Youth Advisory Councils: Empowering youth in local development
The role of youth increased in community decisions
In view of the success of Youth Advisory Councils in other areas of the country, the National Assembly of Youth Organizations of the Republic of Azerbaijan (NAYORA) recently implemented the programme “Establishment of Local Youth Advisory Councils in Five Districts”, with the financial support of the European Union and the technical support of the Ministry of Youth and Sports of the Republic of Azerbaijan and UNICEF Azerbaijan. The initiative created councils in Khazar district of Baku, and Bilasuvar, Gazakh, Shamkir and Tovuz districts under local executive authority. Their objective is to increase the role of youth in community decisions and support the development of regional youth.
A total of 100 young people were involved in activities at the five new Advisory Councils, with 20 at each one selected as participants.
Pari Ibrahimova, a member of the Gazakh Advisory Council established under the Gazakh District Executive Power, expresses how she felt about being elected to the Council: “That day I said to myself, ‘It’s good that I applied.’ I also realized that as a young person, I had a connection to my district.”
In order to ensure the personal growth of each of the selected young people, trainings on more than 12 different topics were held for each member of the Advisory Council within the EU-funded initiative. Each person attended more than 30 webinars.
Vafa Valiyeva, a member of the Tovuz Advisory Council, comments on her impressions of the training "The role of professional surveys in achieving effective results" presented by trainer Ilkin Aliyev: “Following the training, I felt well trained on how to conduct surveys and analyse the results. I think this knowledge will be important for my future career.”
Project Coordinator Farman Mammadov shares his views on the issues they faced in the process of delivering trainings and holding events:
“The first stage was to offer sessions to inform young people about the project and interest them in participating. Information sessions were organized in various institutions and centres in each of the districts and reached more than 2,000 young people. The next stage was to select participants from among more than 300 applicants. Those who passed the registration process were interviewed and selection was completed. I would like to note that, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, most of the activities planned for the project were organized online. To ensure that participants could attend online trainings and events, and to support their personal development during the pandemic, the programme provided participants with internet packages. I should emphasize that it was very important to create this opportunity for the youth of the region at that time because of the pandemic."
It was very important to create this opportunity for the youth of the region at that time because of the pandemic.
In April of last year, following the training cycle for the youth of the Advisory Councils, elections were held to elect the board of each Advisory Council. They were held online via ZOOM and were attended by all members of the Advisory Councils.
The next task was for members of the Advisory Councils to conduct the survey "Promoting youth participation in resolving social problems in communities" to identify and address issues faced by young people living within their districts. The survey was conducted both online and in person. A total of 3,750 questionnaires were collected and analyzed by a professional expert to identify key issues. The Advisory Councils then designed projects based on the results of the survey.
The following projects were designed and implemented by the five Youth Advisory Councils:
Through the projects, the Advisory Councils organized educational trainings in the areas identified in the survey and contributed to the development of 500 young people in these districts.
A number of project activities were carried out by the Advisory Councils:
Bilasuvar Advisory Council established under the Bilasuvar District Executive Authority established an information corner to strengthen measures to fight the COVID-19 pandemic in the district.
Members of the Gazakh Advisory Council established under the Gazakh District Executive Authority distributed educational flyers to promote gender equality among the youth in the district and established two gender equality promotion corners.
Members of the Shamkir Advisory Council established under the Shamkir District Executive Authority conducted a tree-planting campaign to raise environmental awareness among youth and to improve the ecological environment in the district. As part of the campaign, 100 pine trees were planted.
Members of the Tovuz Advisory Council established under the Tovuz District Executive Authority created a park area and installed sports equipment (horizontal bar, wall ladder, parallel bars, swings).
Members of the Khazar Advisory Council established under the Khazar District Executive Authority carried out a park restoration project to improve knowledge of ecology among youth and to promote the importance of ecological sustainability in the district.
Turana Zeynalli, a member of the Shamkir Advisory Council established under the Shamkir District Executive Authority, shares her impressions of the project: “I made new friends through this project. I participated eagerly in each of the organized trainings and gained knowledge and skills. I think the trainings and projects we implemented have been successful, and we are entering a new stage in the development of our youth.”
“Establishment of Local Youth Advisory Councils in Five Districts” programme is implemented by the National Assembly of Youth Organizations of the Republic of Azerbaijan (NAYORA) with the financial support of the European Union and the technical support of the Ministry of Youth and Sports of the Republic of Azerbaijan and UNICEF Azerbaijan.
The content of this story is the sole responsibility of UNICEF and does not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.