Deserving Futures: Inspire Youth to Action

The Problem

Kyrgyzstan is a small land-locked mountanious nation in Central Asia. Issyk-Kul is one of the 7 provinces of Kyrgyzstan. During the soviet times, the Issyk-Kul lake was a premier destination for tourists. Since that time, the infrastructure has started to crumble but economic activity still centers around tourism which no longer provides economic stability for the locals in this oblast. Unemployment is relatively low during the summer. However, for 9 months out of the year unemployment can be as high as 65%. The population of the north shore of Issyk-Kul is 61,000 and 31.5% of the population live in poverty. During the Soviet era, the government worked to make sure the needs of all citizens were met. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, people kept looking to the government for solutions to their problems; but the government was no longer willing or able to meet their needs. Twenty years later, people only look out for themselves, without any community cohesion, when working together would solve many of their issues. The biggest problem facing Kyrgyzstan is apathy. The schools in Kyrgyzstan lack after-school activities and there is no incentive for youth to be active in the community. As a result towns and villages continue to decline in ways that could be solved by simple volunteerism. By getting students and young people involved in projects to improve their communities, they will be able to develop stable skills which they can use without needing outside resources, and which will inspire people to work together.

Plan of Action

The goal of our project is to provide youth the skills and knowlege to become leaders in their communities, begin their own volunteer committees, and engage their peers community based projects. This project will be for a seminar for 30 motivated, enthusiastic students from 18 villages within a distance of 70 miles (114km). During the sessions participants will be taught project management skills, how to create work plans, how to assess community needs, and inspire eachother to complete successful projects. We will have a follow-up conference in the spring in which youth can report back and discuss what has worked and what hasn't in their own villages, and to get help from eachother with future projects. Each of these conference participants will be expected to return to their village and inspire other youth to become active as well. We hope that by the follow-on seminar, our participants will have connected with a total at least 450 other youth encouraging them to be active. Our our overall goal is to get communities to join forces and invest in themselves, improving the quality of life for their residents.

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