More than 20,000 young Kazakhstanis, including the most vulnerable, have acquired unique business skills

How UNICEF Kazakhstan and the Ministry of Information and Social Development of the Republic of Kazakhstan help teenagers realise themselves in their future profession under the SAMGAU programme

12 May 2022
UNICEF Kazakhstan 2022
UNICEF Kazakhstan 2022

On May 11 and 12, 2022, representatives of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the Ministry of Information and Social Development of the Republic of Kazakhstan visited educational institutions in Karaganda and the Karaganda region to get acquainted with the results of the implementation of SAMGAU (Samgau) programme to strengthen social entrepreneurship skills among adolescents and youth, using advanced experiential learning methods. Total in 2020-2021 over 20,000 young people have taken part in the program and learned how to turn their ideas into real projects.

SAMGAU is the youth program of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). In Kazakhstan, it is implemented in partnership with the Community of Youth Workers with the support of ministries of labor and social protection of the population, information and social development. The program is aimed at developing and strengthening the skills of adolescents and youth to create innovative social projects. Particular attention is paid to the involvement in the project of adolescents from vulnerable groups (young people with HIV and other chronic diseases, with disabilities, left without parental care). In addition, the program provides young people with special support and guidance in the implementation of socially important projects.

“It is very important for us to hear the opinion of young people, understand their needs and speak the same language with them. We are making efforts to transfer the activities of the Ministry to a service model to support youth initiatives. That is why we welcome projects like Samgau, which strengthen skills and enable ideas to be implemented locally, especially in rural areas, and we are grateful to our partners for this. We plan to jointly strengthen the potential of youth resource centers, work in this area is already underway,” - said Alexander Danilov, Vice Minister of Information and Social Development of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

SAMGAU is the local version of the global UPSHIFT program, which is built on a methodology that is applicable in different countries, taking into account the characteristics of local culture and effectively adapts to local characteristics. In Kazakhstan, the methodology combines online training to strengthen transferable life skills, workshops on innovation, mentoring, and small grants to pilot the solutions developed. It aims to empower vulnerable youth and adolescents to become social innovators. Using the latest teaching methods, the program teaches young people how to build business plans, properly allocate a budget, build a team, find mistakes and ways to correct them in the future.

“Working with youth and developing the necessary skills at an early stage is extremely important for the future of young people, their effective economic inclusion and in society. The SAMGAU program responds to the priority of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan K.K. Tokayev of creating conditions for increased business initiatives of young people and vulnerable population, that he expressed during his speech at a meeting of the Majilis of the Parliament of the Republic of Kazakhstan in January this year. Today in Karaganda and Karkaralinsk we saw wonderful projects achieved by students thanks to the SAMGAU program. I trust that our program will provide a solid basis for Youth resource centers' work throughout Kazakhstan and contribute greatly to the development of Kazakhstani youth,”- said Laetitia Bazzi-Veil, Deputy Representative of UNICEF Kazakhstan.

During the May visit, 4 educational institutions of the cities of Karaganda and Karkaralinsk became the object of attention.

In the orphanage for children with disabilities (Karaganda), 24 teenagers took part in the 1st stage of the program - transferred life skills, and 7 of them in the subsequent stages and created two teams. Already in the next academic year, they will begin the 3-stage - a three-month mentoring program on two of their own projects.

At Karaganda Secondary School No. 48, 23 students took part in the 1st stage of the program - teaching life skills in an online format, and at the moment two teams are completing a three-month mentoring program on their projects: a performance on an environmental theme and the creation of a school "green corner”. Mentors of these teams are representatives of EPAM Kazakhstan.

“I was very happy to meet the guys and see their wonderful projects being carried out thanks to the Samgau programme. It was also very pleasant to know that children in the orphanage and in the secondary school are interested in chess, and in both places they have the opportunity to attend chess sections. It was great to play with them and talk to them, to hear their goals for future career,” - commented Dinara Saduakassova, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in Kazakhstan, four-time world chess champion.

In the regional special boarding school No. 1 for children with visual disabilities, UNICEF, with the support of the Asian Society for the Rights of People with Disabilities "Zhan" NGO and EPAM Kazakhstan, launched the project "Development of digital and other skills in children with visual disabilities." The goal of the project is to develop digital skills in children and adolescents with visual disabilities and prepare them for their further participation in the SAMGAU program.

In the Youth Resource Center (YRC) of the city of Karkaralinsk, SAMGAU graduates presented the program office and spoke about the development strategy for 2021-2022, main activities and ongoing projects. The participants shared their experience of participation in the professional development programs for youth workers and in the voluntary certification program “Quality Mark for Youth Resource Centers “Jastar belgisi”.

Boarding school No. 44 (Karkaralinsk) has been participating in Samgau since 2021. So, 25 students successfully completed the first stage, 10 teenagers remained to pass the next ones, and a team of 4 participants even received a small grant and is currently running its project "Prodlenka" to help with studies for elementary school students living in a boarding school.

In parallel with the main goal of the program - developing the skills of adolescents and young people necessary for social innovation and entrepreneurship and strengthening future opportunities and job creation - the SAMGAU program positively affects local communities of young people, unlocking the future potential of the region.

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