“Young people should play a central role in the formulation of the development agenda. People need to be more actively involved in the process of decision making for the country.”
This statement is one of the responses voiced during Post-2015 national consultations in Kyrgyzstan, which began in late 2012. With the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) about to expire in 2015, debates on what should follow are happening across the globe.
In Kyrgyzstan, people are talking about increasing volunteerism and empowering youth to have a say about what their future should look like. During the country’s Post-2015 national consultations, approximately 2,000 people had the chance to be heard and to respond to the key question, “What future do the people of Kyrgyzstan want?”
Nationwide consultations took place in all regions of the country, with a variety of methods being used, including surveys, interviews, and focus group discussions. Web-based platforms were used to give as many people the opportunity to participate as possible.
Kyrgyzstan is also the recipient of a Post-2015 micro-grant, which allows for regional initiatives to help countries follow up on and continue the work started in the Post-2015 national consultations, engaging with citizens and creating opportunities for them to build a better future for themselves.
With the micro-grant in place, UNICEF and UNDP launched a “Youth as Leaders of the Post-2015 Agenda” project in southern Kyrgyzstan to advocate for the recommendations made following the country’s Post-2015 national consultations.
The goal is to strengthen youth-led and peer-to-peer civic outreach for vulnerable and marginalized communities.
The project will expand opportunities for the civic participation of at-risk and vulnerable youth and will operate out of youth centres previously established with the support of UNICEF.
To gain a better understanding of the issues facing youth in Kyrgyzstan today, we’re introducing micronarratives – young people will collect, tell and interpret their own stories, providing a better understanding of the challenges they face in their everyday lives, and also helping to identify any gaps in the knowledge and skills of young people in order to shape the focus of our outreach activities.
The project will help about 500 marginalized and at-risk youth in the 12-to-18 age group, with a focus on strengthening their logic, thinking and communication skills.
Within the project outreach groups, a series of training activities will also be held. Teaching young people to blog and develop micro-narratives will help strengthen their storytelling skills and their ability to share their ideas and plans for a post-2015 Kyrgyzstan.