Since January 2010, the EFCA in partnership with a core group of local NGOs has been implementing a 30-month project entitled, “Youth Rights, Inclusion and Political Engagement in Southern Kyrgyzstan” with the overall goal to achieve greater political participation and empowerment of young people, promote the observance of youth rights and create a more inclusive and pluralistic Kyrgyz society. The project that covers selected communities in Osh, Jalalabat, and Batken oblasts is funded by the EU, USAID, and the New Zealand Embassy in Moscow.
The project pursues the goal through achievement of two objectives. The first objective is to promote interaction and awareness among young people in the south of Kyrgyzstan, and respect for their rights. Therefore the EFCA has been engaging these youths in constructive activities to help their communities while promoting interaction and cooperation between youth from different backgrounds, and training them in awareness of rights, leadership and civic participation. As well as empowering young people as agents of change through a rights-based approach, the EFCA has been partnering with local authorities and civil society at every stage to build their capacity to protect the rights of young people and understand the needs and potential of young people in their communities.
The second objective is to build young people’s political participation and engagement with local authorities. Research by the EFCA has shown that young people in the target communities rarely trust the local authorities and are unaware of their rights. In order to promote political participation and empower young people, the EFCA has been conducting a series of activities that train young people in government processes and leadership, and support these young leaders in conducting outreach and research to find out what issues are most important for them. Following debate and exchange the youth drafted their own alternative local youth programs, before presenting them to local authorities and civil society. Young people in the communities therefore saw that they can make a difference and local authorities were able to respond to their needs.
The project’s expected outcomes include:
To implement the project, the EFCA partners with NGOs Leilek Daanyshmany (Isfana), Development of Young Citizens (J-Abad) and the Human Rights and Democracy Centre (HRDC, Osh) and leads community mobilization and implementation of local activities. All 3 have a youth and human rights focus, and have existing strong links in the target communities.
It is expected that all 65,000 young people living in the eight communities will benefit from local activities. Approximately 800,000 young people across southern Kyrgyzstan will potentially benefit through the work of the Youth Rights Support Network. Society in general will benefit from the increased contribution of youth to the economic, social and political life of the country.
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