Feature Story

Realizing the full leadership and creative potential of Turkmen youth

26 December 2016

UNFPA, United Nations Population Fund supports Y-PEER network in promoting healthy living, leadership and gender equality among peers

More than 26,000 young people, including adolescents, in Turkmenistan had an opportunity to reflect on their lifestyle and increase their knowledge on healthy and responsible living through peer-to-peer edutainment activities since the launch of Y-PEER movement in Turkmenistan.   Y-PEER volunteers, UNFPA-supported Youth Peer Education Network in Turkmenistan, have kept busy promoting healthy living and gender equality among their peers, despite the challenges of the year.

Y-PEER lead series of events and campaigns to empower young people using the peer-to-peer approach with the knowledge and skills to make healthy choices.  UNFPA recognizes peer-to-peer approach as one of the most effective techniques for teaching life skills to young people. It is based on a theory that young people are more likely to discuss issues relating to adolescent reproductive health with their peers.

Thus, a wave of adolescents at secondary schools found out that health education can actually be fun when it is taught by peers though interactive games and sessions on such serious topics as prevention of bad habits, sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV, unintended pregnancy and gender-based violence.  Conducting such informal education sessions at the secondary schools of the capital is part of the partnership between UNFPA, the Ministry of Education of Turkmenistan and Y-PEER.

Y-PEER volunteers also get a chance to voice the concerns and ideas of the Turkmen youth at the meetings with the Members of Mejlis (Parliament) of Turkmenistan, held annually at the Youth centers.  In Turkmenistan, the revised Youth Policy Law was adopted in 2013, which opens new opportunities for young people in the areas of youth engagement, youth-friendly services and volunteerism.  At the recent meeting with the Members of the Parliament, volunteers discussed many aspects of the youth policy implementation, including the issues of youth participation in decision-making.

Inspirational meetings with the Turkmen national poets and writers have also been held as part of the celebration of the International Volunteers Day in December.  A captivating dialogue was held between the poets Mr. Kakysh Nuryyev, Mr. Maksat Charyyev and the volunteers about the role of health, youth and youth engagement in Turkmen art and poetry.

Annual Leadership and Advocacy School has once again allowed the youth leaders of Turkmenistan to discover their leadership, intellectual and creative potential and sharpen their leadership and advocacy skills.  Five-day workshop included the substantive sessions on what is reproductive health, life-cycle approach, gender equality and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), among others.  The School also covered the sessions on building leadership and advocacy skills through trainings on different styles of leadership and advocacy, methodologies of peer-to-peer education, time management, team work, persuasion skills, etc.

“The Leadership and Advocacy School has really helped me to boost my leadership potential, as I was able to assess my weaknesses and strength, pinpoint areas for development and improvement, and most importantly, ways to tackle responsibility,” said proudly Mr. Alisher Gulamov, one of the newer Y-PEER volunteers at the Youth Center.  “These skills will help me to be a better promoter of health and responsible living among my peers.”

“UNFPA continues the partnership with the Government of Turkmenistan in the area of youth empowerment,” said Ms. Bayramgul Garabayeva, UNFPA Assistant Representative. “We partner with the Ministry of Education of Turkmenistan and Youth Organization of Turkmenistan named after Magtymguly in developing and carrying out the comprehensive reproductive health education programmes that meet international technical standards and commitments. UNFPA also partners with Mejlis of Turkmenistan in creating policies on and mobilizing investments in comprehensive reproductive health education, both in and out of schools.”

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UNFPA: Delivering the world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe, and every young person’s potential is fulfilled.

For additional information, please contact:

Bayramgul Garabayeva, UNFPA Assistant Representative

garabayeva@unfpa.org

Ene Tuyliyeva, Advocacy Communication Associate

tuyliyeva@unfpa.org

Tel: 269255

Web: http://turkmenistan.unfpa.org/