A conference was held on January 24-26, 2014, at the Issyk-Kul Aurora health resort under the project “Youth Banks in the Issyk-Kul Region” currently implemented by Eurasia Foundation of Central Asia with the financial support of Kumtor Company.
Representatives of Youth Banks established in six Issyk-Kul communities, including Karakol, Balykchi, Bokonbayevo, Tamga, Tiup and Kyzyl-Suu, met to sum up the results of the first year of operation and present projects completed in 2013 as well as to discuss their further strategies.
The last year has demonstrated the success and viability of the Youth Banks project that has benefitted both the young people of the Issyk-Kul region who had the unique opportunity to translate their ideas into life and the rest residents of the region by improving the social situation in the region.
In 2013, during the first stage of the Youth Banks project, over 40 various proposals were approved that were aimed at the development of the community infrastructure, promotion of healthy life styles and sport as well as encouragement of environment-friendly thinking. In spite of the fact that the budget of each of the initiative was restricted to $1,000 at the most, quite a number of real-life needs were addressed, including the renovation of irrigation ditches, building of ramps, refuse disposal, training young people for a calling, etc. As a result, the Youth Banks project aroused keen interest of the region residents.
The young people of the Issyk-Kul region are expected to continue their efforts in this field in 2014. Remarkably, the budgets of the project initiatives will grow to $2,500. Moreover, Youth Bank members are supposed to assume the responsibility for their decisions with regard to small grant provision for any Youth Bank is, essentially, not a bank of money but a bank of ideas. The project is thought to enable young people to gain unique skills and experience by getting them involved in the development and management of initiatives relating to capacity-building programs in communities designed, after all, to secure sustainable development across the region at large.
For reference: The two-year project “Youth Banks of the Issyk-Kul region” was launched in 2013. Kumtor Company’s contribution is estimated at approximately $300,000. The practical issues relating to the implementation of the project are dealt with by Eurasia Foundation of Central Asia. The Youth Banks are designed to address social problems faced by young people and promote such values as civic activity and personal responsibility. Youth Bank members are supposed to examine local needs, consider proposals made by young people, select and fund priority projects. Any Youth Bank composed of 8 to 10 volunteers functions as a local small grant board. All young people aged 14 to 25 who have challenging ideas with regard to communities development are free to join the project. Initiatives may focus on infrastructure improvement, professional training or job-creating programs as well as organization of cultural, sports and other public events.