|Empowering Girls and Boys to build safer and more peaceful schools!|
The project Promoting Gender Justice and Empowerment of Young Women funded by the European Commission was implemented from 4 July 2013 through 3 July 2015 by UN Women in collaboration with its civil society partners Change Agents in Talas, Sputnik in Kyzyl-Kiya and Y-Peer in Osh and Bishkek, as well as national and international volunteers and national consultants in Chui, Osh and Naryn oblasts.
The project aimed at strengthening the capacity of young women and men to effectively advocate for gender equality and monitor effective implementation of gender justice; promoting equal engagement of young women and men of different ethnicities in community-level conflict resolution and gender justice. Expected outputs were:
Within the project the My Safe and Peaceful School course was developed, with the aim of building the knowledge of youth about human rights of young women and men and about gender equality as per guarantees provided for in the Kyrgyz Republic Constitution. Students learn how to conduct a conflict analysis that identifies how human rights of fellow students may be infringed so that they can take remedial action. A number of other topics are covered and related skills are built and then activated.
At the start of the 2014-2015 school year 3,200 peers in 60 schools across all oblasts of the country joined the My Safe and Peaceful School (MSPS) course. By May 2015, 1,200 peers completed all 32 two-hour sessions of the course and took action in favour of gender equality at their schools and in their communities. They were joined by more than 6,000 students and teachers from their schools who participated in events promoting gender equality and justice. 600 peers graduated with distinction. Of 250 peer educators trained, 120 peer educators delivered the entire course to their group of peers. 55 peer educators served with distinction.
The final meeting on the project was conducted on 23 June 2015 in Osh. Representatives from Ministry of Education, Ministry of Social Development and the Osh city education department were joined by civil society representatives and international organizations. They commended UN Women’s innovative approach of not just providing information to youth but also ensuring that life-skills taught such as to undertake conflict analysis, advocacy and mediation were put into practice to bring about positive changes in schools. Parents and teachers noted the positive changes in the youth at the end of the course.
Ms. Gulbaira Omorbaevna Akimkulova, Department of School and preschool education of the Ministry of Education of the Kyrgyz Republic noted the importance and the actuality of the topics of the MSPS and was impressed by the empowered peer educators and thanked UN Women for this initiative that continued in the PRF project.
Presentations on lessons-learnt project review featured key results and achievements of the project. Students presented their action plans and showed a performance on effective response to bride kidnapping. Annually, more than 11,000 girls are deprived of their freedom and forced into marriages that often don’t last. The international community has regularly voiced its concern over the continuation of this practice and lax law enforcement.
Peer educators also performed the Kyrgyz national dance “Kara-Jorgo”, traditional songs and a recital from the Manas Epos to show that they are aware of the true traditions of the Kyrgyz people which cannot be said of criminals committing the act of bride kidnapping.
Summer vacation to learn about principles of human rights and gender equality
My Safe and Peaceful School is being continued within the project Building a Constituency for Peace which is funded in support of the Peacebuilding Priority Plan agreed upon by Government of the Kyrgyz Republic and the United Nations.
During 8-25 June 2015 three trainings for peer educators and teachers from 23 schools from all Batken, Issyk-Kul, Jalalabad and Naryn oblasts took place in Osh in several local languages. The 8th to 10th grade students were prepared to train their peers on gender equality and human rights. Participants gained training skills and enhanced their critical thinking for team building to act as peer-educators. They will serve as mentors and informal counselors for conflicts at their schools and in their communities and will lobby for the values of a free and democratic society.
Joint Steering Committee Meeting of the Peace-building Fund Intervention
The second JSC session was held in Osh with participation of senior representatives of the Presidential Office, Government, UN agencies and civil society organizations. After the deliberations members visited the ongoing My Safe and Peaceful School training and voiced their support for interactively engaging youth in peacebuilding activities.