Over 150 young delegates from all over Kazakhstan discuss burning issues of youth at UNICEF Pre-Forum in country’s capital
Astana, Kazakhstan - 6 December 2009 – The Kazakh Ministry of Education and Science, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Kazakhstan and the co-organisers National Healthy Lifestyle Centre, the Gumilev Eurasian National University and the Kazakhstan Youth Congress brought together for the first time 135 adolescents and youths for the a three-day pre-Forum from 3-5 December 2009 in Kazakhstan’s capital Astana.
The pre-Forum will be followed on 7 December by the Adolescents and Youth Forum “We are the Peers of Our Country's Independence”, complementing the celebrations of the 18 years of Kazakhstan’s Independence.
These young people represent diverse background, gender, disability, orphans and all 16 regions of the country. This is a culmination of a year long process that included seventy regional consultations with adolescents and youths in Kazakhstan which were conducted during July-October 2009 by 26 UNICEF-trained youth facilitators. The consultations resulted in an outcome document representing the views, opinions and recommendations of adolescent and youth priorities.
The eight themes prioritised by young people in the regional consultations include: family, education, health services, healthy lifestyles, employment, psychosocial issues, stigma and discrimination and leisure.
A series of videos documenting the regional consultations and eight thematic areas have been produced by specially trained Young Video Journalists (VJs). “I would like to believe that we will be heard”, describes the essence of the challenge a 16-year-old girl from Pavlodar Region.
The objective of the pre-Forum is to support adolescents and young people in their meaningful participation in identifying, sharing, prioritising and making recommendations on common issues that affect them, as well as collectively finding solutions through their action in positive civic engagement. Furthermore, the following Forum will enable increased awareness of adolescent and youth issues in Kazakhstan, especially of their right to participate in matters affecting their education, health, protection and well being.
The pre-Forum was inaugurated by Yerlan Aukenov, the Head of the Youth Policy Department of the Kazakh Education and Science Ministry, who stressed the importance of the inclusion of young people in nation building at the time when the country is celebrating its 18th year of independence. He encouraged them to share their issues, actions and recommendations and become ONE VOICE.
The UNICEF Representative in Kazakhstan, Hanaa Singer, welcomed the young people and motivated them to share and come up with their ideas and actions that strengthen their participation in civic engagement. She reminded them about their rights as children and young people on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
It is expected that these adolescents and youth will present their recommendations and proposed actions to important representatives of the Government on 7th December. An audience of 3000, comprising important government representatives, civil society actors, diplomats, media and other young people are expected to attend the Adolescents and Youth Forum on 7th December.
For additional information, please contact:
Sultan Khudaibergenov & Gulzhazira Zhumash