and health-seeking behaviours, improving their overall health in the long run.
AstraZeneca, through its YHP, has an existing partnership agreement with Orange Corners in South Africa which aims to empower entrepreneurs, and predominantly black-owned businesses and young black people wishing to start a business, through providing an enabling platform to their beneficiaries in urban, rural and underdeveloped areas.
Orange Corners aims to improve job prospects for youth between the ages of 18 and 35, in Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East. Orange Corners is active in 14 countries, with 17 hubs and counting. The programme strengthens ecosystems for youth entrepreneurship and youth employment.
Ashling Mulvaney, VP Sustainability, Access to Healthcare at AstraZeneca said, “Young people are our future. Given the opportunity, their ideas and leadership will help identify solutions to some of the biggest challenges facing humanity. By investing in young leaders, we can equip and empower them to bring sustainable local healthcare solutions to life. Our partnership with Orange Corners Palestinian Territories and Flow Accelerator will support the next generation of young health entrepreneurs to create change in communities in need.”
Majd Khalifeh, CEO Flow Accelerator (the implementing partner of Orange Corners Palestinian Territories), stated, “We believe that this is an effective partnership that complements what the Palestinian entrepreneurial eco-system is achieving to drive a significant transformation. Partnering with AstraZeneca will enable Orange Corners PT to support young viable Palestinian talents with the goal of preparing start-ups for investment readiness and sustainability. OC PT Programmes are all about innovation, entrepreneurship, and active citizenship, and we couldn’t ask for a better fit. Thus, we will work together to open the doors to a productive economic future. We also believe that the engagement with the private sector stakeholders is a key towards a sustainable support and development of our programmes.
Rami Scandar, Country President for the Near East and the Maghreb Cluster at AstraZeneca, added, “This partnership is integral to our unwavering commitment to create sustainable impact in the area and specially in the Palestinian territories, considering the high rates of unemployment. We are enabling the young entrepreneurs in the Palestinian Territories to ensure they have a supportive platform and inclusive opportunities to develop their innovative ideas into thriving businesses. We are looking forward to working together to accelerate the Palestinian Territories entrepreneurial capacity.”
AstraZeneca is a global, science-led biopharmaceutical company that focuses on the discovery, development, and commercialisation of prescription medicines, primarily for the treatment of diseases in three therapy areas – Oncology, Cardiovascular, Renal & Metabolism, and Respiratory & Immunology. Based in Cambridge, UK, AstraZeneca operates in over 100 countries and its innovative medicines are used by millions of patients worldwide. Please visit astrazeneca.com and follow the Company on LinkedIn @AstraZeneca.
AstraZeneca’s Young Health Programme (YHP) is a global disease prevention programme with a unique focus on young people aged 10 to 24, living in vulnerable environments and under-resourced settings around the world. The YHP aims to prevent the most common non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease, respiratory disease and mental ill health.
Delivered in partnership with Plan International and UNICEF and informed by research from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, it has reached more than 30 countries and 40 million youth with information about NCD risk behaviours. The YHP aims to support the development of protective environments and empower young people to make informed choices about their health. A holistic and integrated programme, it combines community programmes, research and advocacy and supports the development of young leaders. The YHP is part of AstraZeneca’s sustainability commitment to accelerate delivery of sustainable healthcare and use our capabilities to strengthen health systems and improve equitable access.