Skills and innovation – two ingredients of tomorrow’s successful youth in Tajikistan
Peshsaf forum brought best and brightest adolescents to address most pertinent issues faced by youth in their communities
Music, mingling, hundreds of curious questions and thousands of thorough answers, passionate smiles, surprised faces of officials and proud eyes of adolescents and youth. This is what you couldn’t experience if you missed the first ever National PESHSAF (UPSHIFT) Forum in Dushanbe. Adolescents and youth from all over the country came to celebrate the World Skills Day and to showcase how the 21st century skills coupled with innovation can contribute to the positive change in the lives of adolescents and their communities.
The Forum gave an opportunity for adolescents and youth to get in one room with government officials, development partners and key figures from the private sector to open a constructive debate over their space in the development of the country. It aimed at demonstrating that although the world of today is rapidly changing and job markets are progressing in an unprecedented tempo making it hard to predict the future, investments in soft skills of young people is a solution for predictability of their sustainable life. The central message of the Forum was to showcase that “although we do not know the jobs of the future, we know what skills will be required for these jobs”.
The Forum showcased the best innovative solutions that adolescents and youth developed through four-month participation in social innovation PESHSAF programme. The programme teaches skills and provides opportunities for social innovation enterprise to youth engaged at Innovation Labs placed at the government-led Centers for Additional Education and Youth Centers in 8 towns of districts of Tajikistan. 20 best innovative solutions made their way to the PESHSAF expo.
In culmination, five most promising solutions to community problems were pitched by young people to the audience.
The winning team, Dono presented an application aimed at providing online learning opportunity for adolescents and youth with a focus on adolescents with disabilities.
The team Second Life presented their eco puffs made out of plastic bottles to save the environment.
The team Mahorat from Asht district presented Simple Apricot Picket – an innovative solution that is aimed at easing the life of farmers and making collection of apricots both easier and cheaper.
A team Payravon from Danghara University that earlier entered the team of semi-finalists of the international co-creation contest under the Generation Unlimited showed how their innovation – offline tablet-based skills education for children with disabilities - benefited young people with disabilities in learning skills and creating their own social enterprise.
“I was feeling desperate and close to losing hope, but since I got involved in this project, I became independent and financially secure. I do not have to ask my family for money to cover my education and living costs any longer and it makes me extremely happy. I feel excited that I cover all my expenses myself”.
The results of PESHSAF social innovation programme ran across the Innovation Labs showed that adolescent and youth of Tajikistan have a passion and skills to resolve the pertinent issues in their communities. The issues they explored included hygiene, education and skills for people with disabilities, environment and plastic waste reduction, agro-processing, efficient use of water, heating and others. Most importantly, they developed innovative solutions to these issues – solutions that have not been thought about yet. They have managed to not only build their skills, but introducing the notion of social enterprise to solve the pertinent issues of their own lives and communities.
PESHSAF programme contributes to the global partnership on youth empowerment “Generation Unlimited” by building 21st century skills and skills for employment among young people in Tajikistan. It equally helps adolescents and youth to acknowledge the importance of soft skills for 21st century. The Government of Tajikistan acknowledged PESHSAF programme as one of the successful skills building and innovation programmes and requested further support in expanding the coverage of adolescent and youth with it.
Skills for future and opportunities for social enterprise will be provided further through PESHAF programme at Innovation Labs across the country. UNICEF will support the Ministry of Education and Science and Committee on Youth Affairs and Sports in creation of Innovation Labs in new districts of the country to benefit the lives of adolescent girls and boys.
PESHSAF is an adapted social innovation programme in Tajikistan that is built on the basis of global USPHIFT programme supported by UNICEF in 15 countries of the world. In Tajikistan PESHSAF reached about 5000 adolescents and youth with skills-building up to date and enabled creation of 60 innovative solutions by marginalized adolescents.