The Youth of Osh Public Organisation was established in 2008 to help develop young people as active citizens in Kyrgyzstan, by strengthening their capacities and promoting their interests in the community.
It implements activities in several areas:
- Developing youth leadership and ideas of community.
- Educating youth volunteer clubs at 24 secondary schools in Osh and Jalalabad provinces to support the self-development of secondary school students.
- Supporting youth initiatives directed towards solving social issues in the community and conducting training on a Leadership School Program to improve the capacity of young leaders.
One of the organisations main aims is to foster an approach based on volunteers. To this end, it has created regional and international Volunteer Exchange Programmes, as well as annual summer Volunteer Works Camps. These aim to bring young people together to help solve social issues in their communities.
Working with volunteers
The Volunteer Exchange Program is built on cooperation with Tamam, a Swedish NGO. Volunteers of the two organisations spend time working with the partner organisation in Kyrgyzstan or Sweden, sharing their experiences and skills once they return home.
Peacebuilding training and peace journalism
Youth of Osh also works in civic education, holding workshops and training sessions on conflict prevention and resolution, and how to mobilise communities and young people to support peacekeeping processes. One of these is its School of Online Journalism. Young people aged 16-25 are taught to write news articles using international standards. The newly-trained young journalists then help to cover news in the south of Kyrgyzstan on the the www.kloop.kg news portal.
Building intercommunal relationships
During its existence the organisation has implemented other peace projects including:
Let's Plant Peace in Osh
This campaign brought together inter-ethnic groups of youth and strengthened their friendships after the ethnic violence in Osh. Diverse groups of youth involved 100 volunteers of which 80 were from Osh and the rest were from Bishkek.
During the four-day campaign, the volunteers carried out clean-ups and repaired the city’s central parks. Also, 10,000 flowers symbolising peace were planted in the form of a dove and the sun. At the end of the campaign, the wall Bolshaya Rybka wall (Big Fish) was designed in a graffiti-style that calls for peace.
The project was funded by the US Embassy in the Kyrgyz Republic. Currently, Youth of Osh is participating in the 'Promotion of Ethnic Equality and Civic Engagement (PEACE) project funded by EU.
Youth Action Fund (YAF) Program
This aims to find, promote and assist small groups of youth that can mobilise their peers and achieve the goals of advancing the principles of open society. YAF semi-annually announces competitions among young people from 14 to 29 for “individual small grants for youth”. Within 3 years of the project implementation, more than 600 small grants were submitted by young people from Osh, Jalalabad and Batken provinces, with 100 receiving financial support totalling $300,000. These small projects were aimed at developing peacebuilding, education, culture, sporting and other activities. The program is funded by the Soros Foundation in Kyrgyzstan.
Youth of Osh lists 5 projects involving 9296 young people from the south of Kyrgyzstan in its latest annual report.