Peace and friendship do not have nation, colour and religion

Peacebuilding Youth Forum for adolescents from bordering districts of Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan

S. Shokamolova
kyrgyz and tajik adolescents smiling
UNICEF Tajikistan/ 2019/ S. Shokamolova
07 August 2019

In June 2019, the Youth Forum brought together young people from Isfara and B. Gafurov districts of Tajikistan and Batken and Leilek districts of Kyrgyzstan to showcase the vital role that young people play in strengthening the social cohesion and intercommunal conviviality with their peacebuilding competencies. 

"I thought all Tajik boys were aggressive. I was standing nervously at the border with the flag to wait for the Tajik team to come. But when I saw their smiles, I relaxed".

Janara Abdikhalilova, from Leilek, Kyrgyzstan
boy and girl laughing
UNICEF Tajikistan/ 2019/ S. Shokamolova

This forum is part of an initiative on cross-border cooperation for peace and development that is implemented in border districts of Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan with the financial support of UN Peacebuilding Fund.  Activities under this initiative has built peacebuilding competencies and skills for innovation among 753 Tajik and Kyrgyz adolescents, supported adolescents in developing 12 innovative solutions for promoting intercommunal tolerance, engaged adolescents in 2 cross-border cultural exchange events, including media camp under the slogan “Messages for peace” that produced 15 adolescent-authored media products on peace and tolerance.

girls presenting napkins
UNICEF Tajikistan/ 2019/ S. Shokamolova
The team from Histevarz, Tajikistan has invented an eco-friendly way of producing paper napkins. The guys collect scrap paper and send it to the local paper recycling manufacture. Look what kind of ‘peace’ napkins they produced!
boys showcasing their product
UNICEF Tajikistan/ 2019/ S. Shokamolova
Daniil Talaibeg believes that business and cross border trade contribute to peace. This project is part of the youth-led solutions that originated during the cross-border UPSHIFT program for adolescents from two countries.

 “Platforms, such as this Forum brings together adolescent’s girls and boys who become friends, learn about each other, come up with new ideas that in result contributes towards better social co-existence and inter-communal relations. This is how adolescent become agents of social cohesion in their communities and bring positive change” - said Khushbakht Hojiev, Head of adolescent Programme of UNICEF Tajikistan. 

pbf forum
UNICEF Tajikistan/ 2019/ S. Shokamolova
During the joint Upshift cycle, a team from Khistevarz, Tajikistan came up with a game called "Let's play and create friendship". Board games like these aimed at facilitating kinship between youth from two countries, while developing their skills.

Adolescent girls and boys from both countries took a center stage during the Forum, leading sessions, moderating panel discussions, showcasing best examples of cross-border collaboration and also conveying message of peace and friendship with their peers and public from across the border. By the end of the Forum, adolescents and young people from the two countries concluded that they, if given a chance, can play a bigger role in building social cohesion and improving cross-border cooperation through their active engagement and meaningful participation in the lives of their society.