Building a dialogue between youth and the local governors
About regional consultations conducted by UNICEF, "Yuksalish" and Youth Union
UNICEF in partnership the nationwide Movement ‘Yuksalish’ are conducting a series of regional consultations between young people and local governors. These dialogues play a key role in making youth policy effective and responsive to the needs of young people.
As Shavkat Mirziyoyev, President of the Republic of Uzbekistan stated, “dialogue with people is not a temporary campaign, as someone may think. It is a priority of the state policy, its constant focus. In Uzbekistan, where 60 percent of the population is below 30 years old, dialogue with people is primarily a dialogue with youth.”
The first two youth consultations were undertaken in Nukus and Urgench. In total 69 young people of 14-30 years old from different regions of Karakalpakstan and Khorezm participated in the activities on the preparation of youth consultations and then in the meeting with local authorities.
Over the first two days, participants formulated their needs to fulfill their potential today and in the future. Young people identified challenges they and their peers face in their everyday life, as well as root causes of those. The main task was to propose solutions in which they can contribute themselves.
In both regions, proposals of young people showed their creativity and empathy towards their communities. They suggested to focus on rural areas, enrich libraries with more books, volunteer to help poorer families. Boys and girls also underlined their needs such as spaces for leisure and sport, learning from successful people and learning ICT skills to be successful in future. They expressed readiness to help in making cities clean and safe.
“We need to ensure that equal attention is given to all young people, not just the obviously gifted and talented. They get scholarships and grants, but other students may have undiscovered abilities and they also need support to realize their potential,” Zuxra Ganieva (21 years old, Nukus).
After two days of analysis and discussions young people presented a number of ideas on how to provide more opportunities to fulfill their potential. They presented their ideas to the Deputy Chairman of the Council of Ministers on Youth Issues, Deputy Hhokim on Youth Issues, representatives of ministries, academia and mass media. Their proposals included establishment of Career Centers at all universities could bridge graduates and labour market and to provide skills required for finding a job. Students also can teach their peers if special-needs language and ICT education centers are established.
Young people are keen to develop volunteerism in their regions and promote it on a system level. Decision makers appreciated the suggestions of young people to build book corners in the airports and at railway stations, which would promote reading culture among youth; provide psychological support for adolescents addicted to alcohol, drugs, computer games, gambling as well as their parents.
Considering ecological environment of Karakalpakstan and Khorezm young people shared their ideas raise awareness amongst young people on ecological problems and their consequences, through creation of youth eco clubs. This was considered to be critical in light of the ecological situation of Karalkalpakstan and Khorezm.
Another focus was well-being of youth, so young people suggested to build youth-friendly spaces, including parks with bicycle lanes, street workout. They also underlined importance of organizing traditional festivals in innovative way, including night exhibition in Savitsky museum, fashion parade by young local designers, and local food contest.
After presentations by young people, local decision-makers expressed their commitment to support the ideas of young people.
“Young people are not like us, they think differently. We will change our methods in order to work with young people,” Kahraman Sariev, Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Uzbekistan.
“Thank you for giving us an opportunity to express our opinion, to make our voices heard. This opportunity motivates us to act, to make changes ourselves,” said Shahodat Sadullayeva (20 years old, Urgench).
Following the presentations, the UN Joint Programme on Aral Sea discussed with the ecology group of young people how to put their plan into practice. A week later, young people conducted a two-day environmental campaign in four local schools in Karakalpakstan. It was focused on the environmental issues, with a preliminary assessment of children's knowledge in this area. As a result of the campaign, schoolchildren enthusiastically volunteered to create school environmental clubs in order to share information and ideas with their peers.
“Without these youth consultations and without the support of the UN Joint Program, it would be difficult to achieve anything,” said Gyuzel Khasanova (18 years old, Nukus). “My team was surprised by the response, but we began to move towards our goal – the development of environmental responsibility. Seeing the interest from the students, their initiative and their desire to help, it became clear that the topic of ecology should be developed, young people should be given the opportunity to help and be useful for their region, for the country.”
Next consultations will be conducted in Muynak and Fergana valley later this year.