“They want the same - peace in our villages,” - stressed a young man from Batken during a meeting with youth from Tajikistan

Jan 24, 2017

Photo Credit: Mavliuda Khodzhaeva

“Changing the stereotype of young people living on different sides of “One Street” is one of the most important parts of the project to build a cross-border cooperation in border communities,” - says Akyn Bakirov, the UNDP specialist in the Kyrgyz Republic.

In early December, in Osh, during five days 85 representatives of active youth between 18 to 30 years, living in border villages have developed 10 joint plans aimed at improving relations and building trust between young people from border villages. They were trained in conflict resolution, tolerance, peace-building, entrepreneurship and business planning.

Border School was initiated to bring together cross-border youth of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, young people that in some way do not interact with each other due to a lack of confidence. The project is implemented in Batken and Leilek districts of Batken oblast in the Kyrgyz Republic and in Isfara and Bobojon-Gafurskiy districts of Sughd oblast in Tajikistan.

“There were also interactive conversation and games so that young people can open up to each other, interact more and listen to the interlocutor,” - said Malik Baymuradova, manager of “Association of Scientific and Technical Intelligence”.

Participants developed and included activities in the joint plans, to be implemented from January to May 2017. It is anticipated representatives of LSGs, law enforcement, border bodies and the community of border villages would also involve.

“Young people gathered together to discuss issues they are concerned about, the most important thing is that here they started to communicate - we hope first of all participants shall exchange contacts, become friends in social media, and we want to believe that such friendly meetings will become more systematic,” - said Anara Eginalieva, Manager of “For international tolerance”.

25-year-old Erbolot Shadiev from the village of Kok-Tash of Batken district, said that during five days he made so many friends from Tajikistan, as he hadn’t acquired in whole his life. However, he repeatedly wondered why it was difficult to communicate with them. “There, I met a guy who lived across the street, and I had come to Osh to participate in the school to meet him ... during discussions and training sessions, I saw how their views and goals coincide with ours. They want the same as us - peace in our villages,”- he stressed happily.

Participants gained skills and knowledge in construction of effective communication, nonviolent conflict resolution and tolerance. There were also sessions on psychology, which gave examples of how to get out of the various conflict situations and how jointly deal with border issues. Participants gained knowledge to design projects. As noted by one of the participants, they were given to understand that young people - is the driving force in the world and positive changes happen thanks to them.

Isfandier Musoev, 28 years old, resident of Isfara district in Tajikistan, has developed a very good opinion of Kyrgyz youth. “They are as welcoming and friendly as we are. Our sessions were conducted in two languages ​​at the same time, but it did not trouble us. At the time of games and drawing up joint plans in mixed groups, I didn’t even notice that we had different languages. This knowledge will definitely be useful to me in my life,” - said Isfandier.

Cross-border School program also continued with cultural events. Participants toured the mountain Sulaiman-Too and visited the historical museum complex “Sulaiman-Too”.

Cross-border school is one of the youth component of the project “Cross-border cooperation to achieve sustainable peace and development” supported by the UN Peacebuilding Fund. The component is implemented by the Public Foundation “For International Tolerance” in the Kyrgyz Republic jointly with the Public Foundation “Association of Scientific and Technical Intelligence” in the Republic of Tajikistan, with the support of UNDP in both countries.

Mavliuda Khodzhaeva, UNDP PR/Communications Specialist, Osh/Batken Area Based Developemnt Programme

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