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Engaging youth in Turkmenistan Go Back
 
Seventy young people aged 14 -16 recently gathered in the capital city Ashgabat to participate in the 2nd National Children's Forum. For two days, the young people discussed and recommended actions by which issues that affect their health, education and protection could be addressed by all concerned including the policymakers, program planners and local-level authorities.

“This two-day Forum is a key step in the process of engaging children and young people in advocating for policies that will ensure the realization of child rights in Turkmenistan,” said UNICEF Program Coordinator Regina Molera at the opening ceremony.

For participant Alexander Zasorin, 14, the Forum was an opportunity to present his views and those of other young people from his province, Mary, and to make sure that their views are heard by the Parliament that sits in Ashgabat.

Consultation meetings with young people from each of the five provinces of Akhal, Balkan, Dashoguz, Lebap and Mary were held prior to the National Forum in Ashgabat. This was done in order to ensure that the views of young people from other parts of the country are well represented. The consultation meetings were also an opportunity for the young people to select their representatives to the National Forum in Ashgabat.

Participation of young people is one of the key initiatives that UNICEF supports in partnership with the Youth Union and National Children's Fund of Turkmenistan.

“Young people make up almost half our country's population,” said UNICEF Social Policy Officer Shohrat Orazov. “UNICEF and the Government recognize the role that children and young people can play in promoting and protecting child rights in this country. By engaging young people in policy dialog and advocacy, we are in a way contributing to civil society development,” Mr. Orazov added.

Further equipping of children with knowledge on national and international legislation on child rights, engaging them into the policy making dialogs were among the key recommendations suggested by young participants.

Young people's recommendations will be presented at a round table meeting that will be organized with selected members of the Parliament towards the end of the year.

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