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Kuwait, Beirut – 3 September, 2019

Zain Group, a leading mobile telecom innovator in eight markets across the Middle East and Africa, announces its strategic partnership and support of Mentor Arabia Foundation, the regional branch of Mentor International, founded in 1994. The mission of Mentor Arabia is to empower Arab children and youth to prevent them from risky behaviors through policies, capacity development, advocacy, knowledge and partnerships.

Mentor International, registered in Switzerland and based in Stockholm, Sweden; is a non-profit foundation presided by Her Majesty Queen Silvia of Sweden, and has branches in the USA, UK, Latvia, Sweden, Germany, Lithuania, and Denmark. The regional branch, Mentor Arabia, was founded in 2006, with its headquarters established in Beirut, Lebanon.

Mentor Arabia foundation is led by a reputable board of trustees, chaired by Prince Turki Bin Talal Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud and consists of representatives from multiple regional and international organizations; alongside leading public figures, youth, specialists and scientists in related fields.

The foundation seeks to strengthen joint Arab and international cooperation and to build a solid alliance to accelerate the momentum in halting the spread of substance use and other dangerous phenomena among youth in the region.

Bader Al-Kharafi, Zain Vice-Chairman and Group CEO commented, "Zain is pleased to cooperate with and support the efforts of Mentor Arabia as these objectives are so well aligned to our own. Our youth are among the most precious resources we have, and we need to guide and inspire them to make good decisions and end up contributing positively to their communities, countries, and the region."

Al-Kharafi continued, "Zain has a long tradition of giving back to the communities it serves across all its markets, and through supporting similarly inspired initiatives or our numerous corporate sustainability media campaigns highlighting the ills of child abuse, our enduring aim is to protect, engage, upskill, and allow the youth across the region to reach their full potential. We have every confidence that our new relationship with Mentor Arabia will further build on our efforts and positively impact the lives of thousands of young people across the region."

Limited studies issued by the United Nations indicate that there are more than 500,000 drug addicts in the Arab world. Other studies show that drug use among people aged between 15 and 24 is growing in 13 Arab countries. Poverty, unemployment, school drop-outs, migration, war, disintegration, domestic violence, poor prospects for youth participation in decision-making, among other issues, were all essential catalysts to the establishment of an Arab foundation focused mainly on issues of risky behaviors prevention and awareness among children and youth.

Building on Mentor Arabia's vision, the agreement with Zain Group will see the two organizations jointly develop strategic partnerships with relevant entities and stakeholders; network with entities and organizations that are effective in the field of youth empowerment; and coordinate the various implementation phases of the joint programs. Collaborating closely together, Zain Group and Mentor Arabia will also look to advocate their endeavors through various media and social media platforms; and create fundraising opportunities for Mentor Arabia to scale up the number of program beneficiaries.

Thuraya Ismail, Executive Director, Mentor Arabia said, "Our vision is of an Arab world where children and youth are empowered to lead healthy lives and make sound decisions. The core of everything we do is to make a difference in young people's lives and we have been able to make significant progress in this area; thanks to the support of outstanding people and organizations. We are grateful to be able to welcome Zain to this inspirational collection of organizations and look forward to working closely together on the Foundation's development and scaling up the number of our programs' beneficiaries."

An extensive awareness raising and social media campaign to be undertaken by Zain and Mentor Arabia will embrace their combined goals to build the capacities and skills of children, youth, parents and other beneficiaries; develop policies and strategies for children and youth empowerment; promote youth participation in all areas of social work and human development; develop and disseminate prevention and youth empowerment studies and research; and forge partnerships and spread awareness through media and social media channels. 

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