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.
Since 1991, Aral municipality of Nooken district, Jalal Abad region did not have a kindergarten, creating hardships for young families, particularly young mothers to hold a job. The Youth Council of Aral municipality, USIP project’s target community, within the framework of the ‘Strengthening inter-ethnic relation and resolving problems of communities in the south of Kyrgyzstan’s project, implemented by EFCA, created a plan of action to address the village’s socio-economic problems. Since last year, thanks to the initiative of USIP’s Youth Council members, this question has been raised at the local government. There was friction, as many were against the idea of opening a kindergarten in Orto-Sai. However, it was decided to allocate an old building for the kindergarten. After this, the Municipal Government drafted and won a stimulatory grant from Central Government to open a kindergarten, which was opened on December 26, 2016.
“If we work together, we are able to resolve our problems ourselves,” Youth Council leader, Mirulan Toktosunov. He also noted that the skills and knowledge acquired within the framework of this project had allowed them to conduct negotiations with the local authorities and local population and demonstrate the importance of resolving social issues.