In the press
Online volunteers bring new perspectives to Kyrgyzstan youth policy
Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan and Perth, Australia: Volunteers engaged via the UNV Online Volunteering service have been helping to design youth policy for the Government of Kyrgyzstan
UNV and UNDP run an Integrated Youth Programme in Kyrgyzstan that aims to involve youth, especially young women, in developing state youth policy. The programme mobilizes youth volunteers at the local level for community development and peacebuilding, and is also working towards a policy 'White Paper'.
The White Paper sets out clear and achievable recommendations for state youth policy, including youth community development and peacebuilding initiatives linked to the UN's Millennium Development Goals. It also aims to develop a national youth volunteer network.
The White Paper will effectively be a foundation of relations between the Kyrgyzstan Government and the country's youth, and builds on an earlier 'Green Paper' online volunteers engaged via the UNV Online Volunteering service assisted with in 2006. The expertise of online volunteers has been invaluable again with the White Paper.
In addition to general Russian-to-English translation work for the UNV-UNDP youth programme, online volunteers such as Bev Byron from Australia made a great impact on the content of the White Paper drafts. "The work is challenging and time consuming but immensely rewarding," says Ms. Byron, a PhD student studying Political Science at Curtin University of Technology in Perth, Australia, "I think it is vital that resourced countries and people with training and skills contribute on every level at every opportunity."
National UNV volunteer Bakytbek Azimbaev, who works on the joint UNV-UNDP youth programme in Kyrgyzstan, says, "The online volunteers' assignments for the White Paper made a significant contribution. We needed to obtain a positive outlook from outside our country in order to see the differences between our expectations and the online volunteers’ point of view." Online volunteers are especially helpful, he says, "because they think from a different perspective".
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