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The Future President of Palestine

By Rana Mousa, M&E and Reporting Manager, Local Government and Infrastructure Program

When asked about her dreams, Basha’er Othman is quick to answer: “The future President of Palestine is what I dream to be when I grow up.” At 15, Basha’er is the “shadow” mayor of 'Illar, a small town of just over 6,000 people in the West Bank. During a ceremony, the mayor of Illar, Mr. Shadid, handed Basha’er official documents and briefed her on her new role and responsibilities as a mayor. (It will be her second stint as a shadow mayor – in January 2011 she held the post for one week.) In her new position, she will be supervised by the mayor and the deputy mayor, and is expected to engage other youth members to shadow the Municipality’s Council members.

PHOTO: Basha’er meeting with 'Illar Municipality Council members

Basha’er became involved in local government through the Youth Local Council (YLC) – an initiative implemented by CHF as part of theUSAID-funded Local Democratic Reform program (LDR). CHF helped form 10 Youth Local Councils across the West Bank to engage youth and teach them about local governance and democracy. The activities of the YLC will be expanded under the current Local Government and Infrastructure program also funded by USAID. CHF hopes to implement the YLC initiative in other countries using what has been already developed in Palestine as a model.