The national conference titled “Youth Banks’ Contribution to the Sustainable Development of Local Communities” was held last Saturday at the American University in Central Asia. It was organized under the Issyk-Kul Youth Banks project which is being implemented by EFCA with the financial support of Kumtor Gold Company.
Participating in the conference were youth organizations, initiative groups and activists from across Kyrgyzstan as well as representatives of local self-government bodies, international and national NGOs and independent experts.
The conference presented the results of three years’ activities and successful operating mechanisms of Youth Banks, forms of dialogue between young people, local residents and local self-government bodies. Also, it considered the avenues of work for the youth organizations to become sustainable agencies in the regions.
In the past three years of operation in Issyk-Kul province, Youth Banks have implemented more than 200 social projects benefitting, directly or indirectly, an estimated 30,000 people. The said projects targeted mostly infrastructure development, support for educational and culture institutions, training courses, as well as holding charity and green events. Kumtor’s contribution has amounted 30 million soms over the past three years.
“Investment in education and development of young people’s potential are among top priorities in the Issyk-Kul comprehensive and sustainable development strategy adopted by Kumtor Company. Under the Youth Banks Project, we are witnessing the implementation of very creative ideas that have turned into true stories of success. We will keep supporting youth initiatives for achieving our common goals in developing the potential of young people who, hopefully, will become national leaders here in the not so distant future,” said Rodney Stuparyk, Vice President, Risk Management, Compliance and Sustainable Development.
The conference participants have also exchanged experience and discussed new joint projects designed to maintain cooperation among various organizations throughout Kyrgyzstan. Also discussed was the Youth Banks’ future operation in Issyk-Kul province.
“Youth Banks is an unprecedented method of getting young people involved in social activities. The project was designed to address young people’s problems and promote values like civic and individual responsibility. The Youth Bank members have acquired new knowledge and skills that will enable them to work on unaided. From now on, they are going to operate as an individual organization after the Youth Banks public fund has been registered,” said Dinara Ibragimova, FECA program expert.
Youth Banks includes initiative volunteer groups that take active part in the life of their native communities. Previously, such groups were formed in six localities, including Balykchi, Karakol, Bokonbayevo, Tamga, Kyzyl-Suu and Tiup. Youth Banks accepts requests and supports the most promising projects designed to improve living conditions in local communities. The Youth Banks public fund was officially registered in 2016.