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Could access early childhood care and education in one-third of countries in 2011.
Youth Act for Community Impact: Mobilizing, Educating and Inspiring Young People
Over the past few months, there has been an increasing discussion on the importance of connecting the youth and decision-makers, and strengthening the ties between youth in community development in Uzbekistan. UNICEF and Association for Support Children and Families (ASCF) have been working together on these matters for many years now, and the journey continues.
On 8-16 August UNICEF and ASCF, with support from the Federation of Trade Unions of Uzbekistan, organized a workshop for young people. The camp is the initial step in the joint initiative entitled ‘Youth Participation in Community Development”. The Youth Union of Uzbekistan is also involved to scale up the initiative in the country.
41 adolescents from all regions of Uzbekistan came together in the summer camp to enhance their life skills and improve their understanding of children’s rights, so that they can influence positive changes in their communities.
During the interactive sessions, participants engaged in discussions around various challenges they and their peers face in their daily lives, and how they can contribute their energy and talents to resolve them. It was highlighted that there is a need for the youth to engage with adults and decision-makers.
“A few days of the workshop gave me more knowledge and useful skills than I was able to obtain in 15 years of my life,” – shares his impressions Asadbek Madaminov from Andijan. “It was an amazing experience. I gained self-confidence and effective problem-solving skills, which I am sure I will start applying once I am back to my home city,” – he concludes.
At the workshop, the participants defined the most pertinent issues they think should be resolved in their communities. They developed over 20 proposals on how these issues could be addressed, including the action plans to be carried out at community, district and regional levels in the next few months.
“My group mates and I chose an important topic for our region: establishing a mobile youth theatre,” – says Mukhlisa from Khorezm. “Once we establish it, we can engage children, including from disadvantaged families, who want to act, and will reach out to our peers with the socially meaningful plays. We do have theatres for adults but young people lack opportunities to join the wonderful world of arts. Our proposal goes to our local Music School, Makhalla Committee, Youth Union, Writers’ Union, and local authorities to help us establish the theatre. We believe this project will make the ties among community, schools and families stronger.” – Mukhlisa adds.
Just like Asadbek and Mukhlisa, the rest of the participants are full of energy and enthusiasm, as they head back home. Upon returning to their regions, they will work with their peers and decision-makers until November, to finalize and implement their action plans. They will also organize the information sessions for their peers around children’s rights, and discuss various ways to make youth participation in community development more meaningful.
They all meet again in Tashkent on 20th November – the Universal Children’s Day. They will to present the outcomes of their work to the Parliament. These young people will also share their views and recommendations how youth can be more active in shaping up positive social values among their peers and the ways they can contribute to the future prosperity of the nation.
UNICEF and ASCF will continue engaging with the Youth Union, Parliament and other partners to ensure that the youth participation contributes to effective governance, and that platforms for young people to express their views are established and sustained.