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The Leadership Academy and Innovation Lab has gone mobile bringing the Ahal youth a platform to innovate and generate social innovation projects.  The Academy will be held in all five velayats in the coming month with focus on rural girls. 

More than 45 young school pupils, young professionals, college students, as well as youth with disabilities gathered for five days to learn, discuss, debate and then propose solutions to the existing challenges in their own communities. 

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. 

During the five days of the Academy young leaders went through the 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. 

Four social innovation projects were presented to the jury composed of the heads of the Ahal region’s Department of Education, Youth Organization of Turkmenistan and Women’s Union of Turkmenistan. The following social projects were proposed on:

  • creating an inclusive town and an enabling environment for people with disabilities so that they can fully enjoy the cultural and educational life of Anew.  The group proposed two actions: advocating for accessible transportation and wheelchair ramps at all public places; as well as raising the awareness of the Anew population on importance of inclusiveness and informing the people with disabilities on all educational and cultural events happening in town.
  • reducing plastic in town by collaborating with the plastic recycling company in the region.  In their proposal, the group went beyond awareness raising activities, which included school visits, ad text messages and radio advocacy.  They were convinced that the town needs recycling bins in all public places with a separate bin for a plastic.  Moreover, the group proposed the city to purchase the terminals that would accept plastic from people for a small compensation.
  • promoting healthy living among youth through creating an open space youth-led sports center in town fully managed by young people.  The group was optimistic about building the center on their own in public open space and generating interest through peer-education.
  • bringing life back to the local libraries and reviving the culture of reading among young generation.  The group who consisted of avid book readers felt that young people spend more time on telephones and with TVs than reading books.  Changing the image of the local libraries is their solution – including organizing book fairs, inviting famous writers and poets for literary evenings/mornings, opening a book-lovers’ coffee shop inside the library and even organizing countrywide thematic tours tying each journey to a story of a favorite book.

“The true wealth of our state is our people,” said Ms. Nurnabat Charlyeva, representative of Women’s Union of Turkmenistan.  “It does not matter what color of skin they have, their background or whether they have a disability – they make up human capital of our country.  If we are able to realize all four projects presented today focusing on health, education, ecology and improving quality of life of people, including people with disability, we will be able to build a strong nation.”

“The youth-led social innovation projects developed by young people is an important part of realizing the State Programme on implementation of Youth Policy Law of Turkmenistan,” said Ms. Bayramgul Garabayeva, UNFPA Assistant Representative. “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.  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.”

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.


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For additional information, please contact

Bayramgul Garabayeva, UNFPA Assistant Representative


Ene Tuyliyeva, Advocacy Communication Associate


Tel: 488325