What Makes the Turkmen Youth Tick?
Young people with diverse backgrounds presented their social innovation project during the Leadership Academy and Innovation Lab this week.
Young people with diverse backgrounds who joined their hands during the Leadership Academy and Innovation Lab this week presented the social innovation projects on health, environment, inclusiveness, youth participation and education. This was the pilot Leadership Academy and Innovation Lab in the capital and this year the project will be held in all five velayats with focus on rural girls.
The Leadership Academy and Innovation Lab was organized by UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, jointly with the Ministry of Education and Youth Organization, and with support of British Embassy in Turkmenistan. The Academy serves as a platform to create an enabling environment to empower adolescents, to understand their rights, promote creative thinking and foster civic responsibility through development of social innovation projects.
Participants included university students, high school students, young activists of the existing youth centers of the Youth Organization of Turkmenistan and Union of Economists, students from the Dowletliler orphanage, young professionals of the Academy of Science of Turkmenistan, as well as at-risk youth.
During the four days of the Academy, young leaders went through intensive leadership training, which helped them gain the skills in creative and analytical thinking, thinking outside of the box, working in teams, constructively and freely expressing their views and ideas. The programme of the Academy included a debate tournament, where the participants followed the Karl Popper format with very little preparation time. On the last day of the Academy, the participants were surprised with the Ideation workshop, where the young leaders brainstormed and generated social innovation products or idea models.
Four projects were prototyped and presented to the jury composed of the British Ambassador to Turkmenistan, heads and representatives of UNFPA, Ministry of Education of Turkmenistan, Youth Organization of Turkmenistan and the Union of Economists.
The winning social innovation project presented the urgent need for a safe and creative space for Turkmen youth, where they can unleash their creative and leadership potential and talents. The team proposed a collaborative space (google-office style space) to serve as an Innovation Hub for Turkmen youth, where a myriad of activities and programmes can be realized using the platform.“The issues raised today are very high on political agenda of Turkmenistan,” said Mr. Sapargeldi Durdyev.
“We have spent very little time here, but already were able to observe the enthusiasm, the energy and talent of our young people, and it makes us happy. Having an innovative idea is a wonderful thing – but it is more important that the idea is realized. The partners who joined to organize and support this Leadership Academy and Innovation Lab will be with you in making your ideas and project plans possible.”
Turkmenistan is home to more than two million young people aged 10 to 29, which make up more than 40 percent of the country’s population,” said Ms. Bayramgul Garabayeva, UNFPA Assistant Representative.
This means that these young people will largely drive and live with the outcomes of the Sustainable Development Goals. Investing in their education, health and rights is critical to achieving every single one of these goals. The Youth Policy Law of Turkmenistan, developed with UNFPA support, opens up opportunities for young people in the area of youth participation.
Promoting youth leadership and participation is key to UNFPA’s work. The partnership with the Government of Turkmenistan aims to enable young people, with strong focus on girls, to develop the skills, knowledge and support needed to make a positive contribution in the lives of their families, communities and country.