Youth work: key to development
Title: Prospects for Youth
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Lead executing agency: State Agency for Youth Affairs, Physical Culture and Sports under the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic
Overall term: 2019 to 2022
One third of Kyrgyzstan’s population comprises young people between 14 and 28 years of age. The quality of training is poor and generally does not meet the requirements of the labour market. This means young people have very limited opportunities to gain economic independence. More than 70 per cent of young people live in rural areas, and for many of them access to infrastructure, university education and vocational training is limited. This results in a high rate of migration to the capital city Bishkek and to other countries.
The policy framework in the field of youth affairs is weak and not fit for the future. There are few national or local strategies to promote youth work. Compared with other areas, the topic of youth is a low political priority in Kyrgyzstan. The State Agency for Youth Affairs, Physical Culture and Sports lacks human and financial resources.
Over the past few years, non-governmental organisations (NGO) that work with young people and youth initiatives have revived their activities. However, many of them have little experience in youth work. There is still a lack of permanent, effective structures for youth work and youth promotion throughout the country. Young people have limited opportunities to participate in the country’s social, economic and political life.
The implementation of policies and measures to strengthen the economic and social participation of young people has been improved.
The project works in 20 municipalities in the four northern regions of Kyrgyzstan – Chui, Issyk-Kul, Naryn and Talas. It builds on the results achieved in predecessor projects and strengthens the capacities of governmental and non-governmental institutions in the youth sector. One focus of the project is on employment promotion and economic participation of young people.
To begin with, the project is promoting cooperation and exchange among responsible administrations, NGOs, the private sector and local and national interest groups in the youth sector. The project also improves cross-cutting cooperation on youth work among government agencies, ministries, civil society and other stakeholders. This allows financing opportunities and human resources to be deployed more efficiently. A long-term concept, the Youth Development Concept 2020-2030, is to be developed together with young people.
The project is also active in the municipalities. They are encouraged to participate in intensive exchanges with young people to allow the issues and requirements of youth to be taken into account better when making decisions. Digital communication methods are also used for this. This applies, for example, to budgets for youth work. Measures for youth promotion are to be added to the municipalities’ development plans so that more money is available in the municipalities for youth-related services. Local youth councils are being trained in individual municipalities to review implementation and participate in future planning.
In order to achieve long-term positive effects, the programme places an emphasis on building the capacities of local, regional and national youth stakeholders. To this end, the project supports certified training courses for youth specialists employed by the government as well as youth leaders of NGOs and young activists. Youth NGOs also receive support to strengthen their organisation, their ability to manage projects and their cooperation with other stakeholders.
To improve employment opportunities, the project promotes offers by local youth NGOs that focus on the development of labour-market related skills for young people. Employment promotion projects receive financial assistance, advice and training. Priority areas are innovative topics and projects in business sectors with growth potential. In Kyrgyzstan, these include IT, tourism and the textile industry. The experience and skills gained create prospects for the young people, who can put their projects into practice and learn to cooperate with various stakeholders, including the private sector and the municipal administrations.