The participation of young people in USIP (United States Institute of Peace) project shows that young people who take part in such projects are able to capitalize their potential and see to fruition of their ideas. Likewise, they have learned to initiate and resolve problems in their community. For example, more than 100 people have been able to open their own business having taken part in USIP projects, helping to create jobs for other young people. There are young people who were able to attract good rates of investment to kindergartens, schools, and even social infrastructure. The fundamental reason for youth participation in projects is connected to the fact that the projects provide them with opportunities to realize their potential and also finance youth projects.
Since the collapse of Soviet Union in 1991, when Kyrgyzstan seceded from the Union and became a sovereign nation, most rural areas lost funding from Moscow. As a result, most of the social infrastructure was destroyed, abandoned or privatized. Due to Kyrgyz Government’s inability to financially support its Soviet-era obligations, unofficially over one million (out of 6 million) residents migrated out of the country. Staggering unemployment rates, growing illiteracy and religious radicalization, the mass exodus from rural areas to urban areas are the biggest problems that most of the target communities within the project face.
The youth of another rural community of Kuu-Maidan, Nookat district, Osh region through the training of USIP project created a Youth Council that conducted activities to uncover local youth’s fundamental issues. The results showed 20 such issues. A public hearing among youth organized by Youth Council established that the lack of recreational and sports facilities within the municipality led to Youth crime, unnecessary idleness, and religious radicalization. Youth Council Members developed an Action Plan to build a small park and a soccer field and approached the Local Government with their ideas. Local Government after series of talks and negotiations supported the Youth initiatives and allotted a land next to the municipal building for the park and pledged funds to plant trees and install benches. Currently, Youth Council members having obtained a land from the local government are applying for grants to buy artificial grass and necessary equipment for the mini-soccer field.
Within the framework of USIP the ‘Strengthening inter-ethnic relation and resolving problems of communities in the south of Kyrgyzstan’ project implemented by EFCA, most of the participants acknowledged that the implementation of projects and programs had a dramatic impact on improving the living conditions of the target communities. As a result of the training, the majority of participants received information on their rights and obligations, available municipal and state services, the rights of labor migrants and other useful information. It was also notable that the social infrastructure of villages is improving, mini business facilities are being opened, and the majority is learning to write business and social projects in the framework of projects and programs.