Young SDG Ambassadors in Turkmenistan as Champions of today’s world
In the modern world it is crucial to take into account the diversity and power of all generations to effect constructive change.
In the modern world, when there are eight billion people on the planet, it is crucial to take into account the diversity and power of all generations to effect constructive change. In light of this, and in consideration of the Agenda 2030, which was adopted in 2015 and defines the global priorities for sustainable development for our generation and represents an ambitious response from the international community to the most pressing global issues of development, the special role of young people becomes increasingly apparent.
As it may seem initially, the term of Sustainable Development Goals may be referred only to policy makers or government officials, but in fact SDGs are all about bringing inputs by everyone and indeed leaving no one behind. That is why, when considering promotion of sustainable development, we must analyze the roles of young people in this process. Numerous researches and the real practice demonstrate us that only positive consequences emerge from the active participation of young people. This allows us to identify the main roles of youth such as critical thinkers, catalysts of changes, innovators, communicators, leaders and many more.
“We are very happy that we have such an inclusive platform such as Young Sustainable Development Goals Ambassadors in Turkmenistan endorsed by the United Nations Office and the Government of Turkmenistan. It helps us translate our vision of development into reality and convert our ambitious ideas into actions. In this process, I use the power of music as my tool to deliver my message. Also, I'm proud to have worked with the British Embassy and young activists to co-organize the first ever Climate and Environment festival in Turkmenistan, which took place in Ashgabat. The festival sought to encourage environmental awareness and community-led climate action throughout Turkmenistan. It is wonderful that many young people who demonstrated their excitement for eco-life were present at the event that attracted over a thousand individuals”, says Sabrina Guseynova, Young SDG Ambassador for Climate action and Regional winner of UNDRR “Sing for Resilience” competition.
Young SDG ambassadors in Turkmenistan are selected through the competitive process and when such pioneers of social changes form their group, they are provided with plenty opportunities for personal and professional growth.
“As an ambassador for Goal 6 on water and sanitation, I had an amazing opportunity to participate at the professional children's forum on climate change organized in Ankara, Türkiye in November 2022. I was motivated not only by fruitful conversations and discussions with my fellow Young Water activists, but I also got inspired by the meeting with the First Lady of Türkiye who equally supports young people and advocates for positive changes. This was indeed a life-changing opportunity for me. In addition, as part of my SDG mission, I began delivering lectures to the first-year students of my university enrolled in the Water Diplomacy course. For me, it's more than just an extracurricular activity; it's an opportunity to use a platform to educate young people about conflict prevention, mediation and international agenda about water issues”, tells us Yupar Egirjayeva, Young SDG Ambassador for Goal 6, a student at the Institute of International Relations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan.
Young SDG Ambassadors in Turkmenistan cover their activities according to the specific goals that they have chosen in the beginning of their term. There is a spectrum of aspects that define their work and each of them decides on their own what sphere they would focus on during еtheir mission.
“There are 5 aspects that I love about being a youth ambassador: the ability to express myself, knowing to be needed, knowing that all good things happen now, and not sometime in the future, pride that I also contribute to changing the world, and that I have met such interesting and amazing activists. In light of this, I'm happy to report that I've written numerous articles for my university's newspaper that discuss gender equality and useful strategies for encouraging tolerance among young people. I hope to carry on this endeavor after using literature to educate my peers about this problem”, says Annabibi Baymuhammedova, Young SDG Ambassador for Gender Equality and Reduced Inequalities.
“It gives me great pleasure to announce that, as the winner of the 23rd F.F. Martens International Humanitarian Law Moot Court Competition, which was held in Moscow by the ICRC Regional Delegation, my team and I have organized training sessions at my university using a peer-to-peer approach to get the next generation of students ready to compete in this competition. We taught 35 students the fundamentals of human rights law and international humanitarian law during our training sessions. Building on this success, in the International Year of Dialogue as a Guarantee of Peace, working closely with UN in Turkmenistan, I will continue to contribute to the achievement of SDG 16 in our community with my knowledge, passion, capacity and strong will to bring more to this world”, shares his aspirations Nowruz Nurberdiyev, Young SDG Ambassador for Goal 16 and Coordinator of the Turkmenistan Team at UNICEF Central Asia Youth Partners Group.
“I do believe that superhumans exist in Turkmenistan and they are called Young SDG Ambassadors! We may not fly as superheroes, but I as promoter of Quality Education, I do have a power to promote youth awareness about my topic. Personally, as SDG Ambassador of Quality Education also as Graphic Designer, I use all capacities and opportunities that I have to educate students and all those people around me who want to study design tools, but may not have chances to do so. There is one room in my local area with computers, and I am using that room every day to give lessons for students for free. What I learn today I pass this knowledge to them. Also, I am happy to share that within my scope of work, my fellow SDG Ambassadors and I organized Food Fair for Older People among faculty students at the International University for the Humanities and Development where I study”, proudly shares her experience Selbi Shaylyeva, Young SDG Ambassador for Goal 4.
“Being an SDG Ambassador and representing Goal 4 "Quality Education" I would love to share the quote that has made a great impression on me and altered my life, "Education is the most powerful weapon with which you can change the world". It goes without saying, education plays an important role in our lives, because it's a passport for our future. In several months I have gained quite a lot of new and fascinating things. I strongly believe that if we pluck up our courage together, we as young people will promote the quality of education. In order to exchange ideas and have talks about the value of inclusive education among young people in society, I actively participated in the online bridge session between Turkmen State University, where I study, and foreign educational institutions. I also make it a point to encourage inclusivity in my workplace as an English language teacher”, says Jepbarberdi Gurbanmuradov, Young SDG Ambassador for Goal 4.
“With growing population, there is even more demand than supply in the global economy. This holds true for job markets as well. Women, refugees, people with disabilities, and young, enthusiastic people from low income families are deprived of the opportunity to land their dream jobs. As for me, we should create opportunities ourselves, and help to do the same for others. I'm also happy to report that in my role as the current cohort's social media manager, I concentrated on promoting chances for young people to grow personally and professionally. Additionally, I led a session with my fellows at the American Center to discuss academic and professional opportunities for people with disabilities to pursue”, reflects Mengli Veliyeva, Young SDG Ambassador for Goal 8 on decent work and economic growth, and the cohort’s social media manager.
The year of 2022 was a full of diverse events. It is delightful to observe that Youth Messengers engaged in this process both through the platform created by the UN and partners and the initiatives that were fully led by them - young people.
“As the SDG ambassadors we did a fantastic job collaborating with UN agencies. I really appreciate their dedication to our social and professional development. Special thanks goes to UNICEF for providing an unforgettable opportunity to take part in the youth conference in Uzbekistan! I hope, soon, we will be able to make our voices heard not only in the regional, but also on the international arena! Furthermore, I believe the best way to influence the world is by volunteering, so I'm happy to report that I committed to teach English to children at a local secondary school. Over the course of three months, I and my fellow volunteers taught 90 young people. We also succeeded in promoting the SDGs through an interactive approach and a peer-to-peer methodology”, shares her story Maral Allaberdyyeva, Young SDG Ambassador for Quality Education.
“Education is a fundamental human right and indispensable for achievement of many SDGs. That’s why I chose SDG 4 to promote it. I think that being an envoy for SDGs is a very moral position. I am delighted to be part of the SDG Turkmenistan team as I found peers with the same objectives, who always want to take actions. Past 6 month were full of many memories with joyful emotions. It was interesting and important for me to participate in every event, which was held by different UN Agencies and partners, where I learned about new aspects and took action together with my team. Moreover, as I am a student of IUHD (International University for the Humanities and Development), I can share one bright event, “The UN Session”, which we organized as Diplomats' Club at our University to promote Sustainable Development Goals, aimed at creating the next generation’s change makers. Being a Youth SDG Ambassador for me is a great opportunity to realize my goal and to improve the world around me”, declares Saida Halmamatova, Young SDG Ambassador for Quality Education.
“I am happy to share that the climate action that I stand for is not only limited to the actions to promote sustainability but it also refers to the issues of equality and inclusion. It was a special delight for me to attend the Inclusive Sports Festival organized in Ashgabat Olympic Village, and the Local Conference of Young People for Climate in Turkmenistan organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan, the British Embassy in Turkmenistan and the United Nations. I am particularly excited to share that as part of the Technovation Girls Program, I presented a series of sessions on climate action to girls aged 8 to 18 who participate to design tech solutions for community challenges. I am strongly assured that in a spirit of such productive cooperation we may and we will achieve many more impactful results”,remarks Gulshat Ayydova, Young SDG Ambassador Goals 12 and 13 and Coordinator of the Cohort.
“In my opinion, being SDG Ambassador is not only about activism, but it is also about enriching our academic background and enriching our knowledge to be able to leverage this information for activities in real life. It also helps me develop my public speaking skills and analytical thinking abilities. About my activities, I am glad that my team and I decided to run the "New Year Tree of Wishes" campaign in my university on New Year's Eve in order to help children who are in need and those with disabilities. All students of our university could randomly choose a card hung on the tree that had a child's name and a wish, and then offer a gift for that child. As a result, we visited the children at the Medical Educational Center in Ashgabat and had more than 600 gifts to give them”, states Shabibi Beshimova, Young SDG Ambassador for Gender Equality and No Poverty.
“I was very glad to broaden my horizons about the climate action which I promote as my goal of choice at capacity-building sessions organized by different entities at the UN especially for young people and youth ambassadors. I was then able to use this knowledge to promote my goal further at my university and campus. In regard to this, I am thrilled to announce that together with my fellow SDG Ambassadors, we initiated and led a fund-raising event to collect resources to buy food and hygiene items for children with disabilities at the local boarding school”, notes Enejan Achilova, Young SDG Ambassador for Climate Action.
The contribution of young people to the process of advancing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is fundamental to shaping the whole outcome. Described by former UN Secretary-General Ban-ki Moon as “Torchbearers of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”, there are many successful examples of young people contributing to the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The development of a highly educated, erudite, physically and morally healthy, intelligent young generation is one of the strategic tasks for the development of Turkmenistan which is in the Renaissance towards a powerful state. Given the huge decisive role in the further sustainable and comprehensive socio-economic development of the country, youth is a priority for the nation that is strengthening its position on the world stage.
Shukurgeldi Myradov, Coordinator of Young SDG Ambassadors in Turkmenistan, Youth Ambassador for Good Health and Well-being and Partnerships for Sustainable Development