Youth empowerment, strengthening democracy in Afghanistan
17 December 2007

Kabul, Afghanistan: The IVD 2007 celebrations in Afghanistan were focused on involving the Afghan Youth to volunteer. In

cooperation with numerous UN agencies and Local Youth Councils, UNV

programme (UNDP and UNAMA) organized the Local Youth Councils and Youth

Parliament to come up

with project proposals within the framework of the MDGs.

The best proposals were selected and small assistance from the UNV's budget was allocated to each of the proposals. The youth were given full coordinating and implementing authority.

As Afghanistan strives to strengthen democracy and rule of law in the country; one of the main goals of the planned activities was to encourage local youth volunteers to promote volunteerism, to take active part in community development and nation building. As a result of these activities we expect to contribute to the capacity building of the youth of Afghanistan.

Following are the regions and the respective activities carried out as a result of the project:

UN HABITAT and Local Youth Councils (LYC):

Balkh province – On 13th December, 2007 a seminar was organized for 60 members of LYC on awareness on HIV/AIDS. The participants were informed to further disseminate the information either in printed or verbal form amongst their peers and communities. It’s expected that as the result of this seminar at least 450 members of local communities will be indirectly informed about HIV/AIDS transmission and drug related problems. UNDP/ANBP volunteer attended this activity.

Nangahar province – On 5th December, 2007, the Local Female Youth Council under UNHABITAT organized a seminar for young female representatives from the village communities on Heath & Hygiene and Sanitation issues. The 5 days training was the initiative of young female youths and it was given by doctors from the local hospitals who volunteered to assist the community in raising awareness on the latter. After the training the trained female youths were to go back into their respective community and educate the community. This event was attended by Karma Loday, OiC UNV – UNAMA along with Hubert Topinka, UNV Associate PO – UNDP and other senior member of the UN-HABITAT and UNAMA.Bamyan province – On 7th December, 2007 the UNVs from UNFPA and UNDP/ANBP engaged in a campaign to raise awareness on health issues, family planning and reproductive health care with the youth from the Local Youth Councils from 10 different districts. Health awareness materials were distributed to the community and importance of volunteerism was spread though speeches. In all 10 districts young volunteers engaged the community in the trash collection. This campaign was the initiative of the Afghan youth from the Local Youth Council administered by UN-HABITAT. The main goal behind this activity was to get the youth to volunteer by helping to build and sustain a more cooperative community.Farah province – Although Farah is located in one of the high security risk area, on the 27th December, 2007 the IVD was celebrated. This activity raised great repercussion among the community, the youth and the elders. The Youth volunteers fundraised in their communities for the Orphanage with 140 children and raised an additional U$500. They also received some computers for the orphanage and some of the Local Youth Council members will continue to support the orphans through teaching activities and continuous fund raising in the community.The day was marked with distribution of donated clothes and other items collected by the youths from the Local Youth Council administered by UN-HABITAT. Although we do not have UNVs in Farah this activity was made possible with the help of UN-HABITAT. Kabul – On 8th December, 2007 the project to support of MDG 2 through painting and modeling activities was carried out with more than 40 pre school children aged from 18 months to 7 years old of the national government body day care center at the Center of National Statistics Office. This goal behind this initiative was to provide the children an opportunity to discover free artistic expression. UN Habitat staff along with an UNIFEM UNV assisted this activity.On 9th December, 2007, the youth from the Youth Parliament (UNDP SEAL Project) in cooperation with the members of the Indira Ghandi Hospital for Children, distributed health awareness materials and hygiene items to all the patients and hospital visitors. The idea behind this proposal was to get the youth volunteers from the Youth Parliament to understand the health care system of Afghanistan and educate them on the aspects that can help improve the health care system in Afghanistan in the future. This event was attended by UNVs from UNDP, WFP, UNHCR, and UNAMA.Jalalabad – On 5th December, 2007 morning, toys and study material were distributed to more than 110 children of a government kindergarten administered by the Department of Labour and Social Affairs and Martyrs and Disabled (DoLSAMD) of Nanagarhar Province in Jalalabad City.These toys and study materials along with grass for the dusty playground were bought with the left over fund from last years IVD donation collection. The idea behind this activity was to encourage the children to come to school to get better education by keeping the toys at school.The UNVs from UNHCR Jalalabad, Ms. Valentina and Mr.Geremew took the initiative in organizing this event with full support from UNHCR. The UNV team from Kabul UNAMA and UNDP attended this event with other senior Afghan officials.Faizabad – The IVD in Faizabad was marked on the 5th December, 2007 by planting trees at the Tagab-Kishim district together with volunteers from the local district authorities, community elders and students. On this some UNV items and small presents, such as pencils and books, were distributed amongst the students, thus encouraging education. The tree saplings were donated by WFP Women garden project. This activity was the initiative of Mr. Belay Derza, UNV under WFP and the local community.

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