South Caucasus Youth Conference 2016
Between the 15thto the 21st of August, 2016, UNAG hosted a one-week regional youth conference in Batumi, Georgia. The conference united 38 participants between the ages of 18-26 from Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan. The conference was organized within the framework of the "Confidence Building in South Caucasus” program (CBSC), which is jointly implemented by the United Nations Association of Sweden and United Nations Association of Georgia with financial support by Forum Syd/SIDA.
The regional youth conference 2016 was organized as a follow-up training and gathered participants who had previously taken part in the UNAG summer conferences in 2014 and 2015 on youth empowerment, gender equality and civic activism. After the conferences in 2014 and 2015, the participants individually got the opportunity to plan and implement peer to peer activities/campaigns within their own local communities/countries with the support of UNAG. The participants often had volunteers to support the implementation of their projects, and as a way of paying the knowledge forward, the participants got to invite a volunteer to be a part of the regional conference in August 2016.
The focus of the regional conference in Batumi was to empower the participants with tools to continue working on implementing projects within their local communities. The participants received interactive training on needs assessment, project development and management, as well as monitoring and evaluation. The trainers facilitated discussions on how to better understand the context and the challenges that youth faces, and what each individual participant can do in order to contribute to their local community or country. They also had a guest lecture about the use of social media as a tool of reaching their intended audience.
After a training session on presentation skills, the returning participants and their volunteers presented the results of the implemented projects for all of the conference attendees. Projects, such as raising awareness on domestic violence and gender equality in Armenia, creating audio-books for the visually impaired in Georgia and training course for future teachers on inclusive education in Azerbaijan, were presented. In total 21 projects were presented, which had been implemented across the South Caucasus.
As a part of the aim of empowering youths, the participants also got the opportunity to share their success stories and challenges that they faced when implementing a project within their local community. As a mean of practically applying skills that they learned during the conference in Batumi - as well as ideas and inputs that the participants acquired from each other, and the experience that they gained by implementing earlier projects - the participants are currently developing their own projects and are planning to implement upcoming activities during the fall of 2016.
One participant at the conference said "I have met so many talented people here - I feel so inspired and the conference gave me new ideas on what I could do for my community”
About the CBSC program:
The Confidence Building in South Caucasus (CBSC) program contributes to building confidence and cooperation within and between Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan, through building partnerships and strengthening institutional and organizational capacities in Georgia and the region. The regional youth conferences and activities create opportunities for youths from the three countries to meet and exchange ideas and experiences.