UNICEF, UK Government launch peacebuilding program for youth in Kyrgyzstan

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BISHKEK (TCA) — A new programme for youth and children to build social cohesion and prevent violence was announced on July 18 in Bishkek by the Government of Kyrgyzstan, the UK’s Department for International Development and UNICEF.

The four-year £1.95 million ($2.5 million) programme will take place in border areas in Batken and Jalal-abad, as well as in Issyk-Ata and Karakol, UNICEF Bishkek said. The programme will promote social cohesion and respect for child rights, while helping to reduce inequity and prevent future conflict. The announcement was made by Vice-Prime-Minister of the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic Jenish Razzakov, Her Majesty’s Ambassador to the Kyrgyz Republic Robin Ord-Smith and UNICEF Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia Afshan Khan.

“Adolescents are essential to achieving peace and prosperity. This new programme will help create safer communities and increase understanding across borders by protecting the rights of young people and ensuring their opinions are included in decisions that affect their lives,” said UNICEF Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia Afshan Khan. “This will not only benefit young people themselves, but society as a whole and future generations.”

The programme will standardize civic education so adolescents learn the tools to think and respond to social issues. Young people will then be given opportunities to contribute to community planning and decision making to support local administrators develop Youth and Child Friendly municipalities and districts.

“The programme, wich includes multi-lingual education, improving access to child justice and building the capacity of local government, will play a crucial role in building social cohesion and preventing violence. Together we will help Kyrgyz youth develop a more tolerant and resilient outlook, as well as gaining skills to succeed in life,” said Robin Ord-Smith, British Ambassador to Kyrgyzstan.

Multi-lingual education will be extended to preschools and schools and youth justice systems will be strengthened. The programme will also prioritize reaching the most vulnerable girls and boys with essential services such as psychological support, legal assistance and specialized care for those who have experienced violence and abuse.

Sergey Kwan

TCA